As I sit in front of the TV watching Irma gain strength, I wonder…..is this the storm that will devastate Florida? Should we evacuate? Stay? What can I do to help keep Mr B and my furbabies safe? If you live in any of the coastal states, you probably already have your hurricane emergency kit ready, or are getting one ready now if you live in Florida. After watching both Katrina and Harvey decimate Louisiana and Texas, I’m not sure having extra batteries and water is enough. Prayers are needed, friends, big prayers.
So I asked myself.….if I were told to get out NOW and could only bring one bag with me, what would be in that bag? How about if I had a few hours and could pack my car? What would I take? What is really important to me??
Mr B and my dogs go without mention, but I mention them anyway, if only to say, there is nothing else worth saving. So I could leave my home behind me and leave with them and feel fortunate. But after the initial happy-to-be-alive thoughts filter through my mind and into my heart…..what then? Would I miss my things? Which things? And that led to my What If List, the list of things important enough to be considered if I were to evacuate and could take the car.
Would I take my toy box? The one that’s as old as I am? The one that my son also used as a young boy? How about my Grandmother’s cedar chest, her dishes? My mother’s clock? Mr B’s baby shoes? What about my Grandmother’s Christmas angel?
So, what made the cut???
The statue that my Grandpa gave my Grams on one of their anniversaries. The shaving mug and brush that belonged to my Gramps. Grams kept it and now I do too, to honor the tall, thin man who helped raise me. The hobnail glass bowls that belonged to my Grams, the ones that hold small shells and acorns throughout the change of seasons. The jewelry that Mr B and my kids have purchased for me over the years. The Christmas angel that graced every tree I can remember until I married.
A few photographs of my ancestors. Those tintypes are precious to me. They tell my story. Some of my oldest son’s baby photos and early pictures of my daughter, Darby, and second son, Scott and my two granddaughters, Shelby and Shayla before the age of digital. And yes, Mr B’s baby shoes.
An autographed copy of a John Sanford book. My autographed CD by Home Free, and if there’s room, my hardbacks by Diana Gabaldon. Two glass jars from an Indiana bottling company and my grain and feed sacks which can be folded up and not take up space. They’ll be the first to be jettisoned however.
These things would be packed in the cedar chest. There won’t be room for my toy box unless we take both cars. I will miss that toy box but I have a photo of myself standing beside it when I was about 3, complete with the world’s worst hairdo.
What about Mr B? What would be on his list? His Grandfather’s violin? The photo of that Grandfather’s firehouse? His guitar? His golf clubs? I need to ask, for I truly don’t know if there is anything he would want to take with us. He doesn’t have the same emotional attachment to things that I do, I’m betting he’ll say; besides me, and maybe the dogs, there isn’t anything else worth taking.
So I look at my list and realize, there isn’t much there. After a life of almost 70 years, I can pack what’s most important in my car. It’s was an AHA moment. I realize (and if I were brutally honest with myself, I’ve always known) that all this stuff I’ve acquired….. it’s just stuff, mostly unimportant and replaceable. Nothing is more important than the lives of those I love. I’ll make room in the car for those people. Toy box and cedar chest be damned.
I hope, with all of my heart, that Irma passes us by. And fizzles out harmlessly so that no one else must decide what goes in that one bag, or what will fit in the back of the car, that no animals are left behind, that no families are lost. That no lives are taken by Mother Nature. The earth will renew itself given time. But the loss of loved ones? There’s no coming back from that.
In the meantime, we have batteries and water, important papers in ziplock bags, and oil lamps to light our home when the power goes out. The power always goes out. In the heat and humidity, no fans, no a/c, nothing but me and a paper fan on a stick. I’m ready. Mr B answered when asked; “Nothing except you and the dogs.” “There’s not one thing in the house that cannot be replaced, except you.” Gotta love that man.
I have everything I need. Mr B right here, beside me, my doggies curled up in my lap……in my sanctuary. Stay safe, wherever you are. Thoughts are with everyone in Montana and California, in Texas and Louisiana, and all those who are certainly in Irma’s path.