Dennis alarms, neighbors are neighborly
Hurricanes - they're scary and the waiting is torture. Will it hit and how hard? Should I evacuate and if so, where? What do I take, when can I come back home, and if I can't get back what do I do? What kind of supplies do I need to get? So many questions and so many answers - all boiling down to a near hit and miss this time around with Dennis, the so-called menace.
Brewton was "lucky," comparable to when Ivan hit. I wasn't here. Instead, I was in Gulf Shores reporting on the hurricane and its devastation on the beach municipality, wading through knee-high water and dodging escaped animals from the zoo, watching as civilians slowly made their way back to the island - only to find utter and complete destruction, misery and tears flowing from their eyes.
The optimists say it could've been worse in Brewton, and I believe they're right. You can only think optimistically during a time like this.
But what about the people who did suffer major damage? I think it takes tremendous strength for those who suffer any kind of damage and can carry on with their lives, but it also takes a little help from a neighbor or friend to come through in a time of real need.
Coming back from a fire on Appleton Road, Lydia Grimes and I approached a woman in her driveway. She was talking to a friend of hers and pointed to a tree felled by Dennis. Although she had evacuated during the hurricane, this woman stayed inside her home Sunday night, tree on the roof, no electricity, no phone, no ice and minimal food. As we drove away, we saw her gingerly walking down her steps with a large fern in her hands, placing it back in its regular spot. A friend of hers was checking in, making sure she was OK.
When former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge visited the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Ivan, he said, "What a great community - neighbors helping neighbors."
That's what small communities are all about. While some were busy sharing their generators, others could be seen ripping apart a tree with a chainsaw, or offering a warm shower for those still without power.
Patience is urged. Power companies are doing their best to restore power. Be mindful of those who are slower in the clean-up process.
Congratulations is needed for the speedy recovery and timely responses so far by emergency crews. I think it gives the people in this town a sense of satisfaction and security to know that there are people out there determined to get us through - thick and thin.
So here's to Emily, the next storm brewing out there. We're ready for you.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the Managing editor of the Brewton Standard. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 25.867.4876.t along the beach road. While the Chamber of Commerce was handing out positive reports, locals were surprised and relieved at the small amount of traffic the weekend brought in. Some even said that during the week there is typically more traffic.
Traffic or no traffic, I like being stuck in the middle of it all.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the Managing editor of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 25.867.4876.