Power back on after six days and the worst storm in the history of N Alabama. Hundreds lost their homes and belongings. Driving through the county yesterday to check on my listings I can see the damage is pretty intensive. We are not strangers to weather hiccups. We were in Florida for several hurricanes and even though Jacksonville has not been in receipt of a direct ht in some 47 years..it’s taken a few knocks. We were in Chesapeake VA when Hurricane Bonnie came visiting our street. Hubby was in the Persian Gulf , we were left to our own devices…came through unscathed, with a little help from a lot of friends. Ever navy guy on shore tour in the locality came and helped clear the homes of families who’s dad was gone..We were in Pax River MD when Isabel came through and boy was she angry. Even though we were in a rented house, the debris was extensive and the clean up took forever. The landlord made a customary appearance, never to be seen again. My husband “logged” all the down trees, we sat many a weekend in the yard around a blazing pile of logs. I was recovering from surgery and the time was good to us all. My daughter was in high school so we gathered up a mob of her buddies and did as much community help and fundraiser work as we could muster. A good and beneficial time had by all. Fond memories. We needed that.
This year , there’s just us, kids grown and gone, calling to ask us what our tornado plan is…and if our will is complete, where it’s located etc…all to the backdrop of the wild weather siren blasting away. Huntsville is a green and pleasant land, for the most part. Coming from England, I can state first hand that green needs watering to get that way and to maintain…..and water we had. Talk about a river runs through it, I could see water everywhere. We are the fortunate ones. We were together and we are intact. Once the power went out, we kept the fridge door shut for the first day or so. ( thank you Wolf, the seal stayed super tight and the food did well).I grilled steak outside and we had field greens , olive oil rosemary and lemon dressing, pork with maple and chipotle ketchup. bacon poached eggs and fresh fruit with toast for breakfast on Sunday, we sat out on the patio in the gentle aftermath of the storm enjoying the longest time we’ve half together since we arrived here almost three years ago. My husband was extremely productive working on his path project. I had two trips to the emergency room with a kidney infection and after my release could be found sitting crossed legged on the floor at the airport in front of a working power outlet, Looking like a bag lady, charging my ipad and making the most of the light to finish some knitting. We used the water from our first 80 gallon tank to wash dishes and shower together the first night and the second 80 gallon tank the second night. After that we showered cold and boiled water on the stove every morning to make my fruit tea and do dishes in the day light. The weather has been kind, sleeping with all windows open. Being in bed by 9.30 at the latest and up at 5. No hardship to talk of. Lots of gardening done, Knitting finished. Piles of “to read”stuff, as been read. Lots of time to think. It wasn’t a disappointment when the power came back on but it was a time of reflection while it was off. When I was little we went through a time with no power. Six kids, hard times and very little cash, certainly none spare. My step father believed that he should have “something “to show for his manual labour so cigarettes and beer came before the needs of six hungry mouths. I would have to say that hungry little girl never really goes away. As I grated the raw potatoes into the skillet to make pancakes, my mind goes back to the days when I would wonder where the next potatoes would come from and how many kids out there now, wonder the same. My past has left me very resourceful and my lovely husband enjoys that side of me very much. I have little patience for the whiners who don’t know “how to do” and don’t want to learn… Listening to the radio during both the storm and the clean up, some of the calls would have been funny if I wasn’t trying hard to conserve the batteries. People calling in asking who was going to replace the meat they had pulled out of their freezer and cooked, where the newspaper was. People asking for hand outs and demanding someone fill their requirements….and yet lots of people in real need trying to pick up the pieces of their lives and salvage what they could out of the mass debris that now represents their lives to date. many of them far too consumed in the process to be asking for anything. I was at Publix on Sunday…that company along with many others constantly donates to the local food bank, They are customer and community focused. How much revenue has been lost during this time will be huge..yet everyone was at work. amongst the generators, smiling at customers , many of whom were asking for free ice, free food, free everything. Pretty disappointing. they come out of the woodwork, the good and the bad. we are back to work today…my work load has died, time to start over…that’s OK…it’s just work. it’s not gathering up my belongings amongst the mud and debris,looking for pictures of my kids when they were young or a glimpse of a photo of my mum before she died. My heart goes out to those folks.