Uncategorized

Hurricane Matthew vs. Hurricane Phil…


Dearest Readers:

It is official. We survived Hurricane Matthew. I must confess, Matthew was nothing like Hurricane Hugo. NOTHING!

Early Friday morning, before the wrath of Matthew, my husband followed me to park my car in one of the downtown garages in Charleston. I was fearful Matthew might blow out windows, or thrust a tree into my car. Matthew was nothing, compared to Hugo.

Like many, I was glued to the TV, fearful this hurricane would do more damage than Hugo. The day after Hurricane Hugo, I came home, managing to drive around my neighborhood — looking for my street. This area of the “old village” was a war zone, or so it seemed. Trees were down. I dodged many. I saw roof shingles on the road. Large pieces of tin. I had no idea where they came from, realizing later that some of the ‘tin roofs’ people have on their homes were torn apart, landing in the roads, or other areas. In one area of the road near my home, a house was in the road – swept from its foundation.

Yesterday, we were filled with cabin fever. Remaining inside of our home off and on since Wednesday, getting our property ready for the storm, we were tired of sitting around. Saturday afternoon, the rains were only slight, light showers — no longer horizontal rains that sting your face, like little needles. My husband wanted to drive around to see the damage. We were shocked!

I am known for never leaving my home without my hair styled and make up on. Not yesterday. I grabbed a baseball cap. Something I never wear, and of course, my signature sunglasses! I looked hideous…like a ‘just camping out Barbie.’

We anticipated a view similar to Hugo. Hardly. On Bellview, we discovered a utility line was down. Roads were not blocked with tree limbs, or large trees. Water was on the roads, but nothing seriously deep. On one street I saw trees downed. None hit the houses. On a friend’s home, she lost a large oak tree. It fell into the next yard, hitting the property owner’s car. I hope they have good insurance, and not the insurance we had last year when the ‘thousand year rains’ came.

After the roar of Hugo, our road was covered with trees, roofs, and one house was blown off of its foundation. When we opened the door to our home, we saw ceilings down. Water damage from the torn, leaking ceilings in the family room, living room and our game room. We walked to the back yard, discovering a neighbor’s tree in our roof. Woody was the neighbor’s name. He and his wife stayed during the storm. When he saw us returning, he rushed to apologize for the tree damage from his yard. I smiled at him. “Woody, it’s OK. We have homeowner’s insurance. Don’t worry about it.”

Woody made certain the tree was removed. He and his wife were retired. They were some of the oldest residents in the old village. Nice, considerate neighbors like Woody are hard to find. We filed claims with our homeowner’s insurance. Three weeks later, the adjustor arrived.

“What can I help you with to make your life a bit better?” He asked. “Do you want to stay in a hotel?”

I thanked him, letting him know our home was livable, even with damaged ceilings and a damaged roof. We could survive. He wrote us a check for a considerable amount. It’s a pity I can’t say the same about State Farm Insurance last year!

In May we completed the repairs. During Hurricane Matthew, I prayed we and our home would survive. So happy we are fine! The only damage is a portion of a wooden fence.

I am happy to report, after we lost Woody as a neighbor, we have nice neighbors again. During Hugo, I worked at a culinary college. The President of the college knew he had to find a way to give the meats and vegetables to others. One morning he announced for all employees to pick up some meats and share them with neighbors. I brought a beef wellington, giving it to the neighbor who was grilling for the neighborhood. Needless to say, the neighborhood was eating gourmet foods.

I expected Hurricane Matthew to be stronger than Hugo. I listened to local media, the governor’s messages, and the Weather Channel, anticipating a nightmare similar, or greater than Hugo. Thank God, it wasn’t. To be honest with you, my readers — the only damage we had was related to my husband, “Hurricane Phil.” After I went to bed, he chose to remain in the den with the dogs. There, in the dark of night — where he truly cannot see his hand in front of his face, Hurricane Phil managed to do a bit of facial damage. He placed puppy papers down, in the event our dogs needed to do something. While placing the papers nearby, he managed to knock over a basket of magazines. He knocked a plant sideways, along with a Tiffany style lamp, managing to chip one portion of the lamp, and he broke a picture frame. He lost his glasses. Yesterday afternoon, I found Hurricane Phil’s glasses on the other side of the room. Don’t ask me! He’s as blind as a bat when in the dark! Yes, my home survived Hurricane Matthew, but the interior was  a bit disturbed thanks to Hurricane Phil!

Driving around downtown this morning, in anticipation of getting my car, I did not see the roads covered with tin roofs, homes in the roads, and boats in the path of downtown Charleston, like the roads were after Hugo.

All I saw was the City of Charleston coming back to life. Several restaurants were opened. Cars were driving around, and people were walking. Just glancing along the city, no one would know less than 24-hours ago, Hurricane Matthew came to town, only to tease the city.

Wish I could say the same for Lumberton, NC. There, the hotels were flooded. People were being rescued by boats. Numerous cars were floating in the water. The Weather Channel interviewed several people who fled from South Carolina, so they could be safe. Funny thing about it was, this morning they awoke to wet sheets and wet floors of the hotel. They left South Carolina, only to have their lives threatened when the storm came inward.

Remembering Hurricane Hugo, it appears that once a hurricane hits Charleston, it chooses to go inward. During Hugo, it kissed and damaged the City of Charlotte, NC. This time, Hurricane Matthew almost drowned the City of Lumberton, NC.

I think hurricanes need to have a GPS system. Perhaps then, they could use the GPS to head out to shore and stay away from ‘inward counties.’

We were advised to move away from the coast, and go inland 100 miles. Lumberton, NC is about ‘188 miles from Charleston, or if the crow flies, only 138 miles.’ But who is counting. These people thought they would be safe in Lumberton. So sad.

What will I do next hurricane? Maybe I’ll stay here safely in Mt. Pleasant, SC or maybe I’ll head to Georgia. I’ll have Hurricane Phil with me, and I’ll make certain he does not walk around in the dark of night! Hurricane Phil can be a bit clumsy when he cannot see. Will we be as fortunate during the next hurricane? Maybe I’ll tie Hurricane Phil down so he can be safe.

 

Angel Oaks

 

DSC_0033.JPGDSC_0127_edited.JPGOnly the hurricane knows!

 

 

 

 

Hurricanes, Uncategorized

Hurricane Matthew Scheduled to Arrive Soon


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Dearest Readers:

October 7, 2016, will be a day for history. Hurricane Matthew is scheduled to hit the southeast coast of South Carolina later today. Looking out my window, I see the winds gusting now. Occasional rains tap my windows periodically, but not enough now to worry. Our family consists of my husband and I, and five loving, caring pups. Sir Shakespeare Hemingway is the oldest, almost 13.5 years old. He is a bit frail now so I am staying by his side. Groucho Hanks the Tank is the smallest mini-schnauzer we have. With his grouchy personality, it would not be advisable to go to a shelter. My third little one is a blonde mix schnauzer named Sandy Dandy Sebastian, aka “Sandy Bear.” He is the sweetest pup we have. My largest is a giant schnauzer named Prince Midnight Shadow, “Shadow Bear.” He jumps high, especially when we are outside; however, today, I’ve had to coax him to go outside. Normally, he will rush to fetch the ball and bring it to me to play. Not today. Shadow is most sensitive. Today he prefers to stay inside. I believe he senses something is about to happen, just like the pelicans on Shem Creek, flying erratically. I believe animals can sense something dangerous.

That makes me curious. How is it the birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife are not around today? Yesterday afternoon, I found a dead squirrel in the back yard. I’m not certain if he got injured attempting to find a safe haven, or if Shadow finally caught a squirrel. He has the tendency to attempt to jump into a tree to catch squirrels. Today, he doesn’t want to go outside. Strange.

Earlier, my husband and I took my car to park for free in one of the garages in downtown Charleston. I asked God to show me a sign if I needed to take my car downtown and in the early hours this morning I had a slight dream about my car and the need to park it downtown. One thing I’ve learned in life when God speaks to you, you take His advice.

Driving in downtown Charleston was weird today. I noticed restaurants boarded up. Windows in some of the historical homes were boarded. The roads were not filled with traffic or pedestrians rushing to school, college or work. I saw one pedestrian, carrying a large brown bag. Harris Teeter Grocery Store was boarded and the last of the employees were leaving. The only stop I needed to make was at red lights. Schools were empty. Banks closed. Like Mount Pleasant, Charleston, SC is a ghost town.

Headed home after parking my car high on one of the higher floors, I said a silent prayer to God, to keep us safe. On the landmark, signature Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, I saw a few joggers and walkers. I would not attempt to walk across the bridge today.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

This will most likely be my last post until after the storm. I promise all of you who read my blog regularly, I will write after the storm. It could be weeks later, especially if we lose electricity. I have my cell phone charged now, but if I use it much it will lose its power.

We will have a storm surge and the storm will be here for at least 24-36 hours. Yes, there is something charming about Charleston, SC. Tourists hate to leave and storms love to linger. Since I live here, I do not understand why these storms linger here. I just wish the wind would die down. We haven’t seen anything yet. Later today, trees will sway back and forth, like two lovers swaying to their favorite romantic music. Some of these will weaken and pop, landing on houses, and in the roads, taking down power lines. Soon, we will be living in a dark home without electricity. We will eat canned goods and the cake I baked yesterday. I suppose we could describe this type of life as camping – only we will be inside our home. So much for the healthy eating I do with Weight Watchers.

The rain is getting harder now. Yes, the calm before the storm was earlier. According to local meteorologists, the storm rains are expected to hit at 2 p.m. today. Less than one hour. I’ve lived through hurricanes before. I have faith we will survive Hurricane Matthew, just like Hugo and others.

Tonight I will listen to the world outside as an angry monster named Matthew roars with life. If you’ve never heard the sounds of a hurricane, believe me, it isn’t a sound I will forget. The rushing, angry winds. Torrential downpours of rain, so heavy you cannot see your hand in front of your face. The swaying dance of the trees so heavy with rain and weakened from the winds, they pop and crash onto roofs, other trees, roads and anything directly in their way. When the power goes, the entire city could be dark – so dark nothing is visible. I have candles ready and a hurricane lamp nearby. Flashlights are within reach. Yes, soon we will live like barbarians for a few days or weeks. Hurricanes always leave a calling card you will never forget. Destruction will be everywhere.

Today is a gloomy day. I will have more about Hurricane Matthew later. Meanwhile, please pray for this historical, antiquated City of Charleston, SC and for all of us to survive.

More later, so stay tuned!

Hurricanes, Uncategorized

Memories of Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd, and Soon — Hurricane Matthew


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Dearest Readers:

I remember September 21, 1989 and Hurricane Hugo, a category four hurricane when it SLAMMED into the Charleston Harbor. My husband was activated with the SC National Guard. I chose to volunteer at the culinary college where I worked. caring for  60 students in a historical building that once was a tobacco factory. Thru the cracked, olden bricks, I could see lightning flashing. This building had survived earthquakes and hurricanes previously. I was confident we would be fine. I could hear the sounds of the storm, roaring with life like a freight train, or the horrifying roar of an angry tiger. I remember singing and humming to myself, and praying like I could never pray again. I kept myself quiet to the students, but inside my soul, I was horrified. I saw the water rising from the harbor, up to the second floor where we housed the students. No one wanted to move them. I remember saying, I’ll go. The students do not need to see, or hear, the rising waters. I gathered the 60 students, forming a single line up the stairs we rushed to a vacant warehouse. I remember hugging every student as they settled down. I sang “We Shall Over Come,” to a few of them as we lit candles so we could see to walk around.

Later, most of the students were fast asleep. with exception of one young girl. I found her cuddled like a baby inside a sleeping bag. She held a teddy bear. I stopped to speak to her, and to give her a motherly hug. “We’re going to be fine,” I said. “It’s just a storm. Tomorrow morning we’ll awaken to a brand new day. You go to sleep now. Hug your teddy tightly. We will be fine.”
Moments later, she was asleep. One hour later, as the storm intensified, I was the only one awake. I do not remember how long Hugo destroyed this city, but when the breaking of dawn arrived, I saw a slight light. I slipped out of the area for a moment, to find a window. There, in the early morning I saw a light. Sunshine. I remember saying a prayer while looking at East Bay Street in Charleston. Debris was everywhere, but we had a moment of hope as the skyline broke into morning, a beautiful sunshiny morning with gorgeous blue skies.
I, along with 60 frightened students, survived Hugo. Today, as I look outside, I see a bit of sunshine and a lot of overcast clouds. Wind gusts occasionally. I’ve checked with a few neighbors, and much to my surprise, they decided to ride this storm out too.
Many of us lived in Charleston in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd. During that hurricane, we were told to evacuate. “This is a mandatory evacuation,” the Governor said. Phil and I decided to leave. 1999 was a horrible year for me. I lost my father from esophageal cancer in July. I was grieving and lost. When Phil suggested we pack up to leave, I remember saying to him, “I must pack Dad’s rocking chair.”
Confused, Phil shook his head. “Don’t ask,” I said. “I must have a piece of my father with me.”
I remember loading up our dogs, suitcases, and doggie crates. We had just enough room to pack the rocking chair. Since we were leaving at the time it appeared everyone was leaving Mt. Pleasant, Phil suggested taking Highway 41. We left at noon, driving down Highway 17, headed in all of the congestion to Highway 41. Phil was convinced we’d be safer and move quicker IF we took the back roads.
Driving in separate cars, the dogs with me, we drove down Highway 41, thankful we had walkie-talkies to converse since cell phones were jammed. Moving at a snail’s pace, we remained in the traffic on Highway 41 for nine hours. During the afternoon, the winds gusted. I clicked the walkie-talkie. “Do you think we’ll make it out of here before the storm hits?”
Phil keyed his walkie-talkie. “When we see a hotel, we’re stopping.”
“Good,” I said. “I’m hungry and exhausted…and I’ve got to pee so badly I ache.”
Highway 41 was a parking lot. We moved ever so slowly, inches. Highway 41 did not have the development of other roads, and the only place to relieve mother nature would be the woods.
I glanced at the speedometer, adding the numbers in my head. At nine o’clock we traveled only 57 miles. We saw an old hotel. We stopped, got a room and rushed inside with our dogs. The hotel room smelled. The air conditioner did not work, and the bedspread felt damp. I opened the trunk of my car, removing a blanket. “I’m not sleeping on this wet, smelly bedspread,” I said, fluffing the blanket over the bed.
Although I dozed on that night, I was exhausted the next morning. Phil went outside to check the weather. No wind was blowing and the skies were clear.
“We’re packing up,” he said. “We’re going home.”
I glanced upwards to the skies. “Thank you, God.”
Hurricane Floyd moved off shore on that evening, weakening.  Our nine-hour excursion to get out of Charleston, SC  was a disaster; however, the drive home took us 45 minutes!
Remembering how stressful it was to get out-of-the-way of a hurricane convinced me that when another hurricane threatens Charleston, we will remain safe at home.
I feel confident we will be fine with Hurricane Matthew. Although we are at OPCON 1 now, I am praying Matthew must be tired now. Maybe he’ll give in and turn back into the oceans and disappear. Meanwhile, I am writing. Isn’t it funny how stress appears to help me find the stories I need to share?
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Charleston, Hurricanes, On My Soapbox!, rain, Uncategorized

When and If Hurricane Matthew Comes to the Lowcountry…


Dearest Readers:
Within 24-36 hours, we, in the low country, will know what our chance of meeting Hurricane Matthew is. Here’s what I predict. As most of you know, Charleston, SC is the ‘number one city in the world.’ No doubt, a Chamber of Commerce statement. Yes, it is a beautiful city. Antiquated!!! And I’m not certain IF the city has decided to get with the program and join the 21-first century!
If the hurricane is predicted to hit our coast, I imagine a ‘mandatory evacuation’ will finally be whispered. Remember — we have ’42 families moving into the low country daily.’ Well…we’ve had growth. Amazing, nightmarish growth…New construction is built almost everywhere – however, only roads leading into the subdivisions are made. Our dignitaries cannot make decisions about building additional roads. Their comments are “No money. And If we built new roads, where would we put them? Good question. Excellent observation…but why can’t they make a decision about I-526, or additional roads? Demolishing trees certainly isn’t hard since they completely destroy most of the trees in every new subdivision now. When I moved to Charleston, I was impressed how trees were saved. Not anymore!
If we use Highway 41 to evacuate — we will be parked right on the road when Matthew arrives. I’ve had that happen before in 1999. During that ‘mandatory evacuation’ we moved 57 miles in nine hours! Can you imagine holding your bladder for nine hours? I saw men walking into the woods of Highway 41. I wasn’t about to do that! And, I doubt if men could walk into the woods now – due to the area now filled with new subdivisions, shopping, and other suburban developments. Incidentally, I should mention when my husband was released from work to evacuate – so was every employee in Charleston. I suppose you’ve never read about these nightmares in infamous Charleston, SC — have you? Yes, a beautiful city – unable to handle the traffic hurricanes create when we are finally told ‘this is a mandatory evacuation.’ Yeah. Right. Charleston, what orbit are you on? Face reality! Mandatory evacuation is not possible!
If we have a ‘mandatory evacuation,’ we will not join that parking lot! We will gather our things. Our friends – the best four-legged kind – and we will stay in the hallway of our home. Reportedly, if it hits the coast of the low country, it will be only a category 2 storm. We’ve been here at home for those before. Remember last October?  We had the ‘hundred-year-storm,’ as the dignitaries called it.
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View of the Charleston Harbor and Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge
In reality, it was a tropical storm/mini-hurricane.’ Not my definition of it, but one of the appraisers when I filed a claim and was told “You are not covered!”
Yes, I cancelled that policy and all the policies I had with that insurance company. Never again…Lesson Learned – the expensive way!
So, I am here to let you know – IF Hurricane Matthew comes to town in the low country, we will remain here in our home. Yes. The power will probably be cut off, just like Hurricane Hugo. I will go to the grocery store to get a few non-perishable items we can eat, along with our precious family friends, and we will be fine.
I’m praying my home will be fine. It took us four months to get our beautiful roof replaced in February, 2016. Interior construction from the damage we had during that storm wasn’t completed until May 28, 2016. On May 31, Phil had reverse shoulder replacement – which created another storm I never want to experience again. A physical, emotional roller coaster ride for both of us.
I am staying tuned in to the Weather Channel, and local weather reports, praying this storm will die down for our world. I’m beginning to hate hurricanes. The lightning. Winds. Rain…RAIN…AND MORE RAIN…create only one thing – a time to appreciate life and be thankful for the little things in life.
Hurricane Matthew we do not want you to be another traveling companion or tourist in the low country. Why don’t you move out to sea and disappear! You are not welcome here!
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Cypress Gardens Still Closed Due to The ‘Hundred Year Storm.’
Cruising, Family, Uncategorized

Sad Experience on the Carnival Ecstasy Cruise


We are HOME now from the cruise. Phil and I had a great time, relaxing and enjoying life. We were on the Ecstasy. If you’ve heard about the Carnival Ecstasy — yes, it is true. In the early morning hours of yesterday morning, a passenger fell overboard. The ship had to stop, backing up to search. Search lights were lighting up the oceans like early morning sunrise, only it was 3:08am. From our ocean view window I watched the crew members lowered into an orange rescue boat. Four members were on board, rushing along the waters — searching…searching and searching for the 32-year-old woman. The captain informed us about the passenger falling at 3:08am. He continued keeping us informed until the U S Coast Guard released the ship to head to Charleston. The rescue boat returned to the ship at about 4:27. Four crew members onboard.

Yesterday, after breakfast, we saw the U S Coast Guard searching the waters. My heart breaks for the family. I have a name although I am not certain she was the guest who fell overboard. Guest services broadcast a ladies name requesting her to call guest services. They broadcast her name three times. I will have more material after I research a bit. I could not get the name confirmed, so when I have more news, I’ll share it.

Just confirmed the passenger’s name. Rina Patel, 32-years-old, from New York. So young. So full of life. So sad. While I still pray for a miracle, the reality is to the best of my knowledge at 2:31pm today, she hasn’t been located. Yes, I believe in miracles, and I pray God will grant one for her and her family.

Yesterday was a gloomy day on the ship. People were sharing stories about the incident. Since I am not a gossip and only share after reputable agencies confirm, I will keep her name private. Reportedly, she and her mother were arguing on the 11th deck. Can you imagine? Arguing with your mother, only to fall over board? One can only imagine how her family must feel. Please say prayers that the family will find closure, or perhaps a miracle. Those were deep, dark seas.

After I recuperate a bit, get laundry caught up and review my notes, I will have another story about our experience on the Carnival Cruise Ecstasy. A great journey began with such a sad, tragic ending.

More later!

Charleston, rain, sunshine

Rainy Days…Rainy Nights…Will Charleston, SC EVER See Sunshine Again?


Dearest Readers:

As I glance outside at the window by my desk, I see gray skies…Raindrops are dripping slowly to the ground. Trees are covered with so much moisture, they almost lose their color. The mimosa trees drip with a grayish color as if to say they are sick and tired of this rain and don’t want to see or feel anymore! Pine trees are leaning over a bit. These pine trees are the seeds I planted after Hurricane Hugo, so the two that grew are just a bit special for me. My husband gripes about them always saying he plans to cut them down. Pine trees are reminiscent to me, reminding me of my childhood in Georgia. How frightened I would become while laying on the grass, noting their height and strength. I always feared those pine trees might pop and fall on top of me. Nevertheless, pine trees are prevalent in Georgia. I remind my grumpy husband that we lost five trees in our yard after Hurricane Hugo. Again, he grunts knowing that IF he cuts those trees down, he will have to deal with me – an unhappy woman sad that her little children of trees are gone due to his selfishness. We have three mimosa trees in the back yard now – planted from seeds from the hands of Mother Nature. How I love those mimosa trees, although today the branches are leaning down. Perhaps they weigh a bit too much now from all of this monsoon rain. Perhaps later, I will slide my rain boots on and walk outside, just to touch the tree branches I’ve watched growing from a tiny seedling to the height of 20′ – maybe a bit less. I’m much too short to measure them! I want those precious trees soaked and probably curious from the hands and moisture of Mother Sunshine to understand I still love them, and I want them to flourish. All in time. I am hopeful this monsoon rain will end soon…and just when I think I might see a bit of relief, I glance outside again to see sheets of rain. My yards are so wet I would not dare to walk outside in my stiletto or pump high heels. No doubt if I made the attempt, my feet would stick in the sandy moisture and pull me downwards. I don’t want to get soaked or dirty. I have a thing about dirt under my nails, but enough about that.

Last week, the rains began – at least I think it was last week. On Wednesday, Tammy, Sara, Chris and I walked the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. It was a humid, gray morning with only a slight breath of wind. Walking up the first incline, I struggled with my breath, stopping several times to use my inhaler. I encouraged the girls to go ahead.
My asthma is leaving me a bit short-winded today. Go ahead, I’ll be fine.”

I stopped several times, just to catch my breath. I counted the lamp posts, telling myself that If I made it to the last lamppost at the first twin towers, I would rest, and I did. Still, I pushed myself, anticipating the approaching rains. I am proud to say, I accomplished my walk – but it appeared to take me forever. Thank you so much, silly asthma. How I wish I did not have asthma, although it is something I have battled all of my life.

For me, there is something magical I feel while walking the bridge. DSC_0033

While walking — sometimes it appears I am crawling, up the first incline, I feel as if God is pushing me, guiding me, telling me – take just one more step. You can do this! And so I do. I believe it doesn’t matter how long it takes. All that does matter is I am taking baby steps to my health. I am accomplishing something I’ve always said I would do “One Day,” after the bridge opened in 2005. I see walkers, runners, bikers, strollers, and I’ve seen a few walkers walking dogs (you do realize dogs are not permitted on the bridge – don’t you?) On one morning, a dog left a calling card. I missed stepping on it by just a few baby steps. Honestly, some people love to break the rules, don’t they!

I suppose you could say I believe in breaking rules – sometimes; however, I am considerate of others. I do not take my dogs on my walk. Accomplishing that bridge walk is something I take extremely seriously. I don’t want interruptions. Now that we have about three to five women walking with us, we all move at our pace. We don’t compete. We encourage, and If one of us gets behind like “slow poke Barbie” a nickname I’ve given myself — we text to make certain all is ok. These women are the greatest! Did I mention one of them is a high school friend from — let’s say — a few years ago in another town? Her name is Melanie. In high school, we were not close friends, and that is all my fault. When I was in high school, the only thing I wanted was to graduate and leave my childhood home. I failed to make close friends, only wanting to get out of Bibb City and the traumas of my youth.

Now, a different place. A different time. A different woman. I am proud of the woman I have grown into in my adult life. Gone is the wallflower. Gone is the child afraid to speak up. Replaced by someone who speaks her mind, believes in herself and is proud for the small accomplishments I have achieved. Finally, I can smile, look in the mirror and say, “Hey woman…You’ve got this! You is smart. You is determined, and you Is a better person for breaking that mold!” Thank you, God!

So today, I suppose is a day to reminisce…to ease the gloominess of all of this rain. A day to erase all of the past, or should I say — a day to WASH the past away!

Glancing out my window again, the rain has stopped. I am confident it will start again. I’ve lost count as to how much rain we’ve had, but I imagine it is close to 15 inches, possibly more.

I imagine the mosquitoes will be increasing now, along with the disgusting mold, mildew and ragweed. Wouldn’t it be nice IF the ragweed was washed away. I think I’m looking forward to a day where I awaken to the sunshine peeping thru the windows. I am so sick of all of this rain.

It is time for all of us to smell the flowers…inhale the scent of fresh rain…and to move on with our lives.

Uncategorized

In Remembrance – 9-11-01


http://www.911memorial.org/

Dearest Readers:

Fourteen years ago on this date, I awoke, deciding not to listen to the morning news. I suppose I was tired of ‘shootings…crimes…rapes…murders…’ all of the ‘if it bleeds, it leads,’ stories. Sipping a fresh cup of coffee, I turned my computer on to write. The screaming phone broke the silence.

My husband asked, “I know you always watch the news, so I wanted you to know we are all OK here.”

“I decided to ignore the news this morning. Whatever are you talking about?”

“Turn on the TV. A jet just crashed into the World Trade Center.”

My heart skipped a beat. Sporadic news reports were pouring in from people sharing cell phone reports, voice mails, and horrors.

“Oh my God,” I remember saying aloud in my home. “This isn’t just an airplane crashing. This is an act of war.”

Never did I realize how true my words were.

Every year on this date of remembrance, I am sad for two reasons. On 9-11-01, the world stopped moving due to the shock of the terrorist attacks in America. On 9-11-02, my mother died – unexpectedly, under questionable circumstances. When I received news of her death, a cold, uncalculated family member said, “She died on 9-11.”

“NOT THE 9-11,” I said.

The morning sun shined brightly on 9-11 in Charleston, SC. While watching the news, I watched the beautiful skyline of New York City turn from a beautiful sky blue, dissolving to a faded gray. Plumes of gray smoke covered the area from a day of beauty to a day of darkness.

Watching the TV, somehow I knew this was not an accidental crash but a premeditated attempt at terrorism. Just how could a jet crash into a historical skyscraper? How?

Reports continued pouring in as another jet hit the other tower. Additional reports included not only the Twin Towers, but a third plane attacked the Pentagon in Washington, D.C, a fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. I thought of Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t alive during the Pearl Harbor attacks. I remembered reading about them in history books, writing projects in school and learning all that I could about Pearl Harbor. I’ve met several World War II veterans, and my husband is a Vietnam Veteran, so the military holds a significant portion of my heart. These attacks seemed to be happening all over the United States. I asked myself, “Is Charleston next?”

I phoned my husband, just to make certain he was safe. He has a government job. No doubt his safety was a great concern. Only two weeks prior to 9-11 he was in a meeting at the Pentagon.

How did I feel on 9-11? Angry. Shocked. Fearful. Just what was happening to our world? I had family members who worked at some of these venues. I prayed they were safe while feeling as if I was a bit selfish. How could I pray for safety when Washington, DC, New York City and an area in Pennsylvania was not safe?

9-11 is an unfortunate, perfect example of how quickly life can change. Thinking back to that date, I imagine someone on the top floors of The World Trade Center. Perhaps an administrative assistant sitting at her desk, reviewing the schedule of events for that date, only to glance up to look out at the view of this amazing structure just in time to see something coming a bit too close. “What is that? No. It can’t be. Planes don’t fly this close…”

Were those her or his last words? We shall never know. Everything happened so quickly. In the blink of an eye, our world changed. We, the stunned viewers of the news could not believe what was happening. I heard people saying, “Oh, this is someone overtaking the media…maybe a computer virus…this cannot be going on in America.”

But – it was…and it did happen to America. For days, we prayed. We joined together to pray for the victims while praying in hopes another victim would be found alive, trapped under the debris.

Days after the terrorist’s attacks began like other days. We planned to go to work, to church, our children would go to school. Although our nation was in mourning, we had to continue living. Truly a hard reality pill to swallow daily. There was a thick air of gloominess in our communities. How could this happen to the United States of America? Why? Just why did our world stop turning?

For days, I was glued to the television. My entire life seemed to revolve on the news. I saw news reports of people jumping out of the buildings. One report mentioned a pregnant woman jumping from one of the buildings, knowing she nor her unborn child would survive.

New York City was covered in a blanket of gray ash and debris. People were running down the streets and bridges in fear for their lives. Airplane flights were canceled IMG_0572and all airlines were forced to land by the federal government. Not only were we in mourning, America was crippled.

Today, 9-11-15, I still grieve for those who died from these dreadful terrorist attacks, and I grieve for my mother. Never did we become close as a mother and daughter, although I tried to resolve the issues of our relationship. On the day of her death, I was extremely ill with Acute Bronchial Asthma. My doctor prescribed Prednisone, resulting in a dangerous reaction that left me a zombie. My husband was in Italy at the time of her death so I could not get to the funeral.

Losing a loved one, including a distant loved one, is unbearable. After my mother died, I felt an emptiness I cannot describe; nevertheless, I learned that we must walk through the grief so we can continue living. Fourteen years after 9-11, America still grieves. Perhaps we are more observant about questionable events. Maybe we are more cautious. Speaking only for myself, I do have the tendency to look carefully and cautiously whenever I am out in the public view. I look behind me. I carry my car keys pointing the tip out, in the event someone attacks me. I suppose I am now more pro-active and prepared while remembering how quickly life can change. Yes, in the blink of an eye our world can change — not necessarily for the better. May God protect us — Everyone.

On 9-11, I burn a candle and pray.

Charleston, Friendship

If It Wasn’t For Weight Watchers….


Dearest Readers:

As you probably know, I am a Weight Watcher. As a ‘weight watcher,’ I lose slowly — EVER SO SLOWLY! I have weekly weigh-ins where I cheer, and I have many weeks at weigh-in where I want to scream…beat myself up…run into a brick wall…or — QUIT! But — I cannot do this. Beating myself up – like I did as a child — is not healthy for me. Getting depressed and quitting – just isn’t who I am now. Years ago, I quit things that challenged me. Now, as an adult — at least I think I am — I like a challenge, and for me, Weight Watchers is a challenge.

Today, thanks to a beautiful, encouraging friend I am back to a wonderful, intimidating and fun challenge — walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge!

A few years ago, I briefly discussed the bridge:
To those of you who do not know, “The bicycle and pedestrian lane is 2.7 miles long (14,400 feet), measuring from Patriots Point Road to East Bay Street. Measuring only the part that is on the bridge structure, the walkway is 2.4 miles long (12,750 feet). Most of the bridge is limited to a 4.1% maximum slope. On the Charleston side of the
main span, the long approach is a 1.8% slope. On the Mount Pleasant side, there is a section three-tenths of a mile long that has a 5.6% slope.” http://www.cooperriverbridge.org/bike.shtml

When plans for the bridge were in the discussion stages, a high school group got involved, suggesting adding a pedestrian, bicycle lane. I am so happy those plans were included in the bridge plans. Now, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge is one of the favorite spots for active walkers, runners and bicyclists to work out. Speaking only for myself, I find it invigorating just to walk on it. You must remember, I am asthmatic. Exercise, stress, and illness activate my asthma. Today, I forgot to pack my inhaler – in the event I had an attack. On Monday of this week, I had an attack – thanks to my mini-schnauzer, the oldest of our pets. He chose to ignore the command of ‘stay’, darting out to the road. I rushed after him, and he ran faster. The little brat! A police officer drove by, stopping to get Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. On the way to the house, my asthma kicked in, so I must be careful. Nevertheless, I refuse to allow asthma to stop me. As a child, I was told I could not run or play or dance, like the other kids because I had asthma. I listened. Grinned, and danced my way outside. Stubborn? Independent?? Opinionated??? Wanting to do things MY WAY????? You betcha!

I’ve always believed in breaking the rules. After I had accomplished my first adventure on the Ravenel Bridge, I walked it two to three times weekly. For those of you who have Fitbits, the incline records the steps, floors, miles and active minutes. Today, I paid attention to these records when I got home. I moved on 16 floors today. Walked for 50 active minutes, for a total of 3.66 miles, and I had over 7,000 steps recorded before 10:00 am. Today, I will surpass my goals to walk for 10,000 steps, 30 minutes active. I cannot wait to share this information at Weight Watchers tomorrow.

When you walk the bridge, you feel like it will be an easy journey. For those who haven’t walked it, or those who are not accustomed to walking, it might be a bit difficult; however, since I am a walker, and I walk the treadmill, today’s journey was not as difficult as it has been. My friend, Melanie did fine too. You must remember, as you begin the journey up the bridge, it continues to incline. Remember – Charleston, SC does not have any mountains, so we in the Lowcountry are accustomed to walking the ‘Lowcountry!’ The bridge has a 4.1% incline. Many people who have walked the bridge say it bothers their legs, but it didn’t for me, and Melanie tolerated it well too. I think she and I will be good walking buddies!

Now, that I am home, I feel inspired. There is something so special about getting outside to walk. The sun beams down onto your skin. The breeze kisses your face, and the walk gets your entire body moving. Arms are swinging. Legs are moving to the beat. Your heart is beating while the breeze conditions your body to keep moving. I didn’t mention the view, and it is spectacular. You look down to see the view of the Charleston Harbor. Perhaps you see a ship or a cargo ship floating by while the breeze refreshes your face. This is Charleston, SC. A Holy City where we do our best to enjoy this life we are given. God has given us a beautiful, historical city to enjoy the lifestyle we so enjoy and new friendships to cherish.

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Charleston

Let Us All Stand Tall To Become — CHARLESTON STRONG!


Dearest Readers:

Today, Thursday, June 25, 2015, is a somber day in the Holy City of Charleston, SC. The first of nine funerals of the innocent victims murdered by the hands of a heartless 21-year-old monster I shall not name — begin today. We in the community know his name. The global world knows his name. He’s received too much ‘15 minutes of fame’ and I cringe whenever I think of him and his skittish, sinister demeanor. The dirty blonde, bowl cut haircut. Looking at his eyes in the images published on TV, he looks – as they say in the South – “so full of the devil.” I actually expected to see horns on his head.

When I was a little girl my Grammy spoke about the church. How she always felt as if she was in the hands of the Lord whenever she went to church. She felt safe, telling me if I got scared, I would always feel safe and be safe inside a church. I believed my Grammy. What happened on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, inside Mother Emanuel AME Church located on Calhoun Street, in the Holy City of Charleston, SC is truly shocking. Murders during Bible Study??? When I heard about the nine shootings I could not believe it. No one shoots and kills people inside a church in the Holy City of Charleston, I thought. This cannot be true. My mind rushed back to 9-11. My body shivered just thinking about these tragedies. The hatred. Racism. Why are some people filled with such hatred?

According to the Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20150618/PC16/150619404

“The nine people fatally shot at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church:
Reverend Clementa Pinckney, 41, the primary pastor who also served as a state senator.

Cynthia Hurd, 54, St. Andrews regional branch manager for the Charleston County Public Library system.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45, a church pastor, speech therapist and coach of the girls’ track and field team at Goose Creek High School.

Tywanza Sanders, 26, who had a degree in business administration from Allen University, where Pinckney also attended.

Ethel Lance, 70, a retired Gailliard Center employee who has worked recently as a church janitor.

Susie Jackson, 87, Lance’s cousin who was a longtime church member.

DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, a retired director of the local Community Development Block Grant Program who joined the church in March as a pastor.

Myra Thompson, 59, a pastor at the church.

Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, a pastor, who died in a hospital operating room.”

Reportedly, Tywanza Sanders gave his life while struggling to protect his mother, Felicia Sanders, along with Susie Jackson, his aunt. He spoke his last words to the shooter. Sanders and Jackson survived the shootings along with a five-year-old girl. After this period of grief, I plan to write more stories about this tragedy, but for now, it is too close to home. No, I did not have the pleasure of knowing these people; nevertheless, I feel we lost some amazing people.

My husband and I moved to Charleston in late 1974. I worked in a retail store where bigotry was spoken almost daily. I hoped that when we moved away from the State of Georgia, I would find a different atmosphere here in the Holy City. I did not.

I imagine all of the United States of America experience racism. Growing up in a textile mill village, I lived with racism and when I heard others say the “N” word, I corrected them telling them that God don’t love ugly and that is an ugly word of hatred. I refused to allow the color of skin to influence me. I see the good in most people, and when I see others being cruel, I am the first to chime in that “God don’t love ugly.”

After the Emanuel Nine shootings, I’ve seen a different personality within the Holy City. People are actually speaking, exemplifying that Southern hospitality that we in Charleston are so proud to demonstrate — MOST of the time. Seeing their reactions to tourists and strangers makes me proud, although I do question why it takes a tragedy to bring out the best in people.

Now, the hot issue is that flag hanging at the South Carolina State House. Personally, I think it is past the time to move that flag, place it in a museum and MOVE FORWARD into the 21st Century. For years, I have said that South Carolina is still stuck in the 1800’s and the issues about this flag and racism prove my point. I have friends, perhaps now – acquaintances – telling me I am crazy and should be proud of my Southern heritage.

“Maybe I am proud to be a steel magnolia from the South, but Proud of racism? I think not.” And that is when I walk away, telling them this conversation is over. After all, I am an opinionated woman and if my husband and friends cannot change my opinions and my beliefs, why should others try? I am not proud of the hatred many people in our country practice. I am working to remove the four-letter word “hate” from my vocabulary. There is far too much hatred within this world for me to say Hate. In high school, we learned about racism and civil rights. I disagreed with every aspect of criticizing or hating those who were a different color and when I expressed that a lot of us probably had different colors of blood running inside our veins and within our heritage, classmates looked at me with disapproval. My belief is simple – God loves all of us, regardless of the colors of our skin.

Hatred and gun control – that is what we need to work on. Almost every day there is a shooting in the Holy City of Charleston, SC. Isn’t it time that we all embraced – moved forward – and stopped allowing a flag, a gun, or our upbringing to teach us all about hatred? Isn’t it time we stood up to be “Charleston Strong?”

Family

Belated Happy Father’s Day From the Holy City, Charleston, SC


Dearest Readers:

I do apologize for not writing a post about Father’s Day yesterday. If you read my posts on a regular basis, you will note, I live in the Holy City, Charleston, SC. Last week was truly a week of grief and shock for us, and when I heard about the church shootings early Thursday morning, I was truly in shock. I ask – “How? How does this happen in a Holy City.

Since the nine murders, I have worked on the events for a news publication and I have prayed…and PRAYED…and PRAYED. Some people believe that prayers do not help us, but I beg to differ. Prayer has always gotten me through the tough, shocking times in life.

Today, I do hope those who celebrated Father’s Day (and I am one of them) shared words of love, and gratitude for fathers. My father died in 1999; nevertheless, I still grieve for him and miss him. I can hear his melodious voice and I laugh when I hear it. Words cannot express how much I miss him. I am thankful that he and I were able to work through difficult times and not look back and on Father’s Day, we spent time together, appreciating and loving the bonding we shared.

So, to all of you who are Fathers, today I would like to say thank you. Thank you for being who you are and thank you for moving through the difficult times while remembering it is the little things in life that make a difference. Little things – like seeing a child born. Not exactly a little thing, but the precious gift of birth is something significant that changes our lives. Little things like awakening in the morning to see a new day…a bright sunshine…the gift of life and love.

I plan to write more in my blog about Charleston – at a later date – after I can decipher my notes and research. For now, I am proud that our Holy City is rising higher than the tallest church steeple to embrace what happened while teaching the world that we are a proud city – not filled with hatred…anger…and such bigotry. We will stand tall and survive.

Belated Father’s Day wishes to all of our precious fathers. Thank you for helping our city to move forward with pride…acceptance…love…and compassion.

If you would like to help the Holy City heal, USA TODAY shared this information:

“People can help in these ways:

• Donate to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund at any Wells Fargo branch across the USA.

• Send a check to Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, c/o City of Charleston, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, S.C. 29402.

• Text ‘prayforcharleston’ to 843-606-5995 or go to http://www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston to donate by credit card.

• Send a check to Lowcountry Ministries, a South Carolina nonprofit that also has established a fund to help Emanuel and support projects for youth and vulnerable populations, at Lowcountry Ministries — the Rev. Pinckney Fund, c/o The Palmetto Project, 6296 Rivers Ave. #100, North Charleston, S.C. 29406.

• Donate to the Pinckney Fund online at palmettoproject.org via major credit card or PayPal.

• Give directly to Emanuel AME Church. You can donate online via major credit card or PayPal.

Donations to both Lowcountry Ministries and Emanuel AME Church are tax deductible.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/18/charleston-church-shooting-donations/28959731/