“Anyone who says they’re not afraid at the time of a hurricane is either a fool or a liar, or a little bit of both.” – Anderson Cooper
In 1985 I was working and living in Wilmington, NC. My first job out of college was selling advertising for a small FM rock radio station. For a newly degreed, newly married, 24-year-old it was a pretty cool job.
In September, Hurricane Gloria was projected to hit Wilmington directly. My boss, being the old broadcasting guy that he was, told the staff that it was situations like these that made radio stations so important to the public. For those of us that could, he expected us to ride the storm out at the radio station so we could stay on the air and pass along information to the citizens of Wilmington and the surrounding areas.
Since I didn’t have any kids, or own anything of value other than an old Honda with 200,000 miles on it my boss “volunteered” me to stay at the radio station and “make my bones” riding out the storm. Since my new wife wouldn’t leave Wilmington without me I brought two sleeping bags and pillows to the station so she could camp out with us.
Two days before the Hurricane was supposed to hit us my boss gave me two hundred dollars to go to the Piggly Wiggly and buy supplies to sustain us. Remember, I am 24-year-old kid that had just graduated from college. What did I buy? Coke, crackers, potato chips, loafs of bread, jars of peanut butter, and jelly, and cans of Vienna sausages lots of Vienna sausages.
When I got back to the radio station I displayed the bounty that I had purchased proudly on the conference room table. My boss came in as I beamed about how successful I thought my task had been as he looked at all the “junk” and cans Vienna sausages I had purchased. He just shook his head and walked away.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, Hurricane Gloria took a hard right turn north and missed Wilmington completely. We got a little rain, a little wind for the surfers and I got a lifetime supply of Vienna sausages.
My wife and I don’t keep much food in our house anymore. The grocery store is close by, my schedule is flexible and honestly I just like going to store. I like talking to the kids that work there and running into people who I don’t see very often. I make a list, follow the list, buy a few things that I don’t need but make me happy and I am in and out in no time.
Because we don’t keep much food around, and because I will be spending most of Saturday watching football I decided to go to the store this morning…big mistake. Hurricane Irma may or may not, according to the latest projections, create some issues for my community. Yesterday it looked like a direct hit, today maybe just some light wind and rain. In any event when I arrived at the store this morning I discovered it had been picked clean. Bread and milk, gone. Banana’s, not a one in sight. No ice, no water, and no batteries but plenty of Vienna sausages which, reluctantly, I passed on.
I offer a little bit of humor today about one of my many hurricane experiences but if you are in the path of Hurricane Irma I hope you are prepared and I hope you have a plan. This is a big one and sadly a very bad one. If you have ANY doubts in your mind about your ability to ride this storm out safely, get out, get out now. If you are in Florida you might be able to survive the wind but if you are close to the coast you can’t and you won’t survive a ten to twenty-foot wall of water. I have seen first hand the destruction of wind and water and neither one of them are to be trifled with.
My thoughts are with anyone who will be dealing with this storm in the coming days. Please remember your neighbors, please help each other. Someone’s survival might be dependent on your kindness and concern just as yours might be dependent on theirs. Peace & blessings.
“Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.” – Diane Ackerman