Thoughts from the (boiled) peanut gallery

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hurricane To-Do List

  • Take down the hanging ferns — check.
  • Close the umbrellas on the deck and lay them down — check.
  • Make sure plastic pots in my plant potting spot will blow away — check.
  • Put the scarecrow and other assorted fall decorations inside — check.
  • Tell my cats and dogs to prepare their safe place for occupation — check.
  • Boil the peanuts I bought to eat them while I watch the weather — check.
  • Pat myself on back for purchasing a whole house generator — check.
  • Write column and email it in case the internet is down …


It is Sunday afternoon and Hurricane Irma is churning its way up the west side of Florida. The forecast says the winds around here might be a bit fierce, so my husband and I spent the last hour securing the premises.

For several days, the talk most anywhere you went centered on this storm and where it was going to land. I heard lots of speculation and more than a little anxiety in these conversations.

Almost everyone I know has a hurricane story. There are tales of downed trees, missing roofing shingles and days without electricity. A few even shared creative ways to bathe when you don’t have running water.

True, living through hurricanes is not a new thing to folks around here, but the experience is something you never get used nor want to have. That is why we worry about our neighbors in south Florida who will catch the brunt of this monster storm.

My own earliest memory of a storm like this one happened when I was three maybe four and living in Florala. I don’t know what hurricane it was, but I remember sleeping on the hall floor on a bed made from folded blankets.

I think my parents did this to keep the kids in one place near them during the night when the wind howled outside. The other memory I have of that event is wind slamming the heavy front door on my fingers. I still have a scar that is now more than 60-years-old.

Looking back, I marvel at how we survived hurricanes in the days before Doppler radar, the weather channel and social media. And, I cannot imagine what it was like way back in time when there was no radio, no television and no warning before a storm hit.

Today, I went into town to replenish my supply of dog and cat food. Everywhere I went I saw cars and campers with Florida tags. Walking down one of the aisles, I heard a man on a cell phone describing the place he was staying to ride out the storm. It was good to hear him say what a nice place Andalusia is and how friendly folks are here.

In the checkout, I heard two couples talking. They were from South Florida. One person said she knew her house was probably going to flood. The other was worried about her daughter who didn’t evacuate. The lady checking them out said she would pray everything turned out fine for them. They thanked her as they left.

On social media, I saw posts from people offering evacuees places to stay, and places to keep their animals. We know what its like feel displaced because of a hurricane and we want to help.

As I drove home seeing more Florida tags, I thought that when an emergency comes and people need help, Americans forget politics, religion or anything else that divides us. We simple become humans caring about the wellbeing of other humans.

I hope when you read this, the storm is long gone and left little damage around here. I also hope evacuees are on their way home, knowing we will not forget them as go back to the possibility of damaged homes.

Well, I’ve almost completed my Hurricane To-Do List. Only thing left to do is email this column and to see how many boiled peanuts I can eat.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.