As Hurricane Florence heads toward the coast of the Carolinas and (the state of) Virginia, it’s hard for Virginia (the person) to gear up on this bright sunshiny day, but getting ready must be done because we take hurricanes very seriously in Tidewater, Virginia (a region in which our town of Williamsburg is on the outermost inland edge.)
After moving a few weeks ago from NYC to downtown Norfolk, my niece Megan and her husband had to evacuate their home this morning. Schools and colleges in Va. Beach, Norfolk, Hampton and Newport News are shutting down today and tomorrow to give students time to get away from flood zones and batten down the hatches with their families. This evening my sister Cindy and her husband will head this way from Wilmington (NC) to weather the storm with us in Williamsburg.
As basic supplies fly off the shelves of local stores, yesterday my brother and I tried four places before finding bottled water. Things may look sunny calm now (and we may not know the exact path of the storm) but you can be sure folks in our town (& this chick) are getting ready. With hurricanes, you never know!
When I lived here in the ‘Burg as a grad student in 1999, Hurricane Floyd crashed a huge tree into our home and totaled my car. Our street was under three feet of water for over a week (with folks rowing canoes up & down it.) Mama & I kept pouring gasoline into a hand-cranked generator to keep air in Papa’s hospital bed moving (without air matriculating in his mattresses, he developed terrible bedsores.) A week or so later power returned. Our roof & my car were eventually replaced, but two submerged homes at the end of our street had to be completely rebuilt.
Subsequent hurricanes have knocked down more trees and left many homes and businesses in Tidewater completely devastated like during 2003’s Hurricane Isabel that left in its wake USD$1.9 billion in damages. (I missed that one working in Tanzania, but my brother was here helping my parents.)
As we prepare for Hurricane Florence, I can’t help but think of my precious Mama. Perhaps due to those previous challenges (+looking after my bedfast quadriplegic Papa amidst the storms) hurricane preparedness was one of those things she got a bit hyper about. Even though Mama passed in 2015, we still have a huge glass jug of water in the kitchen (way too heavy to move) leftover from past hurricane preparations.
Getting things ready last night I could feel her smiling Above as we stockpiled water, drinks, batteries, snack foods, and dusted off the hurricane lamps. As Thursday looms, we’ll bring in all the patio furniture, take down bird feeders, move our portable garden pots (& any potential-projectile) away from the range of our windows. Then we’ll fill every available pitcher, bottle, bathtub, and bucket with water.
Mama always made sure our cars had full tanks of gas (for a fast get-a-way? or maybe because gas might run out?) and that we had a small stock-pile of cash (pizza delivery when tired of sandwiches & chips?) And that we had plenty of Papa’s prescription medicines on hand, plus first aid supplies in case we needed them.
Mama also made sure to have important papers handy in case we had to make a dash for it (& put them into plastic coverings in case water deluged the house.)
My sweet Mama was like a drill sergeant until we had everything prepared to her liking, but we appreciated her stringent encouragement when we needed the water to drink (& flush & bathe), we used our flashlights & hurricane lamps, ate all the snacks & goodies, and had gas in our cars to (eventually) get out when the coast was clear (& gas stations were low in their resupplies.)
Whatever path Hurricane Florence takes – be prepared! If you have to evacuate, remember life is a gift, and lives are more important than things.
Last week I shared a quote with Michele over at her Rabbit Patch from a card a dear African friend gave me years ago. Today I found it to share with all of you.
Whatever storms are facing you wherever you are, may you (eventually) be able to see the moon & stars, sun (& SON) through the threatening clouds, and the treasure life is.
grace, peace & stormy weather
Virginia : )
P.S. Stay safe! Be prepared! Think of my precious Mama tasking you to get ready, even if you’re in the remotest regions of the storm projections.