Readers Remember: Last Year’s Irma-Cane


Thanks to all who entered our Hurricane Irma contest. The following are excerpts from our top three entrees as selected by our panel of judges. (Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.)

Lydia and Darren Wagner at a Florida Welcome Center, one week before Irma’s arrival.

From “Irma Welcomed Us to Florida
By Lydia Wagner, Sarasota

On Sept. 3, 2017, after traveling over 3,100 miles from the state of Washington, my husband and I and our beloved pets arrived in Florida to begin the next chapter of our lives. Little did we know Hurricane Irma would greet us at the front door.
After an exhausting 10-day cross-country trek, we began to unpack the rental truck in the 100-degree heat. News of Hurricane Irma dominated the air waves. We hoped to wait out the storm in our vacation rental, a 10-minute walk from the beach, but as Irma barreled toward Florida, we decided instead to shelter
with our pets in a middle school.
On Sept. 10–one week from our arrival to the Sunshine State–Irma came calling.
The following day we were back in our vacation rental, without electricity, but with water, sunshine, blue skies, and our unwavering spirits.
Welcome to Florida!

From “Lessons from Irma
By George Rezac, Lakeland

1. When the power is out, nothing, and I mean nothing, in
your house will work–except maybe the manual can
opener which you donated to Goodwill last year.
2. During an outage, no matter how many times you walk
into a room and flip a wall switch, the light will NOT come on.
3. All carefully-stored batteries will provide exactly six seconds of
power before they fail permanently.
4. Grocery stores will run out of every necessary items on their
shelves, even if those items haven’t been needed by customers in
the past five years.
5. Ten-pound dogs, taken outside during the height of a hurricane,
will learn to fly at the end of their leash.

From “Love Was in the Air
By Grace Berardi, Largo

In the early morning hours, after all the driving rain and
wind, most of the condo residents came out to see the
aftermath of Irma. We knocked on doors and asked: “Are
you all right?”
Without electricity for 6 days, we looked out for each other, sharing
food, ice, conversation, news and most of all support.
Together we were strong and not alone. Love was in the air.


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