Today is Saturday, September 7, 2019. Looking out the windows, I see beautiful sunshine, just like yesterday morning. Finally, we have power. It is so nice to awaken, even though I really haven’t slept, to the coolness of air conditioning. The humming of ceiling fans. The comfort of my pups, happy again now that the blackness has disappeared. Freshly brewed coffee! Oh. Happy. Day!
Hurricane Dorian arrived in the Charleston, South Carolina coastlines like disgruntled tourists, determined to make her presence known. At exactly 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning, our power faded into total blackness. Shadow, my giant schnauzer, was sleeping with me on that night of little sleep for me, and when he heard the air conditioner and fan go quiet, he screamed a bark of horror. I awoke, rushing my fingers across the bed to comfort him; nevertheless, he continued barking his tempestuous tone of fear. Finding my iPhone on the bed, I hit the flashlight, got out of bed, yawning from exhaustion. Shadow followed me as we walked around the house. In the distance, I heard a loud, threatening roar. Dorian was here.
Carefully cracking the back door, the winds rushed inside, forcing the door to open. Shadow rushed outside. I held the iPhone high, noting the rushing, angry winds flapping trees, swaying back and forth. I listened to the sounds of the winds, imagining a roaring lion hungry for food while hunting her prey.
I heard a croaking sound, fearful. I’ve never heard a frog croak so strange before. I looked around the ground, hoping to find the frog. A hummingbird flew next to my face. I held my hand out, hoping it would land on my hand so I could keep it safe. The hummingbird flew away into the storm. The croaking continued. Searching frantically, I wanted to save the frog, only I couldn’t.
Although it was 1:00 a.m., I shouted for Shadow to come inside. He pranced around while the winds reminded me of a vacuum system. The winds inhaling deeply. Exhaling with a torrential downpour of rain. Shadow. Shadow. Come inside please, Shadow. I wanted to rush after him, but he zig-zagged across the yard, barking so hard I was afraid he would awaken neighbors. While he rushed across the yard, I could not see him at all. He blended in to the blackness of night. The only way I could determine his location was through his barking. He sounded like he wanted to tear Dorian apart. I was horrified Dorian might lift him up, tossing him around, tearing him apart. The winds were so strong, reminding me of the tornadoes I’ve lived through. I thought of the movie THE WIZARD OF OZ, wishing I could tap my red shoes to fly safely away with Shadow. My husband, Phil, slept soundly — like he always does with a hurricane.
I had difficulty finding Shadow since our outside lights were off. The downpours of rain gushed in sheets. I stepped outside, finding it difficult to breathe. Shadow. Come inside boy. Please!
Something brushed across my leg. Shadow! His fur was soaked. I grabbed towels to dry him. He licked my face. Boy. That’s a hurricane out there. You will not go outside again! While drying his waterlogged body, I felt his entire body trembling. Shadow detests storms. On a normal rainy day, he is hesitant to go outside. Normally, he will brace his four legs stiff, refusing to move outside. I suppose he wanted to make certain we would be safe in the wrath of Dorian.
Wrapping my arms around Shadow, we cuddled for a bit. The windows of our home are sealed tightly although I could still hear the roaring lion of Dorian. She screamed with an earth-shattering breath of determination. Shadow whined. It’s ok, boy. Mommy will keep you safe. He moved closer to me. I checked the back door, to make certain it was locked, then Shadow and I moved to the den.
Listening to the storm in the blackness of a night of terror, I prayed. Please God, keep us safe. Keep our neighborhood safe and let all of us survive without destruction.
I checked weather alerts on my phone. Category Three. Hurricane Dorian storms into Charleston. Later, as the dawn of morning arrived, I watched pine trees bending over. I opened the front door of my home, just to see how strong the winds were. The gusts of Dorian’s winds thrust the door open, hitting the wall. No doubt Dorian was an angry lion. Roaring. Screeching. Gusting. Thrusting. She wanted inside.
Stepping outside, the porch was soaked. Somehow we forgot to remove our American flag. It had fallen onto the ground. I’ve got to get it. We don’t allow the American flag on the ground. Please God, keep me safe. Rushing carefully to reach the flag, my clothing was soaked. I grabbed the flag. It flapped onto my face, as if to say thank you. Fighting to close the door, I placed the saturated flag in an urn in the foyer and locked the front door.
If only I had a nice steaming cup of coffee. My head pounded. I’ve had migraines since I was nine-years-old, after I was hit by a car. The crown of my head was as soft as a newborn baby’s head after I was tossed around, thrown from the hood of the car onto concrete. Reportedly, the only thing that saved me was the fact that the force of the impact knocked me out and I flew around like a rag doll. I remember hitting the hood, the wind escaping me. When I awoke, my body rested on the concrete sidewalk. People stood around, looking at me. Opening my eyes, I saw my father. He touched me. “Are you all right?” He said, looking horrified.
When I have a migraine, it affects my cognitive abilities. I have a tendency to struggle to speak correctly at times. Stuttering. Now that Hurricane Dorian was here, the pressure gave me headaches. I don’t remember having such headaches during other hurricanes, but this headache lasted for three days.
Thursday morning and afternoon I remained close to Shadow and my other pups. All of them wanted to cuddle so I rubbed them. My fingers combing their fur. Soothing. Calming. Hearing a loud thump outside, I reminded the dogs to stay. They obeyed, while whining. They did not wish to be alone.
I grabbed an umbrella, opened the back door, walking outside. Opening the gate to the side yard, the wind blew it closed. Determined, I pulled the gate open, walking outside. I knew it wasn’t safe, but I wanted to know what the noise was.
A huge tree branch fell onto the road, barely missing my husband’s rental car. Checking my phone to make certain it had power, I posted a road was blocked due to the storm on Nextdoor.com.
Exhausted from fighting to get back into the house, I decided to take something for my headache. The barometric pressure left the crown of my head so tender I ached. The dogs and I went to the bedroom. No sleep for me, but I listened to the sounds of three dogs inhaling. Exhaling. Sleeping.
Meanwhile, Dorian continued attacking her angry visit to the City of Charleston.
For over 40 hours we lacked electricity. We drove around a bit, finding a 7-11 open, cash only. Several people entered the store to get a few items, only to be told it was “Cash only.” A couple of these people ranted, cursing. “What do you mean – cash only? I’ve got a debit card!”
“Never been in a hurricane before,” I said. “You must be new to our community. Welcome to Charleston. During hurricanes debit cards do not work. Nor do credit cards! Welcome to the dark ages! “
After surviving so many hurricanes that teased Charleston I knew what to do.
*Cash. You must have cash!
*Make certain your car has a full tank of gas.
*Be kind to neighbors.
This has truly been a LONG WEEK for Charleston residents. A mandatory evacuation was proclaimed on Monday, Labor Day. All schools were closed. Interstate 26 was reversed. Traffic seemed to be moving rapidly. In all reality I don’t believe many people chose to evacuate. The storm predictions revealed Hurricane Dorian would arrive on Thursday. No doubt many people would lose income this week, all from a hurricane.
For three days, I did not wear makeup or style my hair. I simply forgot to unpack my ‘hurricane curlers.’ No doubt I looked and felt like a tattered rag doll. Friday morning, with the sun shining brightly and the threat of Dorian gone, I found those curlers. Due to the humidity and clamminess inside our home, it took seven hours for my hair to look “decent.”
Today is Saturday. I have much work to do in the front and back yards. Tree branches to pick up. Raking and getting our lives back together again.
Today’s forecast is 84 degrees. I suppose I should get busy and start to work.
Another hurricane survived — now — “Gone With the Wind!”