The year 2020 is two-thirds behind us and in my book, the last third can’t go by fast enough. It’s going to be one heck of a New Year’s celebration when 2021 arrives...I hope!
We’ve had tornadoes, floods, fire storms, financial crisis, political in-fighting, a world-wide pandemic of all things, and this week dueling tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico.
What’s next? Frogs? We’ve already got those! Locusts? Flies? We live near chicken houses so we’ve got those too! Boils?
Enough is enough!
As far as tropical storms go, I’ve often said I enjoy a good one. Not one good enough to cause damage, but I do like the Gulf breeze. In early July of 2005 we were in a beach house right on the beach in Fort Morgan, Alabama, when hurricanes Cindy and Dennis popped up in the Gulf within a week’s time. Cindy caught us off guard and it was a little spooky in the middle of the night with the winds howling and the Gulf waters raging up over the dunes and under the house. That was a bit much, but still pretty invigorating. They evacuated us before Dennis made it to land. That was fine with us as well.
Then in August of that same year — almost to this very day — that monster Katrina came barrelling through Mississippi knocking out pretty much anything and everything in her way. That was way too much.
That week began much like this one. We had sunny skies and kept an eye on the Weather Channel monitoring the progress of the storm. We battened down the hatches a little bit, but like most folks we were already stricken with the “cry wolf” syndrome when it comes to hurricanes and felt like that one would be just another storm. We were warning weary.
I vividly remember arriving at the office that Monday morning and casually going about my beginning of the week duties. I worked in Rankin County in 2005 and we were in no hurry to get the paper finished and then all of a sudden the wind began to pick up and never calmed back down. It was kind of like being in that beach house with Cindy knocking on the door but worse, much worse.
That’s when the power went out! For good! Or, for days anyway.
I sent everybody home thinking we’d be back Tuesday morning and still have time to make our print deadline. I was wrong.
It was hot, and at the house my wife and daughter and I hooked up a little black and white television to a power inverter in the back of our Expedition under the carport. We tried to tune in some news while watching the large pines in the yard bow to the gusty winds and then pop back up again. A tree in the next door neighbor’s yard bowed one time too many and came to rest on their roof. Ours, remarkably, stayed whole and upright.
Tuesday morning we awoke to the hum of generators and an eerie quiet that is the calm after the storm. I think that is just one of those life experiences never to be forgotten.
In the coming days we had barbecue after barbecue trying to save the food thawing in the freezer and went through no telling how many bags of ice trying to keep the refrigerator food from ruining. It was a futile attempt.
We did get that paper out on time that week. I had to load the computers into the car and head north to borrow an office and some electricity from one of our sister papers in Greenwood. There is always a way, I suppose.
I think — I hope — we all learned a lesson 15 years ago, but we’ve already had a number of storms this year that sort of petered out. Tuesday’s Marco didn’t do much, but the wrath of Laura has yet to be determined.
You are reading this, though, and that is, in part, because I took the lessons learned form Katrina and made arrangements to put this paper to bed early. Just in case, because we do have this thing printed in south Mississippi.