Wrestling with the mad Russian

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2004

We all thought the Cold War was long over. Then came Ivan, the mad Russian. A lot of us left our homes and possessions behind last week trying to escape the diabolical clutches of, as it turned out, a most aptly named hurricane. Ivan made Opal look like a wimpy little girly-girl.

When I said goodnight to my husband last Wednesday, I wasn’t sure when I would see him again.

My mother and I were staying in town with his dad; he and the pets would hold the fort at the old farmhouse and ride out Ivan.

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Was it just me, or did the day the storm hit seem like an eternity? Maybe it was due to waking up so early after the power went out; maybe it was just nerves and that incessant wind that wouldn’t die down. Certainly worrying about my husband and our pets and wondering if there would still be a home to return to occupied part of the longest day.

When my husband finally called I was so relieved to hear all was well with him and the animals. Mama’s house hadn’t lost so much as a shingle and our mobile home was blessedly immobile and all in one piece – not even a leak.

Daddy’s old barn didn’t fare so well. We had been hoping for someone to come along who would tear it down and clean the site up for the good ol’ barn wood they would salvage. Now we just need someone to come and clean it up. Ivan took care of knocking it down.

We were relieved to learn my sister Sara, her husband and their dog had ridden out the storm safely in Prattville. Their new home in Foley proved to sustain only minor damages.

Of course, they still don’t know what they will find at their condo on Orange Beach (from what I understand, the beach is largely gone).

Still, my sister had everything in the right perspective when my mom talked to her last week: &uot;You know, houses and other things can always be replaced. The people and pets you love can’t be – and we have to be thankful we are all safe and OK.&uot;

On Friday, I saw many homes in Greenville and out in the county with trees in their roofs. I drove roads that were more or less obstacle courses (especially fun when you’re piloting your mom’s very large car).

But it could have been so much worse. We have no power and don’t know when we will get it back out in the boonies, but we have our homes and we have our lives.

And the good people of Florida have our deepest sympathies, for now that we have wrestled with the mad Russian, we’ve also walked just a little of the way in their shoes.

Angie Long is a Lifestyles writer and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. She may be contacted at home by phone at 382-5145.