I look at the photographs of devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew and I search for places that I used to live, and teach, and shop and attend church. As far as I can see many my former haunts were flooded but no roofs torn off or other devastation. Not surprisingly people in my neighborhood lost Bradford Pear trees as we did when we lived there. From what I can tell there were many more trees uplifted than I recall from past storms.
As people were sharing on Facebook whether or not to evacuate, I wrote to them all urging them to leave and head up to Athens, Georgia, as we did when Hurricane Floyd had us do in 1999. It was the early days of social media then but we kept searching www.weatherunderground.com and when we saw Floyd bearing down on Charleston we left town. We were inland about 34 miles, in Summerville, so there was no danger of storm surge but I had seen photos of tall pine trees breaking off and going through roofs of homes like toothpicks testing for doneness in a cake. Our house had about 10 trees poised to do so.
Seeing the traffic coming out of Charleston on I-26 this past week made me remember how thankful I was to have a topographic map book in the car and I used it to navigate us across South Carolina on secondary roads. We stayed with relatives in Athens and strolled the streets of this idyllic college town that was filling up with Floyd refugees such as ourselves.
One fellow from Charleston was making these Confederate roses and selling them for money to buy food. My son Austin, who was about 14 at the time, sat down and watched him. Austin is a clever and craft-oriented fellow and the Charlestonian was so impressed by him that he taught him how to make them. Normally he would never have done that. The Confederate rose made out of this grass was said to have been made by women whose men were going off to war. They pinned them on the uniforms as they said good bye.
Our evacuation with Floyd turned out to be not needed as the hurricane shifted to the northeast and clobbered the North Carolina coastline. As I see the erosion along the beaches of my beloved Folly beach, I am saddened by the loss of property. Interestingly enough they found 15 cannon balls from the Civil War on the beach after Matthew had passed.
As Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close here in Canada, I want to say how grateful I am that the storm was not worse and the biggest complaint coming from my friends in South Carolina and Georgia is the lack of electric power. But they have enough “juice” left to post on Facebook! You gotta love them!