My Sister and Me: It wasn’t Houston, but… (continued)

Continued from last week
Surely the worst was over, at least for that night. Due to someone cancelling a reservation, Delaine and I ended up with a motel room in Smithfield, N.C. Our plan was to get a good night’s sleep, eat a hot breakfast and, head home. But things did not go as planned.

The lights in our motel room flickered a few times, but eventually, we drifted off to sleep.
Early the next morning, we heard a commotion in the hallway. During the night, the motel lost power, and a lady got trapped in the elevator. Firefighters were rescuing her.

After the elevator incident, Delaine and I opted to use the stairs. All we wanted was a hot breakfast and a safe trip home. Because of the power outage, there were no hot grits, eggs and sausage. Instead we had cold cereal, juice and fruit. We were thankful.

Before leaving the motel around 9 a.m., we spoke to a local resident who told us that bodies had been discovered floating in the woods.

Getting back on the road, our bellies were full as was our gas tank. We thought we’d be home in about 3 hours, but we were wrong.

Traffic on I-95 South approached a bridge where we were diverted from the Interstate again. Water stubbornly refused to respect the rules of polite southern hospitality. Apparently, during the night, without an invitation, water showed up and showed out, snatching cars from the Interstate, leaving them bobbing in the water. All we could think was, “That could have been us!”

As we neared Lumberton, N.C, we saw signs advertising name brand gas and restaurants; however,
once we reached a gas station, not a drop of gas was available. The pumps weren’t working. And there was no water in the restrooms. We weren’t overly concerned about fuel since we had enough left in our tank to make it home.

Water lapped at the doors and hoods of cars and trucks in parking lots and on the highway. We were scared.

God was with us as we maneuvered totally unfamiliar backroads to get to Cheraw, N.C. where our cousins live. Using the GPS was frustrating because its directions did not factor in the detour signs and barricades that awaited us. The sunny, rainless day taunted us. The day was sunny and rainless, but danger lurked all around.

By late afternoon, we reached Marlboro County in South Carolina. Gas was available, but the lines were long, so we bypassed that madness and didn’t stop until we reached a McDonalds in Bennettsville, S.C. The drive-thru line wrapped around the building, so after darting in to use the restroom, we purchase a foot long sandwich from the Subway across the street.

Although we have close relatives in Cheraw, no one was home, so we got back on the road for the last leg of our trip home, arriving home 13 hours later,  at 10 p.m.

Never, will we underestimate the power and danger of flash floods. Eleven months passed before Delaine found the courage to look at the numerous pictures we took of the floods of October 2016.
There is no such thing as being over prepared for storms. You don’t have to be in the direct path of a hurricane or a tropical storm to be in peril from flash floods.
In just a few days, it will be October again. May God be with us all.

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