First, I need to apologize for not having a column last week. The Ware family was hit with a one-two punch two weeks ago: first, the death of my beloved mother-in-law. And then, less than an hour later, we had to say goodbye to our beagle Barney.
This column isn’t about that. The wounds are too fresh. Maybe down the line I’ll be able to write about it in a coherent manner. Right now, just know how much I appreciate your condolences and prayers.
Life didn’t stop even though we’d have liked it to. And life took a potential nasty turn with a monster called Hurricane Dorian. Called the most powerful storm in recent history, it threatened to eat the Bahamas for lunch and have Florida for dinner and dessert.
Irma was only two years ago. That hurricane did enough damage in the area that we got the dubious distinction of being the second most damaged county in Florida. So perhaps residents could be forgiven if some freaked out just a bit.
The storm was nowhere near us and local gas stations were running out of fuel. People stocked up on supplies. Various government and commercial offices announced closures. And we waited.
Don and I waited too. While we didn’t descend into panic mode — other emotions had taken up all the room we had — we did make sure we were ready for the worst. The Weather Channel was background noise in our house as we tried to figure out what was going to happen.
And it was very bad — for the Bahamas. That poor country was slammed with wind and water and is suffering devastation that my heart aches to see. As I type this, the death toll stands at 20, and is likely to get higher before all is said and done.
Tuesday was supposed to be The Day for Highlands County. We woke up that morning and … it was underwhelming. Some wind, yes, it was breezy. A little rain. And that was it.
I think it stunned us. We’d been told again and again we were going to get hit. But Dorian apparently decided that it didn’t want to visit Florida after all, and has gone merrily on his way, skipping up the East coast towards the Carolinas.
I am relieved, of course, that we aren’t living through Irma 2.0. But I must admit that I’m a little annoyed as well. These people claim they can predict the climate for years to come — and they couldn’t give us a clearer idea of where Dorian was going?
Of course, I know nothing about predicting weather and there’s probably a technical explanation for keeping us hanging for a few days. And I agree being prepared and not needing to be is better than not preparing and wishing you had.
I wish they’d been equally wrong about the Bahamas. If you can send aid to that poor country, please consider doing so. This is something Americans are good at — extending a hand to others. Let’s keep that up.
But hang on to your hurricane supplies. As tempting as it is to chow down on some of those hurricane snacks, you might want to hold off a month or two. Hurricane season isn’t over yet. We still might need them.