In 1996, the second major storm of the season hit North Carolina with a vengeance. Hurricane Fran slammed into us, and I had that year just purchased a small property in the tiny town of Cerro Gordo, not far from Whiteville, NC, some fifty miles from the coast. As a born and raised Floridian, I am used to hurricanes. This however was the first time I’m the one who owned the house that was being battered.
The eye came right overhead, and the next morning we walked carefully into the yard, which was full of floating red ant hills. You learn very quickly to get the hell out of the way if one of those volcanoes floats in your direction.
We had two massive pecans, both more than a hundred years old, the authors of gracious, precious shade, some thirty degrees’ worth, on our southern side.
Had. They were toppled, their root systems in the sandy soil quite unable to withstand the 100+ mph winds. That was a sad time, having to pull up the roots and burn them. We slept in the house with all the windows open, the mossies floating in and feasting, and the smells of roasting meat coming in from all directions as the neighbors cooked what their dead refrigerators wouldn’t preserve.
I’ve lived through my share of winter storms, blizzards, whiteouts and hurricanes, even skirted a few tornadoes. I am in awe of what Mother has to say to us.
I am headed to the PNW where these days feisty storms come in off the Pacific Ocean. Where I hope to land, it may not be so severe. But there is no longer anywhere to hide. Better we learn to prepare, settle in, make jokes, and get ready to burn the roots.
And make French Toast with Beer.