By Beverly Gadsom-Birch
Good Morning Charleston! What a difference a day makes. I believe it was Dinah Washington who sang that song back in the day. The storm passed over, hallelujah!! I decided to lighten up a little bit today with a little bit of humor because Irma really put me through the stress test. How do I measure up in the face of adversity: zero!! How about y’all? I am sure you don’t need to hear about #45 or North Korea or Russia. If I didn’t have enough alarm with the flooding, then came the tornado scare. Put a pin right there so we can revisit how Irma almost led to a divorce up in here.
Indecisive Irma really took a toll on the islands, Florida, parts of Georgia and South Carolina. One minute, Irma was headed northeasterly, which would have surely put Charleston in her path. Then the next minute, the cone had Irma on a more northwesterly path. So, where do you go? Northwesterly would put me out of harm’s way; so I thought. Here’s the dilemma; where do you go when there is nowhere to go? Do you head further north away from the waters on the east coast or northwest?
I am from a close-knit family. Whenever there is imminent danger, we check to make sure everyone is ok. We also work on a backup plan. Our backup plan, in the event evacuation was ordered, was to head up towards Greenville or Winston-Salem. It didn’t matter as long as we were out of Hurricane Irma’s path. As early as the day after Labor’s Day, we began calling around the state to make reservations. There were no rooms at the inns (hotels). We found two rooms on the western tip of NC and booked them out of sheer frustration. We figured if Jed Clampett, from the Beverly Hillbillies, could pile all of his earthly goods onto a wagon and move to California, surely we could pile up in two rooms in North Carolina to escape the hurricane.
My son lives in Houston. I was just working with him and his family through the devastation there so I was not about to be caught off guard. Then as Irma approached Florida, I said to myself that this ain’t looking too good. Ok, so here is where Plan B kicks in. Looks like Irma just might give Charleston a break. At most, Charleston can expect strong winds, lots of rain and flooding. After considering our odds, the family decided to cancel the North Carolina rooms and hunker down each at their residences. What we thought was the better option turned out not to be the greatest.
Now, you can remove the pin and find out why I almost ended up in divorce court! Hubby had secured the house. We had lots of food and water on hand to ride out the storm and aftermath, if needed. Backup generator and extra gas were on hand in case of power outage. Flashlights, weather radio, portable CD player, extra phone batteries, insurance policies on hand; I had it all. Here is where it all began to unravel. It’s Monday morning and water is slowly creeping into my yard from the river.
At 3:00 PM, my yard is really a river. Then out of nowhere, so unexpectedly, my alarm goes off. I just had the alarm system updated so I had no idea where the noise was coming from. It was a loud consistent noise. I checked the TV and my cell phone. The noise got louder and louder and I am wondering what ‘da heck is that. It was the new alarm system informing me that a tornado had been spotted in my area and to take cover. I was prepared for Irma, but not a tornado!! Only one of my baths is perhaps safe enough to even consider during a tornado so I wake hubby up who is sleeping through the chaos (typical men).
While running around trying to find my phone and a heavy quilt for the tub, my darn hubby got up and ran the only safe tub full of water. I said, what ‘da heck are you doing. You didn’t fill the tub up yesterday so what is the urgency now? What ‘da heck you need with a bathtub full of water in the face of a tornado? I had never been close to any tornadoes before but I have seen the devastation. My heart was racing. The alarm was still blaring as I pulled the plug on the tub. The water seemed like it took forever to go down. I don’t know if it was the water going down slowly or me panicking but you can bet that tub will get a dose of Draino today. I finally got the water out, threw a plastic liner in the bottom, got in the tub, covered up with the heavy quilt that weighed every bit of ten pounds and closed the door. I am in the dark, AC temporarily off and I am having a panic attack. I can’t stand to be closed in. I am yelling for hubby to get in the tub or at least come in the bathroom out of harm’s way, no answer. I prayed and thought about James Cleveland’s song, “Peace Be Still”. I called hubby again, I said since you want to be blown away, how about bringing me some water before you go? I am having an out of body experience and the man is as cool as a cucumber. I, on the other hand, am a hot mess.
Finally, the alert was over. I tell you no one has to tell me again to leave town in the face of a hurricane. It can just be a heavy rainstorm and I am out of here. Hubby can go if he pleases but I am not riding out not another storm with him. The governor doesn’t have to order a lane reversal, I will reverse it myself and ride down the wrong way on I-26 before I get trapped by a storm, tornado or hubby.
Y’all be safe during the clean-up process. Lesson learned: Treat every day like it was your last because it just might be. What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours.