Well thank you very much, Hurricane Matthew. I left Florida 10 years ago to get away from blow-hards like you and yet here one is again. Fine I’ll go to the store and stock up on non-perishables. I mean I’ve been craving some spam — NOT.
Standing in long lines for water, canned tuna and the last bits of bread I could find on the shelf is exactly what I had planned for my Friday night — NOT.
But better to be prepared than not.
Well to heck with the diet during your blow through our area. Luckily I hit the liquor stores first and the lines were minimal. Whiskey, check. Rum, check. Wine, check. Mixers, check.
I made sure to make tons of ice beforehand. I mean drinking a hot rum and coke in the dark is just not right. It’s called priorities.
Around 9:30 Friday night my power went out. I watched it happen. The wind howled, trees bent and a massive pine tree at the corner started tipping. It touched the wires that sparked, bounced off and touched again. Spark, flash, then darkness.
Boo. Oh well time for some Doritos and my first stiff drink.
As I sat in the dark, Dorito bag in hand, in darkness, I listened as Matthew drew closer. You could tell it was getting nearer with the winds getting stronger and stronger. I tried to get some rest, but the howling wind and snapping trees made it impossible.
Hours later there was a loud pop, snap and thud. The ground shook by my bedroom window. My 25 foot pine tree came down. It missed the house by inches. My nerves were shot. Time for the dreaded spam and my next drink. Not wanting to open the freezer and fridge, I reached for the wine.
For the record, spam and wine - not that great together.
The following morning, I had a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast with some bottled water. Brushed my teeth by flashlight and headed out to start my workday.
I headed into the Emergency Operations Center, the hub of activity before, during and after disasters. It’s where officials, rescue personnel and emergency management officials work during a storm.
I signed in, put on my media pass and walk to the designated media area. Down the hall, the kitchen was bustling. I took a big whiff.
COFFEE AND BACON!
Knowing they were going to need to feed emergency personnel the EOC folks had stocked supplies.
Saturday morning, the Community Emergency Response Team had cooked breakfast for the first crews getting ready to hit the road for recovery. Eggs, bacon and the works.
AND I MISSED IT. Dang the bad timing. But I did grab some coffee.
I did my updates, worked on keeping as much communication up and running as I could and then headed home before curfew. That evening I feasted on roasted marshmallows cooked over a small bon fire I started from debris in my front yard.
The next day, I made sure to get to the EOC in time for lunch. That specific day there was food donated by the Georgia Baptist Association Disaster Relief Team and Bojangle’s.
FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS AND FRIES.
It was like hitting the lottery. I grabbed some food and a bottle of water and sat down to eat. After doing without, it is small things like this that are such comforts.
Later that day I went home to find my power back on. I opened the fridge and began tossing out food that spoiled. I know it will be a few days before the stores are stocked with fresh meat and dairy products. But I still have bread, tuna and plenty of non-perishables and LOTS of liquor. I’ll make due.
The folks at the EOC tell me they are grateful for the food and assistance provided to them. I know I was grateful they shared some of their food with me while working storm duty.
I heard a few stories of people sharing what they could in feeding their communities. Folks, who had minimal power outages, taking the food they had and cooking for the rest of the block without power.
We are fortunate the brunt of the storm didn’t give us a direct hit. Things could have been much worse. But it is nice to see the community band together for the greater good during hardships.