We all have our scaredy cat moments. You know what freaks me out? Tornadoes. They pop up out of nowhere so you are completely unprepared and their path is about as random as a pig tied to a string. I'm always amazed when I watch tornado coverage and they show one house with a couple of shingles missing sitting in between two houses that have been reduced to toothpicks. How do you fight that? You can't!
We don't get many tornadoes down this way, but I've had a designated shelter room in every house we've lived in.
Earthquakes are yet another natural event that give me the heebie jeebies. You don't even get to have a designated shelter room when one of those hits. Where exactly does one go for safety when the entire ground is moving? Furthermore, I can't really get on board with the notion of aftershocks.
My fear of earthquakes is perfectly valid because Wilmington is on a fault line. The same fault line that rang Charleston's chimes in 1886 runs slap dash through our fair Port City. I vividly recall sitting at my parents' house in Forest Hills and feeling slight tremors rock just enough to remind you that they were there and they were waiting. You know what is built literally on top of the Charleston/Wilmington fault line? The nuclear power plant. Who in the name of sweet baby Jesus thought that would be a good idea? Dumber than a box of hair.
So, yes, Mother Nature has plenty of weapons at her disposal to give me the willies, but nothing quite releases the dread in my heart as does a hurricane barreling through the Atlantic. Tornadoes and earthquakes are scary, but they are still rather far off the path of likelihood. To the contrary, hurricanes are a very real threat. When a hurricane is coming...you just know.
I've lost count of how many hurricanes I've been in. I'm pretty sure that my first hurricane was Diana in 1984. There's no need to be gauche and ask how old I was, but suffice it to say that I was in elementary school. When you're that age, you can't have any kind of a concept as to what a hurricane really does. It's just a reason to stay out of school and what can be so bad about that? Even when we lost power, my brother and I had a fine time bumping around in the dark with flashlights and candles.
Diana was unique in that the eye passed over Wilmington once and then the bitch hit the brakes and backed up over us so we got to have all the fun again. Do you know what that meant? More school cancellation days! WOOHOO! Frankly, I was at a loss to understand what my parents were complaining about.
I married me a Raleigh boy in 1995 and talked him into settling down at the beach. Right around the time of our first anniversary, there were some rumblings going on about a hurricane that had the audacity to look threatening right at the start of hurricane season. Any self-respecting hurricane would have at least waited until September. Nonetheless, it looked like Hurricane Bertha was headed for a visit.
My husband really hadn't had any sort of dealings with hurricanes as evidenced by his breathless anticipation of the arrival of Bertha. Basically, his level of excitement mirrored mine from Diana. He skipped off to the store and bought all of the things they tell you to buy, did what he was supposed to do and then sat down with our dog and waited (if he'd had a tail, it would have been wagging).
So...Bertha hit and the two trees that we had in our yard fell as Scott watched from the widow and declared it "SO COOL!" The power was out, but bright and early the next morning, my husband was up and ready to clean. Apparently no one had filled him in on the big Power Loss = No Air Conditioning problem. He called our landlord and was amazed to find him still abed at 7:00 AM and somewhat less than on the ball about getting the trees cleared out of our yard five minutes ago.
So, as starts many a redneck story, "he had a friend who owned a chainsaw." Said friend showed up and the big ass pine tree out front was sliced into nice little bite sized pieces. The problem was that there was nowhere to go and cool off after such a long hot day of work. My beloved was a heat stroke waiting to happen. We camped out at the law firm that night because it was on the same power grid as the Police Department and it had power.
Then bigger, badder Fran hit a few weeks after and took care of culling many half-hearted residents as evidenced by the for sale signs that sprung up shortly thereafter. After that, there were a couple of little piddly hurricanes and then Floyd showed up to flood them all off the map. I remember the season that I was pregnant with Baby Belle 1 because we were struck by a storm bearing her name. (Omen much?)
Yep, hurricanes tend to separate the wheat from the chaff. Sherman burned Atlanta and it grew back. Hurricane Hazel nearly drowned Wilmington in the '50's, but it grew back, too. This is a wonderful place to live, but you have to have the cajones to stick it out. Not a problem for the Diamond Magnolias. Bring it on.