By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
The current threat of Hurricane Matthew to our eastern coast has reminded many of us of the damage suffered from Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Hugo was a category 4 hurricane when it came ashore just north of Charleston, South Carolina on September 22nd. There were 35 people killed and damage was in the $10 Billion range. It was the costliest hurricane to date for the U.S.
Having a friend working the damage as an insurance adjuster I was receiving photos and information of the damage on a regular basis. It was overwhelming thinking what the people were going through. He shared the hardships and the progress as it happened. He had spoken of the difference in the damage to homes and property on the west side versus the east side of the eye. The east side, the strong side of the hurricane, brought great destruction. The west side was less.
One lady was fortunate she was on the west side and seemed to be spared the devastation others suffered. She was farther from the center of the storm and thus was able to have easier access to supplies needed for survival and rebuilding. Within weeks she had her home repaired and back to normal. It was at this point she wanted to get away and relax. So she decided to visit her sister in California.
Her sister lived near Santa Cruz on the edge of the Forest of Nisese Marks State Park. It is a beautiful area and a great place to just relax and enjoy a visit with her sister. While there sitting on her sister’s deck, she was included in another of our country’s great natural disasters. On October 17th at 5:04 pm the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. This is the earthquake better known as the “World Series Earthquake” disrupting the 1989 Series at Candlestick Park. The State Park and her sister’s home were in the epicenter of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake. She had gone from one disaster to another.
I personally do not believe in bad luck or good luck.
I believe we are where we are for a reason and a purpose. The reason you are somewhere may be simple. Your job took you there, you are on vacation there or as this lady did you are seeking comfort and relaxation with your family after a major event in your life. The purpose you are there is for you to determine. Her purpose may be to comfort and console her sister. Having just gone through such an event she will know what she is feeling, what to expect and what to do. But that is my view. Fortunately as writers we can not only write what our beliefs are but we can write from a viewpoint of any belief. So for me “bad luck” is not out of bounds.
We all know of people, or we may be such a person, that has suffered multiple disasters, losses or runs of bad luck. Take their story and run with it. Everyone wants to hear how we are fortunate compared to others situations and we should count our blessings. And while counting your blessings be mindful of others and the tragedies they are suffering today.