Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

In all of our years of being on the road hurricanes never crossed our path.  Seems like this is our year to experience them! We had just  encountered Hurricane Hermine in September and in the past week we had some interesting experiences with events pertaining to Hurricane Matthew.
 My brother Glenn passed September 16th.  This was a brother estranged from the family for about 40 years.  When my sister Gloria suggested that we meet her in Columbia, South Carolina to pick up his effects from the coroner, as well to meet Glenn's roommate, at first I thought the idea a bit ridiculous.  After considering it further, I concluded that I would like to get a glimpse into Glenn's life which he had kept hidden from us.  I think that John was ready for a road trip, he readily agreed to go.  And it so happened that the week which we had planned for our trip was the time when Hurricane Matthew was going to strike the coastal areas of the southeast!  We left last Thursday, thinking we would miss the storm as it was to arrive on the eastern coast of north Florida Friday afternoon.
Our trip of 500 miles, which should have taken about 9- 10 hours, instead took about 14 hours because of the hurricane.  Getting out of Florida was even a issue.  In the town of Brooksville it was slow going as a road was blocked  due to the fact that a corvette had run under a bus.  Fortunately no one was injured.  In southern Georgia we encountered more traffic jams-people were leaving the coastal areas (as Savannah).  Most fortunately many cars were going southwest, and we were going  the opposite direction.  We had planned to take interstate 95 but, fearing it would be congested, we took back country roads through Georgia.   That was very slow going as they were only two lane roads.  Stopping for gas took time also as there were long lines at the pumps.  In the larger towns we saw signs posted that all motels were full.  Thankfully we had motel reservations in Columbia- if only we could get there!  Later in the day we noticed police cars gathered along the evacuation routes and convoys of utility trucks.   Highway lanes into Columbia had been changed- going only in one direction into the city and away from the coast.  Such changes made it quite difficult to get to our motel, we wandered for awhile before discovering that the road to our motel was open - highway signs indicated wrongly that the ramp was closed! 
We made it finally to our motel, quite late.  On Friday Columbia had some wind and rain.  The Congaree River (pictured above) was close to flooding its banks.  Strong winds brought down large trees in the area, but that was the worse which the city experienced.  Our motel was filled with people who had fled the coastal towns of Charleston as well as Hilton Head, South Carolina.
 We had been told by the coroner of Lexington County that schools, and businesses would be closed on Friday because of the impending storm.  We took a chance anyway and were very fortunate to find her in her office.  She told us what she knew when she arrived at Glenn's house to pick up his body
(he had died a natural death from cancer).  She had met a neighbor as well as Glenn's roommate.
Later that day we drove to Glenn's house, pictured above.  His roommate is standing outside the building.  Over the years we corresponded with Glenn by mail and he shared all he had learned about our lives with Dave.  We were quite surprised how much he knew about us!  Despite Hurricane Matthew we had a wonderful time in West Columbia learning about our brother Glenn.  With Dave we visited restaurants which he and Glenn frequented.  We met waitresses who were willing to talk with us about our brother, as well as other people who knew him.   Fortunately Dave had a shoe box of Polaroids taken by Glenn over the years which he passed on to us, they also have provided us with snippets of Glenn's life over the years when he refused to see us.

No comments:

Post a Comment