Hurricane Frederick

Forgive any typos, I’m writing this in a rush.  I had planned on using today to work on my synopsis and plotting Book #2 for NaNo….but like most times, life had other ideas.  I have family coming over for dinner so I must clean house and cook.  The family has been quite indulgent of late with me ignoring everything but dishes and laundry.  There are things I must do today.  SO on with it.

Hurricane’s are just part of living in the South.  It’s not a matter of if they will hit, but when.  Thankfully, we are usually given a few days warning.  Hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30.  That’s a long time.  Hurricane’s are a part of life.  We learn to adapt.

The first hurricane I remember occurred September 12, 1979. I was 6 years old. I vividly remember packing up the car and driving with my family 45 minutes north to Citronelle, to avoid the storm.  The prediction was the storm would head into Mobile Bay and straight up the state.  Citronelle would miss most of the storm…. not exactly.  Hurricane Frederick came ashore 10pm over Dauphin Island as a category 3, winds up to 145 miles per hour.  We were not far enough north.  That night I remember the winds, possibly a tornado, pick my grandparents house up.  It could have been worse, a lot worse.  The next day we made our way home.  Our house was still standing.  Amazingly, 3 very tall pine trees were knocked down in the storm, none of them hit our house or those of our neighbors.  It was a miracle.  Around here, pine trees are the first to be cut down when you move into a new house!  We had only been there for a few weeks before Freddie hit.

The fun was just beginning.  We spent a month or more without electricity.  Unlike some, we still had clean water.  What I remember most was an odd mix of excitement and fear, before the storm.  I could see the nerves of my parents and grandparents.  I didn’t really understand what was happening.  I just knew it was a big storm.

Afterwards, the days were filled with the hum of chainsaws and the clopping of axes. School was out for ages.  The TV didn’t work, so the kids were left to climb on fallen trees, board games, and exploring the neighborhood to checkout the debris. For the first few days, food was awesome.  We had to eat everything in the freezer, before it went bad.  Dad cranked up the grill and tossed everything on it.  We grilled meat, as well as veggies.  After that, it was dry cereal and sandwiches until the power came back on.  We couldn’t go fishing, too much debris in the water and roads close to water were washed out and had to be rebuilt.

I remember loading up in the truck with my Dad to get ice or gas.  Both had lines for blocks and took an eternity.  We got by.  To a small child, there was a hint of adventure about it.

As an adult, with children, I see hurricanes differently.  By the time my oldest was 3, we had evacuated for points north 5 times.  We stayed for Katrina.  I remember watching the pear tree in my front yard bend until it finally came straight out of the ground.  We didn’t have much damage from Katrina.  We live on higher ground with no close bodies of water.  Others in the county, and surrounding states weren’t so blessed.

Funny thing about hurricanes, they become markers in time.  Some storms are quickly forgotten, they rush in, bluster a bit, and fade away.  Others, leave lasting impressions.  My parents generations measured everything by Hurricane Camille (1969).  I measured everything by Hurricane Frederick.  Those hit hard in 2005, measure by Hurricane Katrina.

Why am I bringing this up?  Easy Hurricane Frederick just celebrated it’s 35th anniversary.  It’s been in the news again.  More importantly, my WIP for NaNoWriMo takes place during and after a hurricane.  I’ve always wanted to write a story around a hurricane.  The possibilities are endless.  The working title is, Dead in the Eye.  I kind of like it, kind of don’t but it works for now.  It is the second book in a series.  (I hope)

Coffee of the morning:  Cinnful Nut

Do you have any Hurricane stories to tell?