Concerned about how him and his community had endured Hurricane Matthew, I dashed off an email to an old buddy nearer the coast late last week inquiring as to their well being. His reply:
Well, well, well…long time, no hear from you, Big City. But glad ya checkin’ in…heard it was right rough up your way.
We had it pretty bad down here ourselves. Had a few of them long, tall pines come down, a couple right onto the residence…one clipped off the front end of the double-wide and the other turned the master bedroom into a duplex. Good thing Uncle Rochelle was drunk on the couch. Again.
We also had some outdoor issues as the patio furniture and Rochelle’s shed were blown clear across the road, but Rochelle says that’s OK cause he thinks the table and chairs look better over there anyway, and now he don’t have to clean out that shed. That Rochelle, always proving he’s the smart one in the bunch.
All in all, we were doing OK, we even got our power back after a couple days…but as soon as they shot the juice thru the lines we heard some crackling and popping and such back where the tree had crashed thru, which had forced Rochelle to do a little re-wiring, and, before we knew it, all the outlet covers started to melt and the back room erupted into flames. Guess the moral of the story is to always use certified, not satisfied, electricians.
And things got even worse when “Bandit,” Little Earl’s pet raccoon, got loose in all the excitement and confusion of the fire trucks arriving to spray down the smoldering embers of our home, and ended up getting runned over by a tanker truck.
Life comes with it’s ups and downs, don’t it?
But man did the Possum Splatter community ever come together! With so many trees down, we knew that we’d be out of power for quite a while so we all decided to have a feast rather than have those good groceries spoil and go to waste.
LaVerda Freeman over at the Slick Spoon Diner and U Pump Gas station set about cooking fresh possum pot pies for all the emergency personnel and her daughter, LaSheika, and her roommate, Twilla, the Dog-Faced Girl, even broke away from their carnival jobs and prepping for the Gulf Coast swing to help in the kitchen and deliver pies to hungry utility workers.
Even Bartholomew J.”Weasel” Wilson, owner/operator of the Snakepit Bar and Stockyard Grill and Farm Supply got into the act, taking his big grill over to the Possum Splatter Consolidated K-12 School facility and donating the contents of his entire freezer for use to feed anyone in need of a meal. And once they got past Rochelle causing a flash fire and burning all the hair off his face trying to light the thing, turning a Fu Manchu into a Hitler mustache and leaving him without eyebrows in the process, ol’ “Moonie” did pretty good, cooking up a few hundred MuleBurgers for the grownups and a thousand or so hot dogs for the kiddies.
Same can be said of the kind folks over at the West Branch Community Sword of Joshua Burning Bush Gospel Tabernacle and Baptist Assembly who not only kept a pot of squirrel stew on throughout, but also helped those without, providing clothing for the needy. They even gave Rochelle a Members Only jacket, thinking he was a refugee. Bless their hearts.
Anyway, since we’re homeless, so to speak, at present, we’ve all moved out back here to the houseboat that Rochelle ran full throttle up into Sparkleberry Swamp a few years ago and crushed the front ends of both pontoons, You remember, that Fourth of July, the time he was thrown thru the railing and got all his teeth knocked out. All ten of them. Yep, that boat…”La Casa de Boata,” is home sweet home, at least until the insurance man cuts a check.
It’s crowded, for sure, with me and Little Earl and Leon, who’s nursing a hernia from chasing hogs what got loose during the storm, and his girlfriend Edwina Johnson (don’t think you’ve met her; daughter of Eddie “Hump” and Topaz Johnson; BIG girl…drank a half bottle of her mama’s “Dynasty” perfume when she was ten and blowed out her thyroid; up to 285 pounds now) and, occasionally, Rochelle, although he prefers to spend most of his days in a deer stand and living off MREs. Personally, I don’t think he’s quite comfortable yet with so many law enforcement people being around so often; they ain’t always exactly had a friendly relationship.
But, Lord, I don’t know what we’d done down here without them and the American Red Cross and the South Carolina National Guard and all the other law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel and first responder emergency folks, and church and civic groups and individuals who stepped up to help another human in a time of need.
We was sure battered. But we sure was blessed.
Looka here, gotta go, Marilyn just called from the One Stop and says Little Earl has got his arm stuck up the soda machine—again—trying to snag a pop and I need to get over there and spray him down with Pam and spring him free before Snapper catches him, so let me run.
We live in a magical world, at an infinitely magical time, Big City. Don’t miss out. Make the magic happen every chance you get. Write again soon.
THANK YOU to everyone who helped ANYONE in Marlboro County during the storms of Matthew. We are our brother’s keeper, and I am proudly among my brothers when I am with you. – GB