The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Stay safe, Tallahassee, Apalachicola, Carrabelle, and St. Marks

hermineMy thoughts are with the folks who live in the Florida Panhandle as Hurricane Hermine ploughs into the lowland region. I grew up in Tallahassee, so I know what it’s like to wait, to see how many trees fall on the house, guess at how long the power will be out, and–if you live down along the coast, to wonder about the tidal surge and the flooding.

Bad weather was exciting when I was a kid watching the weather reports because I thought I would live forever, that our house would be among those spared, and that the flooding would happen far away. Now I see the tragedies and damage more clearly and, while hurricanes probably increase the ratings for the Weather Channel and the local news hour’s weather segment, I hate to see the loss and disruption to so many lives.

welcometofloridaI haven’t been in Tallahassee since the late 1980s when my father died a year after my mother died, and we packed up and sold the house. Hurricane Ivan actually made it through the panhandle up into north Georgia where I live now, but otherwise we see little from most tropical storms and hurricanes here just south of the Tennessee border. We often see rain that turns the tables on our droughts, and we welcome that, and cross our fingers about the hardships along the gulf and Atlantic coasts.

Several years ago when a couple of hurricanes crisscrossed near Orlando, somebody created a fake “Welcome to Florida” postcard showing mostly a giant hurricane swirl of clouds covering the state. My Florida friends posted this on their Facebook pages once the power came back on and they were sure they and their houses had survived. Gallows humor–and yes, we laughed at it even though we shouldn’t have.

Folks outside of the state–with the exception of people in Georgia and Alabama–know little about Florida’s so-called Forgotten Coast. There are nice beaches there, some great seafood places, and a favorite swamp of mine named Tate’s Hell. Most tourists head down into the peninsula which those of is who lived along the Gulf Coast thought had already been over-developed beyond repair. Unfortunately, an occasional hurricane or tropical storm remembers the Forgotten Coast and brings chaos, costs and other havoc to those who live there.

Y’all stay safe and make sure you have plenty of milk, bread, eggs, beer, candles and maybe a boat.

–Malcolm

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