Updated: Jun 24, 2020
It was August 1992 and Hurricane Andrew was on his way to South Florida. We had invited my parents to leave their North Miami Beach home and stay with us in Kendall to be safe and weather the storm together with the family. With tepid enthusiasm, they agreed and arrived with a few days’ worth of clothing and, of course, a plentitude of food for our fridge, which reminded me that hurricanes are often accompanied by loss of electrical power. Another point here is that my dad was then…I could say dying of cancer or I could say undergoing chemotherapy; either way, he was not at his strongest or in his most comfortable condition. Although we assigned them the sleeper sofa in the living room, my dad often grew weary in the daytime so he napped in our king size bed. Now I look back and wonder why we did not give them—elderly, stressed, and ill—our bedroom. It would have certainly been an act of kindness. So now our house had 9 inhabitants: 2 grandparents, 2 parents, 2 teen-aged sons, and 3 small dogs. We were full. My mother alternated between worrying about how their house would survive the storm and declaring that it was not really necessary for them to be here.
The boys were happy to have Grandma and Grandpa on the premises, and my husband, with intermittent help from our sons, concerned himself with hurricane preparedness—stockpiling water and batteries, bringing in patio furniture, and putting up storm shutters. I kept an eye on my dad, chatted with my mom, and planned the meals for us, trying to use up the more perishable items first.
We kept storm vigil at radio and TV and repeatedly discussed the updates with each other. Hurricane Andrew arrived, devastating Homestead, and doing fragmented but only moderate damage to Kendall. On our street, our neighbors’ trees survived the battering winds and rain, remaining upright, but the majestic ones in our front yard were all pummeled right into our driveway… across our two vehicles and my parents’ car, thoroughly smashing their windshield. Now my mother had plenty to say about how they should have stayed home, reflecting that they and their car would have been perfectly safe there.
A few days later, following a visit from amiable neighbors who helped my husband and sons lift the trees from the driveway, my mom drove back to North Miami Beach with, at my hard urging, some of the remaining food. My dad was tucked comfortably across the back seat, stretched out amidst quilt and pillows. She drove very carefully, painfully conscious of her windshield-less state.I worried about that too, but, fortunately they made the 45 minutes drive home, safely. We recovered, and Hurricane Andrew took his place in history and in our memories, and we all moved forward with our lives.
Have you any hurricane memories? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment. Now that hurricane season is almost here, how about writing a hurricane poem? #poetry #poetryworld #poetrycommunity #WritersLift