One of my most vivid memories was Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Hazel caused much damage up and down the East Coast and our home in Tidewater Virginia took a pretty strong hit. I remember being fearful but also excited the day before as we walked down to the harbor and saw five to seven foot waves roll in where normally there were ripples.
I also remember arising early the next morning as the storm drew close with my mom telling us to come downstairs. She wanted us closer to the basement and away from the windows. She was listening to a portable radio for the news. We had a quick bite to eat as the winds increased.
My dad drove up after early morning hospital rounds (he was a doctor) and as he came in the back door we heard the wind pick up and there was a loud thud. A large limb had come down from the cottonwood tree by the garage and put a hole in the roof and damaged his new car. Had it fallen a few moments earlier he would have been in the way.
As the winds increased, the double bolted back door started to slightly give. A crack in the frame could be seen. Dad and my older brother pushed the large refrigerator up against it and it was secured. The wind kept up for several hours and on occasion we could hear the house creak eerily but in the end it held up well. And after about another hour the winds had dropped to no more than 25 mph. With parental supervision, we were allowed to go outside and survey the scene.
Once outside, we were absolutely amazed at what we saw. The large cottonwood had two or three huge limbs missing, falling into a pile in the yard resembling a nature built fortress. And the large vacant lot next door, normally surrounding a small tidal creek, was now a full scale lake. We couldn't wait to get our two man canoe afloat.
The street in front of our house was a mess. Tree limbs and several power lines were down due to broken power poles. We had to be careful and stay away from the wires. And while the damage was significant, to a young boy of seven it represented an adventure and, best of all, there would be no school for several days.
We were very fortunate. Aside from damage to the garage roof and the dents in the car roof, which were not major, we escaped with the cracked back door frame, some missing roof shingles, and one broken gutter section. The biggest problem was the lack of electricity for two days but we had prepared and had the grill going and plenty of ice in two large coolers. The neighbors all pooled resources and we had a large cookout.
I'm sure my parents didn't see it the same way but for a kid it was kind of neat. Now that I am older and have been through many hurricanes, I certainly don't look forward to them. The inconvenience of no power and no water is not fun, but we do prepare and handle what God brings us. But I do have interesting memories of them as a boy and I guess they are just part of learning from experience.
I'll pray for the rest of the hurricane season that we are spared and just continue to go on with life as normal until necessity requires something different. And there is one really good thing about them and it is something that we all need to remember: God is in charge of our world; He has the power to do what He wants with it and with us. Always remember that and prepare for the day when you will be judged individually for how you lived and what you believed. For as sure as Florida will sooner or later be impacted by a severe hurricane, God will be calling us to judgment. Be prepared and the glory will be yours.
God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend.