Yesterday I had three unexpected phone calls from Texas – one from my cousin Gaylen who lives in Houston, one from my sister Leora who lives in Rosenberg and one from my cousin Frances who lives in Willis. I also had a rare text from my good friend Carol who is one of the Little Women of Worsham Street in Montgomery and another text from a close childhood friend Tinabeth who still lives in Richards where I grew up plus an email from another of my oldest Richards friends, Warren, who now lives in Arkansas. All of them were worried about our safety at Casa de Canterbury as weather channels across the country focused on the path of Hurricane Matthew which was churning up the Caribbean wreaking destruction in Haiti and moving north toward the USA with projections for a path that would put it along our South Carolina coast Friday and Saturday. I imagine we weren’t the only ones contacted by family and friends.
Our local TV news channels echoed the national weather bureaus with their models of Matthew’s trajectory and our governor declared a state of emergency with evacuation of the low-lying coastal areas. Interstate 26, the main highway leading out of Charleston, became so congested traffic crawled and stood still for hours. At 3:00 o’clock yesterday afternoon, the I-26 lanes moving into Charleston were re-routed so that they became outbound lanes to accommodate the heavy flow. An estimated 1.1 million people will leave the coastal areas headed north to Columbia and beyond to ride out the storm on higher ground.
Early yesterday morning – early being a relative term – let’s say about 9 o’clock, I went to the grocery store to get our necessities: sweet ‘n low, bread, water, chips and toilet paper. The parking lot of the Kroger was packed. The carts were scarce so I knew the race was on. No problem finding sweet ‘n low. Evidently we were the only household requiring artificial sweeteners in an emergency. Bread, chips and toilet paper were more difficult but still available – water OUT. That ship had sailed. Shelves empty. Case closed.
Not to be outdone I left the Kroger and drove down to the CVS drug store on the corner and saw more cars in the parking lot than usual but luckily they still had a dwindling supply of water. I bought two packs of bottled water but while I was waiting to be checked out, I spied the candy bar sale of buy one, get second one for a quarter. I picked up four Mounds bars and told Shirley the counter check-out lady I was now prepared for whatever the hurricane brought.
I replaced the batteries in our four flashlights and have a lighter at the ready for our candles. I surveyed our front porch and brought in the cushions from the rocking chairs. I feel I have forgotten to do something major here at the casa, but I can’t remember what it is at the moment. If anyone has a recommendation, please comment.
Hurricane season for us on the Atlantic Coast is from June 1st – November 30th., but don’t hold us to that schedule. Hurricanes are like babies – they can be later or earlier than planned. Most of them are harmless, but sometimes we have a Big One, a real Doozie, and then an estimated 12 million people along the Atlantic Coast are at risk for loss of life and possessions. That is apparently our situation this week as Hurricane Matthew is bearing down; and the elements are ready to shake, rattle and roll over us.
Thanks to our family and friends for checking in with us. It makes us feel loved and reminds me that storms occur in all of our lives every day – often we have our own personal hurricanes that have nothing to do with the weather. A phone call, a text, an email or God forbid – an actual visit – just might be the kindness that helps someone weather their storm. Be prepared.
And stay tuned.