My Six-Week Hurrication During Hurricane Rita
I have lived in the South my whole life and have never evacuated for a hurricane until September 2005. Chad, my hubby, was active duty Coast Guard at the time, and we received evacuation orders to evacuate the afternoon of September 21; we left bright and early the morning of September 22nd to beat the major mandatory evacuation being issue by Calcasieu Parish that afternoon.
Our first destination was Stuttgart, Arkansas, which I now know to be the duck capital of the world, and nothing else. Arriving at the motel, we learned the pool was drained for repairs...but they had a Walmart, a mexican restaurant, and it was NOT a dry county (we were able to purchase beer). I figured, if I had to be stuck in a small town I would at least have a couple of beers while waiting for the storm to pass. I knew it was a huge storm, but I still thought we would be home within a couple of days.
After the storm hit, Chad returned to Lake Charles with the Coast Guard, and my daughter Shelby, my friend Jill and her two kids...along with 3 dogs and 1 cat, moved to Vicksburg, MS which turned out to be a six-week Hurrication. We all made the most of it, shopping at the Gap outlet, eating at least two meals a day at the Cracker Barrel near our hotel, trekking to the local Coca-Cola Museum, and visiting the Doll Museum downtown. Which, was actually very scary-freaky with all the dolls just sitting on the shelves, staring at us with their doll eyes.
All in all, my Hurrication was one I would never forget. I was blessed to have a house intact when I returned home, where many weren't as lucky. And, I had some wonderful memories that will last me a lifetime. Would I want to do it again? NOPE, but.... the love of my home, community, and family taught a valuable lesson: things can be replaced, but family cannot.