Four years ago, almost exactly, on August 14, Frank and I got married. We had a small ceremony of less than 50 people at a pretty atrium at a local hotel. We also had family in from out of town for our celebration. My parents and my sister were in from Florida, my brother from Boulder, an aunt and uncle from Duluth, MN, and my dad from KC. Instead of having a fun day of visiting, hanging out and pre-wedding planning, we were all glued to the weather channel watching this……….
My sister lives on an island, Pine Island to be exact, on the Gulf coast, and my parents are a ten minute walk from the Gulf Beaches. My parents also had not one, but two businesses at the time. One in Port Charlotte and one in Fort Myers. As we sat glued to the weather channel, knowing we could do nothing, we prepared for our little wedding. I had thoughts of canceling, that maybe it wasn’t meant to be. And I’m sure those were natural feelings at the time when one is faced with a situation out of their control. We all tried to be happy, got on with the wedding and a fun time was had by all.
The day after was different. The hurricane was coming ashore. My sister and her husband packed up, got lots of gas and drove home immediately. She was also 6 months pregnant with their first child. They returned home, and made it on the island to the deadening sound of generators. The storm had already happened. They were without power for almost 3 months. The island she lives on is full of tall pine trees. There are not as many now and it still looks strange to see these tall trees on their sides, roots exposed from the soft ground in the woods at the roadside. They lost all of their beautiful saltwater fish in their gigantic tank. Their house sustained minor damage, but the yard clean up in general would be a long haul.
My parents decided there wasn’t much they could do now, so they stayed in town for a few more days. They knew the traffic would be horrendous, hotels would be slim, and if something had the roof blown off, everything would be wet by now anyways. When they got home, their house was fine. Their business in Ft. Myers was OK. The business in Port Charlotte was a total and complete loss, like most of the town there. The sad thing was, they’d finally purchased their own building in Port Charlotte. No more renting, and enjoyed it for less than a year! When it was all said and done, they fixed the building, sold it for a profit, and purchased a bunch of apartment complexes in Ozark, MO. Things do work out.
My husband walked in the door last night from work. He said he needed me to go and buy him at least 3 more pairs of black shorts. They were sending him to Louisiana (or nearby) for Hurricane Gustav relief and there would be no laundry. Wow. We stressed for 10 minutes and then got going with the organization. It’s times like these I’m glad I have such a flex schedule! We were half way done packing when he got another call. They’d found someone that didn’t have to travel as far, so he’s on standby for the next two weeks. I do hope this hurricane is not as bad as Katrina or Charley.
I am taking kids to the pool today, it’s hot and 90 degrees. I almost feel guilty enjoying the day at times like this when other people are in sheer hell and worry. We will be thinking of all of those riding this one out! Be safe.