Sexual Assault/Molestation – My Story


Dearest Readers:

Today I am writing about a topic close to my heart. A secret. Well, not after today’s post.

Listening to many current events, I am finding the courage to come forward about a subject, once closed. Another of those topics considered “a family matter.” Maybe I am finally finding the courage to share these experiences now since the issue is in the news. If you follow current events, I’m certain you’ve heard the accusations regarding Harvey Weinstein. Allegations of molestation…Rape…Sexual assault. And on…and on.

Many of these stories I haven’t read thoroughly. I get angry, and then, I have dreams, actually nightmares. Nightmares I want to toss into the trash, or delete from a keyboard. It is a bit difficult to delete these tragic events from one’s mind, so for many, many years I kept quiet. Never mentioning my sexual assaults.

Last night, I awoke, talking in my sleep. While I do not recall the entire “nightmare” I heard my voice saying “Stop it! Don’t touch me. Let me go! Stop it. STOP IT!”

When I was fifteen-years-old, I was sexually molested. I remember it just like it was yesterday. My parents were in the middle of a bitter, volatile divorce. My mother would tell me to “Never trust a man. They only want you for one reason, and when they’re through with you, they’ll toss you away like yesterday’s trash. That’s just what your daddy is doing to me. Throwing me away. I hate him, and I hate you. See what you’ve done. Your daddy wouldn’t divorce me now if you left us alone. I hate you and Him!”

Yes. It’s true. I caused my parents to divorce, after separating both of them while in a tumultuous fight. Arriving home from school, I heard shouting. My bedroom was across from their room. Leaving my bedroom door open, I listened to them shouting words of hatred to each other. The fight continued for a while, then – silence. I knocked on their door. No one responded, so I opened the door.

My mother was gasping for breath. Her face was blue. My father had his back turned, then he threw a pile of mail at my mother.

“What’s going on?” I said. “I heard the fighting.”

It wasn’t the first time my parents fought. I had served as their referee since I was five-years-old. My mother stumbled to a chair.

I picked up the mail, noticing “Past Due and Final Request” stamped on some of the bills.

“She’s gone and spent money again. Money I don’t have. There’s a letter from an attorney. If I don’t pay these bills, my wages will be garnished.”

I wasn’t surprised. My mother could not handle finances and when she wanted something, she purchased rings, and other items on credit cards.

Suddenly my mother rose from the chair, heading in his direction. She balled her fist, shaking it while cursing him. Dad rushed to her, hitting her. She fell. I rushed to her aid, shouting at my father, telling him he needed to stop hitting her. If he wanted to hit someone, he could hit me. I’ve seen my father’s anger many times, but today was the worst.

I stood between them, hands extended like a referee. “Don’t touch my mother again. If you keep doing this, one of you will kill the other one. Then, you’ll be in jail. One of you needs to leave.”

The next afternoon, I came home from school excited to share I had the lead in a musical. When I walked inside the house, my mother was scantily dressed in a torn, thin gown. Her hair was messy and her eyes were filled with hatred and rage.

She jumped towards me.

“I hope you’re happy now,” she shouted. “You stupid girl. Your daddy’s left and it’s all your fault. He’s divorcing me. You can consider him dead now!”

Three days later, we moved in with our grandparents in Bibb City, the mill village of Columbus, Georgia.

One of my great uncles took a liking to me, always telling me I was pretty and sweet. He invited me to ride with him on his dry cleaning deliveries. He said we’d have a ‘good time.’

Little did I know what his definition of ‘a good time’ really meant.

It was early springtime when I rode with him. He packed a variety of Tom’s snacks and Nehi orange soda for us to enjoy on this warm Saturday. Driving along, he talked about Papa and fishing and music. He knew I loved music. He played musical instruments so he invited me to sing with him at his house.

“You’ll love the music we play,” he said. “Good ole gospel music.”

“I like jazz,” I said, sipping my drink.

Carefully, I watched the directions of his driving. I’ve always been one to look for landmarks on the road. Little did I know how smart this little game of landmarks would become. We rode around to Smith’s Station, Alabama. According to roadmaps, Smith’s Station was exactly ten miles from Columbus, Georgia.

My uncle made a right turn on a dirt road. I glanced around, looking for homes, or maybe a farm. All I saw were dusty, red clay fields and another dirt road. He made another right onto another dirt road. I glanced behind me, noticing the dust from the roads created a thick, red fog.

“There aren’t any homes around here. Where are we going?”

My uncle smiled a devious smile. He reached his right arm over to me. “Come here,” He said. “You need to sit closer to me.”

I did not move. He thrust his arm my way, pulling me to him. My body tightened.

The interior of his truck was dusty. Freshly cleaned clothing hung on one side of the truck, covered with plastic and delivery orders attached. Still, I could see the red fog, now so thick I wasn’t certain anyone could see us.

“Where are we going?”

My uncle grinned. “Just relax. We’re going to pick blackberries.”

All I could see was a dirt road. The fields were freshly planted. I doubted blackberries were ready to pick. Something frightened me.

My uncle turned right again, pulling into a thick pile of brush and leaves. Tall pine trees grew in a line, so tall I felt I could reach the clouds if I climbed them. I wasn’t a tree climber. My uncle parked the truck, turning the motor off.

He laughed a horrifying, wicked laughter I did not like to hear. He pulled me closer to him.

“Stop it,” I said. I don’t want to get close to you.”

“Don’t you miss your daddy?” He asked. “Your mama said you cry for him. Come closer to me. I can be your daddy.”

“No,” I shouted, knowing no one would ever hear me. We were in the middle of a deserted field of red clay and pine trees.

“I want to get to know you better.”

“There are no blackberries around here. You lied to me.”

I remember crying. I was so horrified. Just what was my great uncle planning to do with me?

“I wanna go home,” I said, wiping my tears.

“And I want to know you better. You’re such a pretty girl. Your mama knows how pretty you are. She said I should be closer to you since your daddy left.”

His hands gripped my legs hard, moving up my thigh. He moved his right hand to my chest. I pushed away, but he was strong. Now, he was moving his entire body towards me, getting on top of me.

I screamed again, only I knew no one would hear. If I had any chance to get away from this monster great uncle, I had to fight for myself.

Since I was only 15-years-old and did not have any brothers, I had no idea how to fight, but I did all I could. My mother had never discussed sex with me, or what a girl could do to fight back. My arms were hard to move since he was on top of me. I heard the sound of a zipper, realizing my shorts were loser now. His hands rushed all over my body, moving into my genitals. I bit his arm. He pulled away for only a moment. My right arm was free now, so I moved my hands in the direction of his crotch. I had no idea what I should do, but I remember grabbing his crotch and I squeezed as hard as I could.

He screamed in pain. His body went limp. I pushed him away and I grabbed the door. Rushing outside, I ran as hard as I could. I knew the way home. I could walk. Smith Station and Columbus were only ten miles away. I was suddenly thankful I had strong legs and could walk the distance. The dirt road was almost an open field, so I could not find a place to hide. In the distance, I heard his truck. He was coming after me.

Raised in the Assembly of God Church, my grandmother had taught me to pray. Tears streaming down my face, I ran. When I saw his truck, I darted into a dry field with trees. Just maybe he could not drive his truck into the trees.

“Please, God. Help me. I don’t know what he wants to do with me, but I don’t like it. Please, God. HELP ME!”

My uncle saw me. He stopped the truck, opened the driver’s door and got out.

“You need to come back. We’ve got to pick blackberries.”

“You’re a liar,” I shouted. “I’m not getting back in the truck.”

He laughed. “Just how do you plan to get back home?”

“Walking,” I shouted as loud as I could scream. “I know the way.”

He rushed towards me. I noticed he was moving slower. Just maybe I had hurt him a little bit. Good. He deserves to hurt.

He moved closer to me, and when he did, I kicked him as hard as I could, right between his legs. He fell to the ground. I ran.

“Please God, guide me home. And please don’t let him catch me.”

A bit later, I heard the truck. My uncle gunned the engine, catching me. I looked behind me. The truck was getting so close I panicked, remembering when I was hit by a car at nine-years-old. I stepped to the side of the road. My uncle stopped the truck.

He was holding one of his hands by his crotch, and he moaned as if he was in pain.

“You get in this truck. I’ll take you home.”

“I’m walking,” I said.

My uncle jumped out of the car, picked me up and opened the passenger door. Kicking and screaming, I remember fighting as hard as I could to get free. He threw me in the seat.

“Don’t you move!” He said. “I’m taking you home.”

“I don’t want to be with you. I don’t like you anymore.”

“You just sit still. We’ll be back to your house before you know it.” He drove off, driving as fast as he could.

“If you tell one person I touched you, you’ll be sorry.” He said. “I’m a deacon in the church. No one will believe you.”

Tears were pouring down my face, and I tried to speak but my words were only garbled. Inhaling, exhaling, and slowly breathing, I calmed myself down, managing to speak.

“If you move one finger over here towards me, you’ll be sorry,” I said. “I know what to do now, and I’ll do it again if I have to. After today, don’t you even speak to me again. I hate you!”

Arriving home, I rushed to my bedroom. My mother asked why I was home so early. I ignored her.

I gathered some clothes and I rushed to the bathroom. I wanted to get the red dust off of myself. Scrubbing my body hard with Ivory soap, I cried and cried until there were no more tears left.

My great uncle came to the house a few days later. When I saw his truck, I rushed away.

Still, to this day, I can still hear his words, “I’m a deacon in the church. No one will believe you.”

Maybe now, someone will. I was victim at fifteen-years-old. Never did I report his sexual molestations of me. Why? Simple. Back in those days, who would believe a fifteen-year-old? They would say, You were asking for it. You wore shorts and T-shirt and you have a nice chest. You were just asking for it.

No, I wasn’t. In the dark of night while sleeping I still hear his words echoing to me.

“I’m a deacon in the church. No one will believe you.”

When he died, my mother phoned me, encouraging me to come to his funeral. I remember saying to her, “He can rot in Hell for all I care. He molested me.” That was the first time I shared his attack with anyone.

Regardless who or what a man is, there is no excuse for anyone to molest, rape or sexually assault any child or woman. Even if he is – a deacon in the church.

Now, people are under the impression a woman should always come forward; however, unless you are a victim, you cannot understand why it is so difficult and painful to “come forward.” It takes courage.

Victims are made to feel dirty, cheap, with a lack of self-esteem. I’ll not share how many years it was before I came forward and shared my story about my great uncle. When I did, I was told he had a history of ‘liking young girls.’

Looks like he got away with what he did, at least with me, after all – He was a deacon in the church.DSC_0032_edited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I A “Racist???


Yesterday, I received a news alert about Melania Trump being a ‘racist’ from a librarian. Seems Melania Trump is a racist for donating Dr. Seuss’ books???

Duh? Am I missing something?

Dr. Seuss books are racist???
Let’s look up the definition for racist:
“a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”

Aren’t we hearing “racist” just a bit too much these days?

NFL players say we are racist so they kneel to protest when the National Anthem is played at the beginning of their games. All they are illustrating is their lack of respect for the United States of America.

Every time I’ve seen those images, all I’ve seen are black football players. Oops. Suppose I’ll be called a racist now.

Understand – I AM NOT A RACIST! Years ago, when the South refused to accept people OF ALL COLORS, I broke the unpublished rule at the Armed Services YMCA.

What did I do?

I was a member of the Girls Auxiliary. The YMCA held dances for the soldiers to attend. Soldiers had to pay a cover charge to come inside to the dance.  On one occasion, I danced with a black soldier.

OOOOOHHH! All I did was dance with the soldier, and it wasn’t a “Dirty Dance.” We did not groove, or grind with our bodies. He held me gracefully and we talked. That is all!

A few minutes later, the President of the Armed Services YMCA tapped me on the shoulder, asking me to ‘meet him in his office.’

Several girls noticed, along with many of the soldiers.  I admit it. I was a popular girl at the YMCA.

Entering the President’s office, he asked me to sit down. He thanked me for joining the YMCA as a girl’s auxiliary member. Then, he said: “We have standards and rules here. You broke one of the rules tonight.”

Flabbergasted, I asked: “What did I do?”

He sighed, then he dropped a bomb. “You danced with a black guy. We don’t allow that here.”

“What?” I said. “I broke the rule and danced with a black soldier? Let me get this straight. Didn’t the black soldier have to pay a cover charge to come inside tonight? You allowed him to enter, but as a girl’s auxiliary member I cannot dance with him?”

“We don’t consider it a cover charge. He, along with all soldiers, has to pay a fee to come to the dance.”

“But,” I interrupted, shaking and a bit angry. “You do not permit black girls to join the auxiliary. I was told that a few weeks ago when I inquired. Yet…You allow a soldier, a gentleman who fights for freedom, to come inside to the dance. BUT… Because of his color, he cannot dance with me and I’m supposed to say No when he asks me to dance. Is that what you’re saying?”

“We don’t think of it like that. This is the South. We do things different here.”

“But he’s a soldier. He was respectful and kind to me, and we danced. I don’t understand.”

I jumped from my chair and left his office. By the time I got to the front door, I was in tears. Several soldiers could see I was upset and they knew me, so they followed me out the door.

“What’s going on?” One of the soldiers asked. I noticed the black soldier standing with the group.

“Nothing,” I cried. “I’m okay. I’m leaving.”

The black soldier approached me. “They told you not to dance with a black soldier. Right?”

“Not exactly and I don’t wish to lie. What he said is I danced with a ‘black guy.’ I don’t think he considers you a soldier, just because you’re black.”

A few minutes later, I left, crying all the way home. I could not understand why the color of skin mattered so much to so many people. All I saw was a nice guy with a crooked smile and a pleasant manner. He was a soldier. He wanted to dance. Nothing more.

Two days later, I got a phone call from the President of the Armed Services YMCA. He apologized and wanted me to come back to the dances.

I suppose my popularity with the soldiers made an impression. Little did I know that after I left the dance that night, six soldiers demanded to meet with the President. Apparently they let him know how displeased they were and they also mentioned he was wrong to degrade me for dancing with ‘a black guy.’

I returned to the YMCA a few times after that experience and I still danced with ‘black soldiers.’

What a disgrace? HARDLY!

Since those years, I’ve stood up many times and fought back when I hear people being ‘racist.’ Let’s don’t even discuss some of the words they use, but I stand tall and let them know — color is only skin deep. What lies beneath the skin is a beautiful person with love inside. Beauty and color is only skin deep!

Now, I admit it. I detest football. I’ve seen men get so angry over a football game that they become violent. Did you know domestic violence increases during football season, especially during the Super Bowl. While I might listen to the Super Bowl since my husband likes to watch it, I have a stack of reading material ready so I can read.

This morning while I checked Facebook ever so quickly, I saw a post related to the NFL. A toll-free phone number for Anheuser Busch was posted. 1-800-342-5283, so we could share our thoughts about the infamous NFL athletes. Personally, I think all of those athletes should lose their contracts so they will recognize every act has a repercussion! Just how would they feel after losing all of the money they earn while showing their testosterone levels! As you can see, I have no respect!

It is a disgrace that our soldiers can battle wars and earn very little money, and IF they need veterans benefits after their battles, they must fight tooth and nail just to get what they deserve. Meanwhile, some testosterone overloaded guy shows how great he is at chasing and fighting over an inflated, or deflated, football, earning him millions of dollars.

Oops. But — you might call me a racist now. Believe me. I’m not a racist. I simply believe in the freedoms we have earned simply because soldiers went to Gulf Shores, AL 2008 082war zones to fight for our freedoms. Some of those soldiers did not return alive. Others, are still over there fighting to forget the wars while battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My husband is only one of them!

But – that’s another subject for another time. I am not a racist. I am an American, and I am proud to share the freedoms while standing to honor our United States flag and the National Anthem. I respect our soldiers, regardless of the color of their skin, or their gender. And whenever I see a soldier, I thank him, or her, for their service! Sometimes, I even give them a hug to welcome them home!

Here’s to the United States of America!

Why not call Anheuser Busch 1-800-342-5283 today!

 

Surviving Hurricanes


Dearest Readers:

We survived the wrath of a potential Hurricane Irma. I say potential since she dropped down to a tropical storm when she visited Charleston, SC.

We watched The Weather Channel. I must compliment them on their coverage and I am so thankful we survived. We lost power for less than two hours. Amazing. I would like to thank South Carolina Electric & Gas [SCEIMG_5582G] for that!

My sister and her family who live in a rural, beautiful country area miles from Atlanta, Georgia lost their power and did not get it back until 6:30 last night! I sent them a text congratulating them on joining civilization again! There’s nothing like flipping the light switch and seeing a light come on instantly! Of course, there’s nothing more comforting and cooling than air conditioning! And, who likes cold baths? I do. I learned to like them after 14 days without power after Hurricane Hugo.

Originally, we planned to leave Charleston on Monday morning since the hurricane wasn’t anticipated until Tuesday. I booked a hotel reservation for Monday – Wednesday in Georgia. Only miles from the home of my family. Was I ever thankful we cancelled that reservation on Saturday! The silly Irma did more damage there with electricity than she did here. Whoever thought hurricanes would hit the inlands? I did. I remember Hurricane Hugo and how she tore into Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC. Hurricanes aren’t just for the coastal areas after all!

Today, I was able to return to my Weight Watchers meeting. “I’m checking in,” I said. “But I’m not weighing in today!”

The leader of our meeting, Kathy, simply laughed and shook her head. She probably knew I was only one of the members who would not weigh in today.

Why?

I have no excuse, with exception of a hurricane…fast food – when it was available…junk food… I asked my husband to go to the grocery store once, to get us something to eat. Rule number two of a hurricane [I’ll let you imagine what rule number one is]. Do not send your husband to a grocery store for hurricane foods.

What did he bring home?

Here’s only a brief list:

Blueberry muffins

Bread (we had two loaves sitting on the counter)

Boars Head meats

Cheese

Ice cream

Aren’t we under a hurricane warning? Just what do we do when the power goes out?

“Eat melted ice cream,” I said.

So much for Weight Watchers.

Today, I’ve promised to get myself back on track. Much to my surprise, when I checked e-tools on my iPhone, I discovered I have been super negligent with tracking! Checking back to December, 2016, I discovered I haven’t tracked much at all. I must improve that! Just how can a girl lose weight IF she is negligent?

Today is a new day. The sun is shining beautifully. It is warm, but not too humid. Tomorrow I will work in the yard, picking up the debris of sticks, tree and shrub branches and I shall rake everything into one pile.

Since my dogs LOVE to play with sticks, maybe I can get them to help me collect my debris and place it in my utility cart.

On second thought – maybe not! They love to jump into the piles and chew sticks. I don’t imagine that would be a good idea for their digestive system.

At least tomorrow I’ll get LOTS of exercise tracking with my Fitbit.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’m so thankful we survived!

And now, IF I can find my motivation. Track what I eat, and exercise!

 

 

 

To All Concerned About Hurricane Irma


Dearest Readers:

In a few minutes, I will tuck my animals to bed and I will slip into my bed to rest after a fitful night of tossing and turning last night.

I found it difficult to sleep. Worrying about strangers desperate to get out of Florida and the traffic congestion created due to a hurricane. I have friends in Florida. One friend I’ve known for many years, now in a wheel chair. Another friend from high school. Relatives. Funny, although we haven’t seen one another in too many years, we keep in touch via Facebook. Now, I have no idea where these friends are, but I know in a few days I will hear from at least one of them. Then, I can take a fresh breath of air, thankful all is OK.

I have faith. I believe…and I pray. Daily. And nightly.

If you are reading this curious as to where your friends are, I ask you to pray. Believe. Keep the faith.

Earlier today, I cancelled our hotel reservations for Monday. Since it appears that Hurricane Irma will only kiss the coast of South Carolina with tropical storms, we decided it would be safer for us to remain here in our home. Besides, someone from Florida might need that room.  Our home is brick. It survived Hurricane Hugo, a Category Four hurricane when it arrived on the Charleston Harbor. Our home survived Hurricane Matthew last year. What it didn’t survive was the torrential ‘100 Year Rains,’ in October 2015. Our roof leaked due to wind and hail. Actually, it poured from the damage of two sky lights. When State Farm Insurance declined our claim of wind and hail damage, we chose to shop elsewhere for homeowner’s and wind and hail insurance. Let’s just say, State Farm lost a good customer and I tell all of my friends to shop around.

South Carolina insurance is so antiquated and restricted I suggest all who even think about moving to South Carolina to ‘do your homework. This state is a bit behind the times in many ways.’

But, tonight, I am writing to wish everyone affected with the threat of Hurricane Irma to have faith. Pray. Hug your family tightly while knowing God is there with you.

And when the electricity is gone for a few days or weeks, just remember, the horror of the storm is over. Be thankful. How I remember after Hurricane Hugo how thankful I was. Even though our home was damaged, at that time, our homeowner’s insurance covered almost everything. We were blessed back then. Unfortunately, after Hugo, that insurance company filed for bankruptcy. Now, I’m not so certain about ‘the new regulations pertaining to insurance in South Carolina,’ but when and if the winds and tropical storms of Hurricane Irma arrive, I will cuddle my pups closely to comfort them, and I will hug my husband tightly. I’m thankful and I’m hopeful IF we have damage the insurance company will cover it. One thing I do not wish to ever hear again from any insurance company are the words from the lips of the State Farm adjuster. “You’re not covered!”

How can that be? We’ve spent thousands of dollars, only to hear ‘you’re not covered?’

Let’s just say, I cancelled them!

God is here with us, and with all of you. We must believe and have faith.

And now, I wish all of you a peaceful night of rest, until the morning arrives.

Tomorrow is a new day. Hurricane Irma is not supposed to arrive around here until Monday or so. I haven’t listened to the latest reports. After listening to them all day, I’m a bit burned out. Regardless when she arrives, for this household, it will be a new day. The sun will eventually peak out behind the gray clouds and a new chapter in my life will begin.

And then, I will breathe. I will inhale. Breathe. Exhale. And give thanks. Then, I will whisper, Good riddance, Irma. So glad you are leaving us behind.

Until tomorrow!cropped-cropped-arthur-ravenel-bridge.jpg

 

IS THERE A HURRICANE A-COMING?


DSC_0062Dearest Readers:

Seems I am collecting an abundance of people to call when and IF we are “ordered to evacuate” for Hurricane Irma.

I detest being ordered. I’ve checked with many of my friends. Many of them are staying. At the moment, this household plans to stay too; nevertheless, I am preparing to leave – IF Irma doesn’t weaken.

Personally, I pray Irma realizes she is not welcomed here. Hasn’t the USA had enough challenges, contributions and headaches after Hurricane Harvey?

I’m watching The Weather Channel again. Seems that channel is my new, favorite TV station now. Their corporate office is located in Atlanta, GA. Are they under evacuation orders?

Probably NOT!

Meanwhile, to maintain my sanity after a horrible day yesterday where the two B’s in my name kicked in way too much, I am attempting to INHALE…EXHALE…BREATHE…!

But for now, I still have things to do to prepare my home IF Irma (isn’t that a really old name?) comes to town.

I do not think the powers that be in Charleston, SC will roll out the red carpets for her, and neither shall I! Local schools will be closed tomorrow (Friday) – thru Tuesday.

So, for now – I must get busy. I have files I need to transfer to a thumb drive so I can still have documents I’ve worked on. I’ve vacuumed and that was a challenge yesterday when the stupid handle of my vacuum broke. Imagine bending over to hold the broken handle just so one can vacuum. My back was killing me.

Today is a new day. The sun is shining and humidity is low. Perhaps the ‘calm before the storm.’

Maybe I’ll just go rest my stress-filled body on my bed. Maybe I’ll play with the dogs, or maybe I’ll cover my new vacuum in plastic, in hopes IF Irma comes to town, she will leave this home alone. I still remember the nightmares I had to fight just to get my home repaired after the “100 Year Storms” in October, 2015. Believe me, I canceled my coverage with State Farm after that losing battle!

Who knows what I’ll have to battle this time. I think I need a vacation – to Hawaii, or maybe the moon!

Until you hear from me again, please say prayers that all of us will be AOK.

Inhale…Exhale…BREATHE! This too shall pass!

Hurricane Irma


Dearest Readers:

This will be brief. Today, I’ve spent the day getting ready in the event Irma comes to town. I pray this monster category 5 hurricane will decrease in strength and wind.

The USA does not need another tragedy after Hurricane Harvey.

If you are nearby the Florida Coast, please do what the Governor of Florida suggested on The Weather Channel tonight.

While it is a bit early for us to decide what we will do IF Irma comes to our community, we will take our animals if we leave. We have crates. Yes, they detest them, but this isn’t a normal time.

I’m trying to keep my cool, but after Hurricane Hugo, I suppose I am just a bit cautious and fearful. Of course I admit, I spent way too much time watching the Weather Channel during Hurricane Harvey. Sometimes a bit of knowledge learned can cause anxiety.

I’ve dealt with insurance companies after a storm, especially State Farm after the 100 hundred year rains in South Carolina in October, 2015. It is not a pleasant experience learning that regardless of the Homeowner’s; and the infamous Wind and Hail coverage, we were told “You’re not covered.”

We had flood insurance. Funny thing about flood insurance. You must have rising waters for a flood. Silly me. Our flood inside the house was due to a damaged roof…but no coverage. FEMA said no to. Seems we were still in ‘livable condition.’

We had to get an SBA Disaster Assistance loan to get our home repaired…and now, that it is repaired and quite impressive, we must worry about another hurricane.

Maybe we should live on the moon!

For tonight, I wish and pray for all in Florida to be safe, especially the friends and family members I have in Florida. I pray for us to be safe too and I’m still praying for Houston and the State of Texas.arthur-ravenel-jr-bridge

I suppose I’ll just worry about homeowner’s insurance and wind and hail insurance later. At least, we have flood insurance — whatever that means!

Stay safe, everyone. We have intense fires on the West coast now, and hurricanes on the East coast. What’s next? Another eclipse?

Oh please! Good night all!

 

Hurricane Harvey and the Devastation of the Lone Star State of Texas


Dearest Readers:

I admit it, I’ve been glued to the TV this week, watching and crying about the tragedies of a Hurricane named Harvey. I had the pleasure to visit this great Lone Star State a few years ago and I must say, I fell in love with Texas, especially Beaumont, Texas.

The hurricane has tormented Houston and all of the surrounding areas for much too long. I know what a hurricane experience is like, surviving Hurricane Hugo, 1989 in Charleston, South Carolina. I sat supervising 60 students who were stuck at a local college. My husband was deployed with the National Guard, so I volunteered. Last year, we had Hurricane Matthew. My husband and I chose to remain at home with our pups. We lost power for less than 24 hours. With Hugo, we were out of power for 14 days. I learned to appreciate cold bubble baths after that experience!

Now, sitting at my computer while still glued to the Weather Channel, I am curious if the East Coast will have a visit from Irma. I pray she fizzles out. I’m not certain our country could handle another tragic hurricane. I’ve faced the reality that if a Hurricane Harvey hit Charleston, South Carolina, the Low country would be the next tragedy. We’ve had an astronomical amount of growth in our area. Years ago, when a developer wanted to build a community, trees were protected. Now, they bulldoze almost every tree, leaving an open field for monster homes to be built. It makes me ill just to look at them. No doubt this city will have major flooding. It’s only a matter of time, and hurricanes or tropical storms.

Nevertheless; I am still praying for everyone in the State of Texas. One of my FAVORITE states! I have two cousins in Dallas. Lots of friends around the surrounding areas and in Beaumont. I feel confident some of them were forced to evacuate due to all of the astronomical flooding. Watching the TV this afternoon, I saw where some houses in a rural area approximately 90 miles from Houston were flooded UP to the roof! I pray everyone got rescued. Earlier, it was announced that 23 people have died as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

Now, my heart breaks for the loss of animals. Many people left their animals at home. Possibly anticipating they would return to get them in a day or two. While I cannot fathom leaving my animals, I imagine many of these people will never see their animals again.

 

Air Boat

Air Boats in Texas. Just how many air boats are in use now, rescuing people, animals, and helping to save the lives in such a devastated area. I truly admire how people are coming together to help one another. After all, it’s the Lone Star State of Texas where hospitality embraces everyone.

First -Hurricane Harvey
Second – Flooding
Third – Devastation
Fourth – People helping People
Fifth – Moving to shelters

and now – price gouging??? I pray it is only a fabrication some sick person placed on the Net. My heart breaks just watching the rescues. My donation will be to an animal shelter. Just not certain which one.

Last night, I only slept two hours so concerned about the residents and friends I made in Texas. How I pray for all of you. I’ve been through several hurricanes, none that can surpass what you are experiencing now.

Please know, my heart, thoughts and prayers are with you Texas. You will have more devastating times, especially when filing insurance claims. Flooding claims, etc. Be prepared. In South Carolina, we had to file with FEMA and the Small Business Disaster Relief since our homeowners insurance with State Farm “Did not cover our claim” in 2015 during the endless rains we had over four days. When I inquired as to why we did not have coverage our adjustor said the ‘regulations recently changed.’

How convenient. One month later, I shopped for homeowner’s insurance and cancelled State Farm. Isn’t it convenient how nice insurance companies can be — UNTIL you file a claim and discover “you’re not covered!”

My tip for those of you filing claims – be diplomatic when speaking with the customer service reps and the adjustor. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Names. Dates. Times. Discussions. EVERYTHING!

Texas, I pray this doesn’t happen to you. I hope you do not have to hear “No” over and over. I learned to push with diplomacy! We’ve had flood insurance for many years, but we didn’t have floods in 2015 — only a destroyed roof – destroyed by wind and hail damage. Funny, we had wind and hail insurance and were still told “You’re not covered!”

Lessons Learned!

I pray all of the residents of Texas will soon breathe a bit of fresh air, and I pray the sunshine will return to the Lone Star State and to you. May God bless you during this torrential, heart breaking time.

I have a quote next to my writing desk. Perhaps a quote that could help you to cope:

“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will. When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill. When the funds are low and the debts are too high…And you want to smile, but you have to sigh. When care is pressing you down a bit…Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”

“The silver tint in the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are. It might be near, when it seems afar. So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit — It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit!”

-Author Anonymous-

‘God Bless Texas!’

Sun shining on a beautiful day in Beaumont, Texas during my visit, just a few years ago.

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In Memory of Chef Shane Whiddon


Good morning to all. If you follow my posts on Facebook and my blog, you will know yesterday was another tragic day in the Holy City of Charleston, SC.

Yesterday, a disgruntled, former employee walked into Virginia’s on King Restaurant with a sick mission on his mind. He reportedly has mental health issues.

Holding a weapon, he told everyone inside the restaurant to get on the floor and exit the building. One woman stated he pointed the weapon on her stomach. He did not shoot her.

Since I write about food and hospitality, I know quite a few chefs within the Lowcountry of Charleston, I researched Virginia’s on King Street Restaurant. At that time, I was able to click on to the website and read. I did not research the chef at that time.

Later, after reports of one person killed and the shooter in critical condition, I rushed back to the website, hoping to discover who the chef was. When I clicked on the site, I discovered it was temporarily unavailable. I realized there was probably only one reason the site was down. Perhaps the chef was the victim killed. Listening to the news reports, the interviews with Sheriff Al Cannon, and the Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg, no one would share the name of the deceased victim or the name of the shooter.

While reports continued, a reputable friend sent me the name of Chef Shane Whiddon. Although he looked familiar to me, I do not recall ever having the privilege to interview him for a story. It is unfortunate that I’ve never eaten at Virginia’s on King Street.

Chef Anthony Shane Whiddon was 37-years-old, leaving a wife and two children.

http://abcnews4.com/news/crime-news/shane-whiddon-chef-at-virginias-on-king-dies-after-shooting-at-charleston-restaurant

I have no details about the shooter with exception that he was a ‘disgruntled former employee’ and he is in critical condition now.

My heart breaks for the family of Chef Shane Whiddon, Shannon, his wife, and their two lovely children. A neighbor of the family has established a Go Fund Me page, hopeful to raise $10,000 to go to the family.

https://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/Eat/archives/2017/08/25/gofundme-campaign-created-to-support-the-family-of-chef-shane-whiddon-virginias-restaurant-homicide-victim

I’ve lived in the Holy City of Charleston for many years. I recall working as an intern at one of the local TV stations when I was in college. One of my responsibilities was to contact all police departments to see if anything was happening so we could be first with the “if it bleeds it leads,” stories. During my internship, the only report I discovered was a fire. No shootings. Killings. Rapes. Robberies. Drug busts…Nothing newsworthy.

I’ve had the honor and pleasure to know many successful chefs as students when I worked at Johnson & Wales University. Many of them are internationally famous, earning many awards for the amazing and tantalizing foods created by their talents, and many of these chefs chose to remain in Charleston. I suppose you could say, I have been blessed. Yes, indeed!

Now, almost daily there is a shooting. Drug busts and robberies. I ask myself: What has happened to the Holy City of Charleston?

Yes. This beautiful city has grown. Reportedly, we have lots of hopeful new residents moving into the lowcountry daily. I suppose with growth comes crimes. Now, we have crimes on a daily basis. I have been told by a number of people about how easy it is to get a weapon in South Carolina. I suppose I’m from the old school and don’t believe in weapons, but — this is South Carolina and in the Holy City, apparently it is rather easy to get a weapon. So sad. And now, another innocent victim is gone, all because a ‘disgruntled former employee walked into a restaurant and killed the chef.’

Since I am active within the hospitality industry, knowing many of the leaders of food and beverage and hospitality, I pray everyone will come together to assist the family of Chef Shane Whiddon. Now, his wife will be a single mom, raising two children who probably will never understand why their daddy was taken away by someone shooting and killing him. Just how do you explain that to a child? Yesterday morning, Chef left his family to go to work, creating delicious Southern foods for the guests at Virginia’s on King Street. He never came home.

Just what do you say when the children ask: “Where’s my daddy? Why can’t he come home to me? I miss my daddy.”

Chef Shane Whiddon was a family man. He had a generous heart and soul. I checked the Go Fund Me site only a moment ago. Contributions raised in only nine hours: $5,280.

No doubt the Holy City of Charleston feels the pain and loss, and so do I.

Such a sad day today. We are expecting more storms this afternoon probably like the torrential storms pouring down while the police officers rushed around to protect our city.  I must say, they did an amazing job yesterday. Makes me proud of our Holy City.

To the family and friends of Chef Shane Whiddon, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray God will guide all of you and give you strength during this traumatic time of grief.

If you would like to contribute to the Go Fund Me page for Chef Shane Whiddon, visit:

https://www.gofundme.com/helping-the-whiddon-family

cropped-arthur-ravenel-bridge

 

Today Is E-Day — Total Eclipse Day, 2017


Dearest Readers:

This morning, I awoke early since I could not sleep — AGAIN! Turning on the TV, I listened to the early morning news – at 5:00am. Gee, I thought. There must not be any shootings in Charleston, or North Charleston. There must not be any drug busts. Robberies, and did I mention shootings?

The only news reported was a discussion about the total eclipse scheduled to happen today, in Charleston, SC and the USA.

The total eclipse in Charleston is BIG NEWS. Reportedly, we are supposed to have more than two million stargazing, moon struck tourists in the State of South Carolina. Woooh! So glad it isn’t just in Charleston. This “small city” as it is referred to is growing like unwanted weeds. Just look at the traffic jams we fight every day. I can remember when we moved to Charleston, we rarely had traffic congestion. Now, a 15-mile trip to West Ashley from Mt. Pleasant may take one hour, or longer, depending on the flow of traffic. Now, with the eclipse happening this afternoon, I can only imagine the traffic nightmares.

Well, let’s see. I predict:

Drivers pulling over to take pictures, or drivers taking pictures while driving. Hopefully, these scenarios will not create accidents, but people in this city tend to tailgate and not pay attention to the roads while driving.

Downtown will be congested, due to tourists and folks wanting to ‘see the eclipse.’ Let’s hope they wear those gorgeous, oh, so flattering eclipse glasses.

The beaches? I would not even attempt to go to the beach today. Today is my cleaning day, so while the USA goes berserk over the eclipse, I shall stay inside. Occasionally, I’ll look out my windows and/or listen to the eclipse broadcast on the TV. After all, there are no murders, crimes, or newsworthy events during an eclipse.

If you, the readers of my blog, believe that, maybe you should consider moving here. On second thought, maybe not. We have so many people moving into Charleston now that they are building new homes in areas that once were covered with trees. Trees are disappearing now, awaiting more developments. In the area where we live, old homes are being knocked down, or jacked up and moved to another location. On the empty lots, a gigantic home is built. All of this growth is really destroying what we, the long-term residents once enjoyed.

Oh well. That is what happens when a beautiful destination is overgrown.

If you plan to watch the eclipse today, please make certain you wear those gorgeous glasses so you will not burn your retina. It would be a shame to discover you are losing your eyesight simply because you glanced at the sun, using your naked eyes. Please be careful.

As for me, I’ve got cleaning to do. Laundry awaits, and my precious pups are resting. Are they in anticipation of the eclipse? Not. They simply want to play ball. Do their silly back scratch I named the Shakespeare back rub. And, they want me to give them attention. At 4:00pm today, Shadow will remind me that 4:00 in the afternoon is the feeding time for him and his dinner!

It is an overcast day today. The sun is shining just a bit, only to have thick, gray clouds covering it and slight rains. I imagine the tourists who came to Charleston to “see the eclipse” might be a bit disappointed, but that is what happens in Charleston. We have dreadful heat that makes you feel like you are stepping in a sauna when stepping outside during the summertime. With that heat, we get powerful, frightening storms and torrential rains. Yep. Stay a while tourists. Maybe the sun will shine brightly, or maybe it will be overcast. Only Mother Nature knows. At the moment, the sun has disappeared. Maybe the sun is running away from the eclipse after all the hoop-lah!

I hope the eclipse is successful, for all of us.

Oops. Just received a news alert on my phone: “A sinkhole is opening on Bull Street, downtown Charleston.” Not today???

Let’s hope the eclipse is successful, although I have my doubts. The sun has disappeared again. Maybe Ms. Sun is flirting with Mr. Moon… Isn’t that interesting and newsworthy!

Details later!Arthur Ravenel Bridge