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TideWriters Tales
Special Section~Isabel 2003
Eighteen Hours of Uncertainty
By Rev. Ron Jones

     The forecast was ominous and yet it was important to exude an attitude of calmness. A quick trip to mail a few bills and make one last visit to Eubank and Son General Merchandise to get flashlight bulbs gave some assurance that we were ready for “the blow” of Hurricane Isabel.

     This would be our first experience of such a storm and my wife, Lois, was more than a little apprehensive. Still we made the decision to ride it our in our double wide manufactured home. Only three large oaks we saved when clearing the property nearly three years ago gave us some concern that they might come down on the house.

     All through the late morning we made numerous trips to the doors to see how the fury of the winds were affecting our decorative plantings. As the winds whipped up and drove what little rain we got into alternating periods of near zero visibility and relative calms, I snapped pictures so I would remember the moments.

     Our electric power dimmed and recovered several times and finally flickered off at 2:08 p.m. for nearly 123 hours at our house. Fortunately, because we are on a community water system, we were never without fresh water. Our generous community leader used his generator to keep the pressure high enough to supply all eleven homes on the system.

     The evening passed uneventfully as we read and worked puzzles by hurricane lamps. We turned in by 9 p.m. and listen to our “mission radio”, a device powered by sunlight on sunny days and a windup handle at other times.

     At about 2 a.m. I awoke to hear what sounded like a jet plane attempting to land in our front yard. It was apparently a tornado passing through. On Friday morning it was obvious what damage that part of the storm had caused. As I went outside to survey any damage I was relieved to see that the only major loss was the top 30 feet of the oak that stood farthest from our house.

     Lois’ comical remark following the storm was “When I awoke and didn’t see blue sky over my bed, I knew we had survived.” We also were so reassured that all through the event our house never so much as quivered. Those anchors certainly did their job. We are very thankful that we emerged unscathed.

© 2003 Rev. Ron Jones. All rights reserved. 

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