Life in the Slow Lane: It’s been a while, let me catch you up

Published 3:03 pm Friday, February 1, 2019

Wow, what a year! Over the past 12 months, we had a baby (Luna), acquired some chickens, survived hundred year floods, landslides, record-breaking snow and extended power outages. For most of us, life is back to normal but for others, life will never be the same. My griping seems so shallow when I think about those who lost homes and loved-ones in 2018.

This past weekend, as we were preparing to celebrate Luna’s first birthday, the power went off. Our oldest daughter immediately burst into inconsolable tears as she was instantly transported back to December when we lost power for four days. We live on a hill at the end of a gravel road. A large tree fell across our road blocking us into a dark and cold house for four days. Thankfully, we have a wood stove (the kind that insurance agents ask about before agreeing to insure your home). That wood stove and our gas grill kept us warm and fed. Who says you can’t have sausage and eggs for breakfast, lunch and supper?

While we pitied ourselves, we had friends and neighbors without running water and a secondary heat source. A few of them even stayed the night with us. Those were some long days and even longer nights as I was up every couple hours feeding the wood stove. No matter how rough that was for our tender little family, it was not that long ago when we had a devastating flood and landslide in our area which none of us will ever forget. (Flash back to May 2018)

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I remember it like it was last May. My daughter was wrapping up a final dress rehearsal for a dance recital in Saluda. My son and I were finishing pizza at the Wildflour Bakery with some friends when the bottom fell out of the sky. We rushed across the street to the car and grabbed my daughter for the short (we thought) ride home down the Saluda grade and back to Tryon. Within seconds of getting on I-26, I noticed headlights coming back at me on the shoulder. It was POURING rain, and hard to see anything. Before I had time to react, we were locked in standstill traffic with nowhere to go. One thing was also noticeable – the lack of traffic coming the other way on I-26. The interstate was closed both directions for hours we would later find out.

We spent the next five hours trying to get back home. At one point, I had my two young children and a Honda Odyssey mini-van in the grass on the shoulder of I-26 headed into oncoming traffic and inches of rushing water. I was not going to be stranded on that interstate with young kids, no water and a dying Nintendo Switch. Especially after witnessing a Toyota Corolla make the trip. After some progress and improving morale we come face-to-face with three 18-wheelers side-by-side blocking our final dash to the exit. I could literally see cars exiting behind them. (Insert another hour of sitting in traffic, this time while staring at headlights not taillights). Miraculously, the Nintendo switch was still working. My daughter was still crying. After a few more hours of navigating closed roads, flipped cars and torrential downpours we made it back to Tryon.

Words will never express how grateful I am to our first responders and all the volunteers who helped their neighbors get through a tough year. I hope 2019 is much less eventful for all of us.

The dance recital went great, thanks for asking.