Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
Someone please kick me in the shin.
For some reason, I yearn to live where the water is open, and the ocean breeze is mesmerizing. In the last 15 years I have spent more time following this dream than any other. Apparently a hurricane named Irma had the same path in mind.
It was just two years ago at this time I had an extended stay on the U.S. Virgin Islands- St. John to be exact. My mission was to purchase the island newspaper and find decent living quarters on the island of 5000 residents, so that I could visit their monthly.
Irma, as a category 5 hurricane visited there this past weekend. Unlike me who was going to attempt to build commerce, she tore it down, destroying a third of the island’s homes and businesses. Circumstances steered me away from that business deal, and now two years later with the island in shambles, I can be thankful for my good fortune.
It was almost 15 years ago that I was negotiating to purchase a weekly newspaper on Key West. At the time I was a Floridian and enthralled with the business opportunities in the Keys. This was the perfect opportunity, so I thought, to re-locate to what I considered an idyllic situation. Circumstances however, made me back out of the deal.
Irma, still as a category 5, roared her way through the lower keys a few days ago, and pretty much decimated the low-lying string of islands. The businesses along with my newspaper- if I had purchased it, would have been wiped out. Again, good fortune came my way as I didn’t re-locate to what Irma destroyed.
For ten years I lived all or part of the time in Florida. I hunkered down when two hurricanes destroyed parts of my houses, my new boat, and my dock. I know the damage even a category 1 hurricane can do. Cripes I moved in to a new house on the water, and within six months a hurricane passed taking half of my roof with it.
Finally nine years ago I had had enough. It wasn’t a hurricane but a tropical storm that had dumped nine inches of rain where I was living, flooding many homes and making roads impossible. I loaded my little two-seater with all the belongings I could muster, and headed north. I haven’t been back since.
That’s not to say that I haven’t wanted to return. Once in a while I start looking at homes on the Florida coast and dream about returning to warm weather twelve months out of the year. I dream about fishing on the ocean or bay. I just dream about the laid back lifestyle that captivated me while I was there.
Did I just say, “kick me in the shin.” What the heck is wrong with me? Hurricane Irma should be proof enough the anyone living on a Florida coast, or a Caribbean island for that manner, is nuts. In a few short hours all that you own, let alone your life, or your family’s could be gone.
In my younger days, I liked to go outside, like some of the lunatic weathercasters we just witnessed on the Weather Channel, during the hurricane and see how long I could stand before a wind gust knocked me to the ground.
I now realize how silly that is, just like how crazy it is for me to even think the Florida coast is a lifestyle option. I think I’ll stay where hurricanes are only witnessed on the television, and wicked women like Irma are hundreds of miles away.
On a more serious note, if you are inclined to do so, victims in the Caribbean, Key West and portions of Florida could really use your help. In St. John, Kenny Chesney, the country singer, had a home there and often visited- it was destroyed by Irma, has created one of the largest relief efforts for the U.S. island. To contribute simply google Kenny Chesney. The Keys, and others areas of Florida are being serviced by the Red Cross and other agencies. Again google their sites and you can make your contribution.