I potentially counted chickens and blessings before the chickens hatched. Southeastern Brunswick County just went under a Hurricane Warning Status. And it's all my fault for counting those chickens and sleeping blissfully night before last.
Ocean Isle will still be on the backside of the storm, unless Irene does what Hugo did at the last minute, and jigs to the left.
I still remember THAT with crystal clarity...at noon, everyone could see that Hurricane Hugo was going to pass by us and roar into the Outer Banks. So we stopped preparations, and Husband went off for a boat ride. I straightened the house and put on a load of laundry, and was doodling around in the kitchen when I heard a bullhorn echoing off the houses across the canal. Curious, I opened the kitchen door and leaned out, just in time to see the Ocean Isle Police car do a slow turn in front of our house. He stopped long enough to point the Bullhorn directly at me and roared, "Everybody off the Island! Evacuate Immediately! Hurricane's turned - it's coming in here!! You got two hours!!"
I remember the sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach, and then standing there frozen in the middle of the silent kitchen for long moments while I tried to get my head around what had to be done. Husband was gone who knows where, out on the boat, blissfully unaware. We had undone all the preparations we had started the day before, so nothing was boarded up, nothing was packed safely away.
We didn't have cellphones in our pockets then - it was 1989, long before the age of instant communication, so I had no way to reach him. What to do first? Then it hit me: the pictures were the most important things in the house! Hundreds of photos of the kids, family, and friends were upstairs...a precious visual journal of all the good times we had enjoyed at Ocean Isle and other Coastal haunts, and the negatives were up there, too. I remember racing up the stairs, grabbing and stacking pictures. Some of them framed, some actually tacked to the walls. While I was fumbling with the pictures, I was trying to think of what was the one other thing I couldn't bear to lose; that was small enough for me to muscle into the car by myself before I turned my attention to securing the house. And Holy Cow, it was my knitting bag! Of all the idiotic things to cherish at that moment...a stupid knitting bag.
Everything became a blur; I was dropping things and wondering how much time had passed. And where was my Husband?! I was in the master Bathroom, plugging up the tub to fill with water, when I heard the boat engines. Racing out to the deck, I saw him puttering by, on his way to visit a friend down the canal. He heard me screaming and hollering, saw me waving my arms, and I still have a perfect picture of him in my mind...hand on steering wheel, weight on left foot, as he turned full face to me and squinted into the sun. He figured out what I was saying, and Then it was Game On.
We only had two pieces of plywood. And about 30 windows and big old sliding glass doors. We were like the 3 Stooges, running around the house with those two plywood boards...should we put one on this set of doors?? That set of doors?? We finally just screwed them into two doors and said the Hell With It. He took the boat up into a deep canal, and tied it off like a Spiderman web. I still don't know how he got all those ropes to do all those things. And time was racing by. Finally, we could do no more, because the wind had ramped up so hard that the canals had three foot waves in them. The canals!
When we drove down to the end of the street to head off the island, we glanced back and saw a neighbor's big old cabin cruiser had ripped loose from their dock, and was bashing around in the waves. We looked at each other and groaned, knowing we had to go back. The power of the wind and waves was stunning as we tried to haul the boat back to their dock. We just couldn't do it, no matter how hard we tried, so we tied about a half dozen knots in the one line, knowing it wasn't going to make any difference at all. We were the next to last car off the island, and going over the bridge was scary...we could feel the wind trying to push the car over the railing.
All that happened in less than three hours. We went from a bright, sunny day to hellish conditions in less than three hours. All because the Hurricane jigged Left. See what I mean?
Wish I hadn't counted those chickens.