Hurricanes are part of life in the lowcountry - our architecture and fauna have developed in a way that they can sustain the stormy fury and, on the other side, shine beyond their mortal grace. Today though is not a good day, and one where we hear constant news from those less fortunate already in the path of our oncoming future. We are potentially due a "big one," one measured in the public suffering of countless Caribbean souls who have seen firsthand its wrath today and will again tomorrow. This is the first of three blogs telling the story of Hurricane Matthew, from our perspective, as it heads our way.
We recently published a blog on Tropical Storm Hermine - "A Tropical Storm Comes Knocking." We have scheduled soon to publish another one recounting a few days we recently vacationed at a popular Charlestonian playground - The Abacos Islands. I was there with my wife Sebrina for our wedding anniversary 10 days ago. Justin, our local guide in Abacos, was telling us of Hurricane Floyd and how it rolled the local radio tower into a ball and pitched it into the sea. Three weeks later he saw the first relief water barge from Treasure Cay. How far and how long ago this seems just a few days later as those poor souls get pounded by another Category 4.
This morning we relayed notice to our vacation guests, booked with our Luxury Simplified Retreats vacation company, that their stay in Charleston SC should be delayed until Sunday. By then all would be good. That is still true, as by then Matthew will have passed and sunshine is forecast. Noon today we received word privately that all was not good in the forecast from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with whom we retain good relations. They are so much more dispassionate than the local news channels. Clearly their assessment is that this storm is indeed powerful and all was not good. At 3:00pm our state Governor Nikki Haley asked coastal residents to consider an evacuation to be announced Wednesday. Lines formed almost instantly at gas stations, and grocery stores ran out of water. Charleston is still Charleston, but the people changed a bit by the worry and the intermittent watching of the horizon. Yet I am pleased, if not proud to say, that they remained stoic even as gas pumps ran dry and the lines got longer. I love this place on so many levels.
So tomorrow the beast with a name of Matthew, is 48 hours out. We have agreed cancellation of 3 weddings at our event venue, Gadsden House. We have canceled 8 vacations on Folly Beach - sorry about that, please blame deity. We have bought 2 pallets of particle board to cover windows and 1000 foot of rope, 10 boxes of screws and 25 gallons of gasoline plus 2 pints of 2 stroke oil for chainsaws and 2 new chains. My wife Sebrina has 2 freezers stocked and we have called our Charleston family and friends home to stay on Johns Island come what may.
Tomorrow they may declare an evacuation and we would encourage folk to heed that warning and depart. For us, this town is our home and our livelihood. Its our business, our clients, our homeowners and renters many of whom cannot leave and neither will we. Short of a Category 5 or Armageddon we are now committed. If it looks really bad we will move downtown "en mass" to homes that have survived worse over time.
Heck who said adventures were fun when you are having them! But, as is the case with most ordinary Americans, and not a few ordinary immigrants (like myself) the outward appearance belies our true grit.
May God be with those poor souls in the Caribbean and with you as you dream tonight.
The team at Luxury Simplified.
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