3 months and 1 week. Seems a long time. We are usually only back with family in the north for that long and it flies by. However, for Long Island in the recovering/rebuilding stage it is just time.
“One day at a time is all we can do. Move forward and don’t look back” A statement we have heard many times over from locals who experienced that horrific storm.
Boaters were all busy at the dock when I arrived at our planned time. Bags and bags of relief items came off their boats via dingys. My van was stuffed full and another pick up truck had tools and people too.
Unloading clothes, toys and books for our priest in the south. He will know where the most need is now.
S/V Salty Turtle came into our bay with a v-berth filled of bags and bags of toys, books and clothes to donate. His story is amazing……Another boater friend of theirs heard of the devastation on Long Island after the hurricane and sent items to Salty Turtle.
Their son also was touched. He asked the children at his sons day care,” If you lost everything and could get just one toy what would it be?” Some of the donated toys came from that day care in Des Moines, Iowa! Children touching children.
Other toys, books and clothes came from a church in Athens, Ga, friends/family in Ashville N.C.and Tenn.
I heard a local say a few months back, “my daughter lost all her books. She is a reader and at 12 she is so sad not to have any books.” The things I take for granted……..
“I am just glad to have breath and stand here to talk with you”, said a woman in her 60’s as she stood in her barren kitchen that had been blown out by Hurricane Joaquin. Walls were gone as were cabinets and the cement island that stood in the center of the room. Only a dip in the floor was left as evidence it had been there at all.
How much force did it take to move that cement thru walls? It was the 15 ft. surge at high tide that moved cement walls as the family ran for their lives not remembering to get important papers.
“No time to think of anything but getting to higher ground.” She exclaimed waving her hands in the air towards the hills.
Her husband quietly shared, “I do one room at a time and when I get 3 boards up, I paint them so I can see more of the room come together. I only can do what I can do and I don’t worry about the rest. It’s all we can do to go on. It’s all good mon. It’s all good. We alive.”
I didn’t take pictures…..just couldn’t…..but this family was a joy to meet and chat with.
Destiny, a sail boat, brought tools with a story to go with them I loved…… A fellow sail boater they knew called in early Oct. to say, “My dad passed this spring and I am finally cleaning out his Fl. house. He has so many tools and I still have his farm in the north to do. If I get these tools to your marina before you cross to the Bahamas will you take them to Long Island for me?”
After Jimmie on Destiny contacted me I prayed, “Lord help me find the right person who could truly use these tools.” I began to ask around and knew in my heart when I heard their name the tools would be a blessing……
When we pulled into their yard I was shocked. I knew them as a hard working couple who had an adorable home raising their 2 kids. The place before me looked as if it had never been cared for at all and like no one ever lived there.
I greeted her with a hug and looking around I sighed. She said, “No Penny you can’t look around sad. If you do then it will be a domino effect and it will come to me. I can’t do that. We just keep on moving doing what we can. But you know us. We have jobs and we must work in order to make money to fix all this. No one is going to do it for us and we don’t expect anyone to. We just do what we can. We have gotten the roof done, a new stove, washer and air conditioner. Our fridge works on and off but that is next on the list. You know my yard. I do plants for a living. But I can’t even begin to tackle any of this.” , pointing to the trees laying all about as well as their dogs pen that was tangled up in all the bush. Her husband rebuilds boats. They had at least 15 boats in the front yard when the hurricane came. They secured them as they usually would and went for higher ground to ride out the storm.
She walked us around the yard sharing her tale……”On Sat. morning my husband went to check things out. I was scared and told him he was crazy. The winds were still blowing 70 at least, but the sun was finally out. He came running back and told us all we HAD to see this. We walked to the hill so we could see our house. The house, yard, highway and local stores near us were under 8 ft. of water. The sea was all up in our area where it had never been before. We stood in disbelief. This couldn’t be happening. Boats that we secured in the front of our yard had now been pushed in the way in the back. Many were over turned but some had floated and rested upright which was amazing. We had no idea the sea had surged up into not only our yard but our house. We couldn’t go home yet. We couldn’t go.”
It was hard to take pictures and they don’t show how devastated their place is. Her husband had a small container for a tool shed. It is laying on its side. When someone comes to borrow a tool from him he tells them laughing,” Yeah I have that but it is out in the bush. If you can find it you can use it.”
They were very thankful for the tools. Trust me, they will go to good use!
It was humbling to see and experience all we did that day. Long Islanders are strong. Not a grumbling or negative word was spoken by any we met. Many hugs, thank you and smiles though. We walked away with more than we came with.
My van became quite as we drove away from them. We needed to digest all we experienced and what better way than hang out under a big tree with a cold beer, then lunch afterward at a beautiful marina?
Our wonderful Fr. Adderly!
Beautiful view of Clarence Town from Fr. Adderly’s house!