Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What a ride?

What a roller coaster ride that was for all those who stayed? I personally spent the days prior to the storm fretting over what to do…stay or go. After deciding to stay, Glen and I stayed up most of the night wondering if the wind was going to tear off the roof and leave my family and house exposed to the wind and rain. We put the girls in our interior closet where there were finally able to get some sleep. At some point in the early morning hours after I woke from a short nap, I thought the sound of the wind would never end. Then to wake up the next morning to mixed feelings as we gazed at the mess all over the yard, street and neighborhood, but thanking God we were all safe and sound and had no major damage to the house. Over the next few days after the storm, I found comfort in making contact with friends to see if they were okay, helped family and neighbors clean their yards and homes. I found joy in spending days with my kids and watching them play in the front yard for hours with their friends on the street. Like any great amusement park ride, there are things that thrill you and things that almost kill you, and I can honestly say I was glad to see Hurricane Ike screech to a halt. But this time, I won’t say “Let’s ride it again!”

My review of this trecherous ride...excellent. Surprised? You shouldn't be.

I learned a lot from my decision to stay in my home during the storm. Other than learning what doors and windows leak with horizontal rainfall, that I really should board my windows, and tall pine trees really can bend to where their tops practically touch the ground and don't actually break in half, I learned their are some truly great individuals who live with and around me.

In my unofficial survey, almost everyone I spoke to after the storm who stayed to "hunker down" in their own homes said they would evacuate the next time a hurricane heads our direction. I too was among those in that camp. But thinking about it now, I would have never experienced the true gift of a good neighbor in those days following the storm.

The folks on our street are normally very social. And I have to say I know most everyone on our street. And unlike most streets, we all know each other and occasionally spend time together. But in the days that followed the tumultuous storm, I was overwhelmed by all the care, concern and help each of us showed toward the other.

There were folks who cut down trees, raked yards, helped remove boards, shared space in generator-powered refrigerators, repaired roofs and the list goes on.

The person of which I am most proud is my husband. He spent hours helping our neighbors, some of whom he had never really spoke to, rake their yard, cut down trees, as well as straighten them. Then he spent more hours helping his parents and their neighbors do the same. He is truly my hero and such a great example to our girls.

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