I got a call awhile ago from an acquaintance who lives in the foothills of the NC mountains. She was offering me a place to evacuate to before Matthew bears down on the South Carolina coast later this week. Her call meant so much to me because I've actually only met her one time.
I am not evacuating, though. I rode out Hurricane Hugo in Sept. of 1989 in a tiny 1920s closet with my birdcage in the house I was renting in Walterboro, an hour from Charleston. The eye of Hugo hit Charleston, and it was then that I learned that to be on the west side of the storm was the best place to be.
I am not evacuating for several reasons. For one, I am not going to be at the mercy of the authorities to get back in. Secondly, I have too many animals. I could pack up everyone to go to my parents' house, but it's not something I want to do, coupled with the insanity of an evacuation gridlock.
I am prepared; my flood insurance policy arrived Monday. I stopped at the vet on the way home today to get another bag of cat food, so my babies don't run out. I have begun to stockpile ice in my garage freezer, and I've started collecting water in bottles and pitchers. I have plenty of food. Tomorrow I will get porch and patio things into the garage and hunker down. I have no intention of leaving my property until it is safe to do so Sunday or Monday.
An overriding reason I am staying put is attributable to that lady at the top of this page. I have written about Grandmother Pearl before. She was my paternal grandmother who lived to age 92, I think. She was a widow for nearly the last 40 years of her life. I get my strength from her. Not physical strength, but grit, or toughness, if you will. I believe it's in my genes from her. It's that grit that enabled me to teach high school and middle school for 27 of my 29 years without losing my mind. It's her grit that enabled me to face cancer in an extremely harsh working environment, while taking just two weeks off from work after 10 days in the hospital after colon cancer surgery. It's her grit that enabled me to work through six months of chemo. It's her grit that enabled me to endure a YEAR with a colostomy bag. Think about that one!
It's her grit that enabled me to confront a would-be robber in our backyard, too busy yelling at him to notice the knife in his back pocket; it's her grit that prompted me to chase his truck down the street to get his license number.
I told my acquaintance tonight that I often think I was born in the wrong time period. I would have done well as a pioneer woman. I know I would have. I'm made from tough stock. Cancer and a would-be robber didn't scare me; neither will a hurricane named Matthew.