David Lauderdale

We ran from the hurricane, and now we wait

The dock at Palmetto Bay Marina was a tangled mess on Oct. 8, most of it torn away when Hurricane Matthew’s eyewall passed over Hilton Head Island.
The dock at Palmetto Bay Marina was a tangled mess on Oct. 8, most of it torn away when Hurricane Matthew’s eyewall passed over Hilton Head Island. rlurye@islandpacket.com

And now, we wait.

I left Hilton Head Island about 12 hours before Hurricane Matthew arrived Friday night.

It seemed as though dawn would never come at my mother’s house in rural Georgia, where a dainty breeze swooshed in the pecan trees.

We knew what was going on back home.

Or so we thought.

We weren’t there to hear balls of hail exploding in air, sounding like gunfire or fireworks.

Or to hear giant trees cracking, random limbs thudding to the ground, and rain pouring through holes jabbed in the roof.

I felt a twinge of guilt just shutting my eyes for sleep. But soon I’d check Facebook again to see what people were saying, what they knew. “Be safe” seemed to be the main message to those who chose to stay behind. Ha.

When dawn came, and then mid-day, and then mid-afternoon, no one we know of could even get into our neighborhood to see what happened to our home. We reared our kids there in the Crooked Pond neighborhood near Hilton Head Plantation’s front gate. Too many fallen trees and too much flooding kept people at bay.

And now, we wait.

We’ve left the island a number of times to outrun threatening hurricanes, since the wimpy Hurricane David in 1979. It’s always miserable and stressful.

But we’ve never dealt with one actually hitting us.

Maybe that’s why I made so many unforced errors, like leaving a car behind. You’d think I was a tourist, not someone who has poured his adult life into the beautiful but vulnerable island of Hilton Head.

And now, we wait.

It looks like it could take forever to cut all those trees out of the way.

And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?

I hope they know islanders will quickly turn from a sense of wonder to a surliness unmeasured by the problems we thought were problems, like the appropriate color of windsocks in a corridor overlay district.

How many times can we watch “Surveying Hilton Head Plantation by boat” on the Packet website before we explode?

How can there be enough workers on earth to repair all the damage Hurricane Matthew dumped on three states?

Our problems are stacking up like boats tossed from a marina.

Yet, didn’t we teach in Sunday school just last week that it makes no sense to worry? Especially over temporal junk? We all survived the hurricane, didn’t we? What did we say, “When you start to worry, stop to pray”?

But what about our home?

What about our livelihood?

We don’t know. We’re off in Georgia, swatting gnats in a heavy sun.

And we wait.

David Lauderdale: 843-706-8115, @ThatsLauderdale

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