Now that Hurricane Tomas is no threat to anyone anymore, praise God, it reminded me of what we went through with Hurricane Wilma back in 2005. Living in Florida, we are blessed to have hurricane warnings to prepare for the worst. Living through some of what we thought to be bad ones, we had no idea just how bad it can be. It was our eighteenth wedding anniversary and we all were watching Hurricane Wilma approaching Florida. We had the shutters up and plenty of candles, water and can goods at the ready. Gas in the grill and a ton of batteries for the flash lights. Eight Oh three am. The house starts rumbling and the windows and back glass door start shaking. We are watching the television when I said, “can’t believe we haven’t lost power yet!” You guessed it, the next minute, lights out. That would be the start of twenty one days without power. You have no idea until it happens to you how much you depend on electricity. This was the start of the most unusual anniversary ever. Looking for the positive side of things, we got to know our neighbors so well, as who wants to stay in a dark house and do nothing. The kids were playing outside and out came the grills. Having to use up all that was in the freezer, we ate like kings! I made my ribs, next door made the best pork loin, the other neighbor made hot wings and so the marathon eating began! I would make pancakes in the morning on the grill and the neighborhood kids would come over and I set up a table and chairs for them to sit and eat. I made every kind of pancakes known to man. Chocolate chip, spice pancakes, blueberry, you name it, I made it. Then it wasn’t really “fun” anymore.
Laundry started to pile up and when the roads finally became clear, a week or so later, I loaded up the kids to find a coin Laundromat to do our clothes. I think I had close to six large garbage bags to wash. We went to the first place I knew and of course, it was packed with people in the same situation. I got the kids to each try to carry a bag or two and we ventured in. Unfortunately, we were greeted with this woman literally stretching out her arms over some five washing machines, stating that these were hers! Are you nuts? I was so tired and I’m sure I smelled and was not looking pretty at this point when I said, “move over honey, I got laundry to do!” She said “no.” God bless my kids who didn’t want momma to start fighting with this woman and my oldest said for us to just go. I was too tired to fight so we left. Found another one close by, a much smaller one but at least the people were friendlier. I started to put my laundry in the washing machine when I noticed this man watching me. Didn’t think anything of it. I then was putting some of the laundry in the dryer when some fell on the floor and you would have thought that I just lost my best friend when the tears started down my face. I was trying not to sob hysterically out loud because I didn’t want to embarrass my kids. I’m sure it was all the stress by now catching up to me. Right in front of me is that man that was staring at me before. He started to help me put my clothes in the dryer and was so kind and told me everything was going to be ok. Patted me on the back and told me that God has it under control and things will get better soon. He just knew the right things to say! I thought, who is this guy? I looked down to see he had a “badge” on that said “Salvation Army” volunteer. I almost screamed saying “oh my gosh, they teach you how to deal with crazies like me - don’t they!?” He laughed and who cares the who or why, he was my angel that day. I wish I would have taken his name or number to thank him weeks later when everything did turn up ok. You see, you never know the angel who is right in front of you! They really do come in all shapes and sizes! Ton o’ blessings to you until next time!