ETA: It has now been raining solid since about 1AM. What’s left of Fay has changed direction, yet again, and is coming back over us. No real threat, just a LOT of rain. After three days, I feel waterlogged.
Well, after anticipating up to 10 inches of rain from Tropical Storm/Depression Fay, I’m happy to report that Mobile encountered a few stiff breezes and a few sprinkles, but nothing of the proportions that our neighbors in Florida experienced. Matter of fact, Fay is reported basically on top of us at this hour and the sun is shining brightly outside with the air as still as a statue.
We are no strangers to “storms”, as they are referred to along the Gulf Coast. I was a scant nine days old and just home from the hospital in 1964, when Hurricane Hilda came ashore just 35 miles south of where we lived. My father walked the fields in between our house and “the shop” at our family nursery farm every four hours to use a gas generator that could heat a hot plate and my formula. Before I was a year old, we took another direct hit from Hurricane Betsy, which would claim 58 lives.
In 1969, a 21 year old Mr. D, hisself, rode out the notorious Hurricane Camille in Pass Christian, Mississippi, just 200 yards off the beach. Miraculously, both he and his 68 year old grandfather survived to tell the tale of the worst “storm” of the 20th Century. With winds of 200 mph, Camille claimed a total of 172 lives, 78 in the sleepy little fishing village of Pass Christian. To this day, Mr. D solemnly tells stories of the indelible devastation and loss of Camille like it was yesterday, rather than nearly 40 years ago.
The years after the tumultous ’60s provided a respite from significant “storms” with the exception of a noted few, like Frederic in ’79 and Andrew in ’92. Mini-DD was 11 months old and was just starting to walk when Hurricane Andrew barreled through Florida, out into the Gulf of Mexico and made a second landfall in Mr. D’s hometown of New Iberia, LA. We were living in Baton Rouge at the time and the worst of Andrew, for us, was the NINE days without electricity and therefore, air conditioning…in August…in Louisiana.
When we moved to Memphis, TN, the hurricane gods were dormant and “storms” along the coast were virtually non-existent. In 2002, we moved to Mobile, and had only a few mild tropical storms until Hurricane Ivan came ashore just 45 miles southeast of us in Gulf Shores, AL in 2004, packing 120 mph winds. Just a year later, Hurricane Katrina threatened Mobile Bay, but jogged west at the last minute to spare the city from a direct hit. However, being on the “right” side is the wrong side, so Katrina’s “whip” provided quite a punch with incredible storm surges into the river basins and bays that dot the Mobile area.
Downtown Mobile during Katrina
“Storms” are a fact of life on the Gulf Coast. June to November are months of anxious apprehension with one eye on The Weather Channel and the other on sale papers for Lowe’s and Home Depot for batteries, lanterns and portable A/C units. There are “Goers” and “Stayers”. Goers generally head for the hills (literally) when even the faintest of winds begin to blow. Stayers batten down the hatches and hunker down, determined to “weather” whatever the storm may bring…plus, they can’t do 9-10 hours in a car on the Interstate with kids, pets, and no bathroom. We are steadfastedly in the Stayers camp. As we live on high ground and the primarily killer in storms is flood waters and the fact that Mr. D has survived three category 5 storms in his six decades, we choose to ride it out and take our chances. We simply load up on ice, gas, beer & wine, and plenty of batteries to power up the weather reports. For good measure, we burn a little of the Palm Sunday palm cross that I keep by the kitchen sink for added protection. And, of course we always have good tunes to help pass the anxious waiting.
So, with that in mind, here is the authentic Music Maven Hurricane Playlist:
Story Weather - Etta James
Hurricane Party - Cowboy Mouth
Wayward Wind - Patsy Cline
It Feels Like Rain - Aaron Neville
Against The Wind - Bob Seger
Shelter From the Storm – Bob Dylan
Tryin’ to Reason with Hurricane Season - Jimmy Buffett
Bring on the Rain - Jo Dee Messina
Lightning Strikes - Lou Christie
Like a Hurricane - Neil Young
Come Rain or Come Shine – Frank Sinatra
Too Much Rain - Paul McCartney
I Think It’s Going To Rain Today – Dusty Springfield
Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions
Who’ll Stop the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Ridin’ the Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
It’s Raining Again – Supertramp
Stormy Monday - Bobby “Blue” Bland
When the Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
Rain Song - Mosquitos
Storms – Fleetwood Mac