Off the Tracks

Hope to Hope Town: Part Five

February 6, 2020

As we were unpacking the equipment and supplies in the old settlement house in Hope Town, two people with clipboards arrived in orange shirts. They introduced themselves as Ed and Michael from Samaritan’s Purse, saying they had a work order to check what had been done on the house before we arrived. I looked at them wondering who they were, and what, really, they were doing there.


They checked the paperwork and said that sand had been removed from the house, and ‘um…lets see, we checked three cisterns. Two were OK and we pumped one.’ There is a note to check for mold as people would be moving in.

Michael and Ed, surveying our home away from home (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Michael and Ed, surveying our home away from home

‘hmmm,’ I thought. Sounded right. That would be us moving in. Several feet of sand had been removed, the center upright support in the living room had a ‘high sand/water mark’ of a couple of feet. Some sand was on the walls, sticking to the ceiling, quite a bit in the corners and a thick dusting on the floor. But much better than three feet deep. How had they removed it, I wondered? It would be like moving a small beach.


‘We’d be happy to check the mold situation, and anything else that we could help with.’


Who ARE these people? I thought as I stood at a distance, watching them with a skeptical urban eye.
Written in sharpie on their orange shirts were their names, Ed and Michael. They had introduced themselves, after all.


Brid took them through the house.


‘We see mold in the bedroom off the breezeway, and the kitchen. We recommend that you do not use the bedroom above the main room that has the wall pushed out. There are a lot of books that are wet and moldy, and some of the clothes and furniture should be removed. Otherwise it looks pretty good. We’d be happy to schedule time tomorrow. We move everything away from the walls and cover whatever is in the room. We sweep the mold infected area and then spray with a treatment called shock wave. It will need to dry, then we spray again and sweep it so it penetrates, then we wipe it down with a rag. If you want to read about the solution, we have that information. It is not unhealthy to breathe, though we will wear masks when we do the treatment. Mostly because we’re disturbing the mold, though.’

 

We agreed to a time and they said to expect a team of 5 or 6 volunteers with a manager, and left, picking their way through the debris on the front lawn.

 

When the team arrived, they did just as Ed had said they would, moving the furniture away from the walls, and doing the mold remediation. They also gathered the moldy books, clothes and furniture. The kitchen pots and pans were rusty and needed to go as well. We received approval from the owners to remove anything that was rusty, damaged or moldy – and gave the team the go ahead. They piled and bagged and hauled the items to the side of the front yard for eventual pickup.

 

At the end of the long day, the house was mold free and anything that was affected by mold or rust had been removed. The pile of wood that had been the generator house (picked up by the storm and dumped in a heap in the front yard) had been moved, the twisted cables that had been power were coiled and pulled to the side.

Mold treatment in our bedroom (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Mold treatment in our bedroom

We gave them cheese and crackers and sat on the ocean side looking at the beautiful view.

 

I asked about the organization, about the founders, about Michael's prior assignments. ‘I graduated from nursing school and volunteered to assist in Nepal following the earthquake – I had never been on an airplane before, had never been out of the country. Within 24 hours of graduation, I had a passport, camping equipment and was packed and on a plane for Nepal for two months. Since then I’ve been on assignment building a field hospital in Mosel, Iraq, my teammates set up an ebola clinic in the Congo and now we’re here. Samaritan’s Purse is based in Boone, NC and Billy Graham’s son Franklin heads it up. It is funded by donations. I’m on staff, and volunteers rotate through on a weekly basis. We work 6 days a week. We first deploy a disaster response team to the affected area, then follow it up with a rebuilding team. We are still in disaster response here at Elbow Cay. ‘

 

They gathered up their supplies and I walked them across the newly cleared sand to the fence.

 

‘You should be good to go now, you can sleep in the room across the breezeway’, Michael said. ‘Let us know if you need anything else.’

‘Thank you again,’ I said to the group as they stood on the road.

 

‘Would you like a short prayer?’ Michael asked. Huh? What? I thought. ‘Absolutely,’ I said. What’s this about, I wondered? They put all their supplies down and Michael led the short prayer, one of completion and health and for guidance in the work we would be doing on the island. It lasted about 30 seconds and they gathered their things and walked down the hill to the houses in which they were staying in the center of town. I watched them go and turned and walked into our mold free house. What just happened here, I thought...and what about these people who were so cheerful and warm and incredibly hard workers?

 

I saw Michael early the next day in the center of town and asked what the projects he was working on. ‘We’re gutting and clearing debris from a house down past Vernon’s bakery, one across the harbor, and putting a tarp on a roof up the hill here.’ I asked if I could work on one of them. ‘Sure, he said. We’re starting in 15 minutes – do you have work boots and gloves? We have masks and goggles and hazmat suits for black mold and insulation. Why don’t you meet the team down past Vernon’s grocery? You can’t miss it, look for the orange shirts.’

 

‘OK’, I said and headed back up the hill to put on jeans, boots and to get my gloves. I grabbed a water bottle and sun screen and headed back, finding, as he said I would, about 8 or 10 orange shirted workers. Ed, whom I had met before was heading up the project. ‘Hello!’ he called out as I picked my way through the debris leaning on the side of the house. ‘Welcome,’ he smiled. ‘Inside or outside?’ I could see people with crowbars removing cabinets and appliances inside, and a team with a chainsaw outside, pulling wood and debris from against the house and piling it on the tiny road. I opted for outside and I dug in and started piling twisted pieces of gutter and wood with nails hinges and pieces of windows and doors and stacking them in the designated piles. The debris was from a house that had lifted completely off its foundation and been tossed across the road. It lay in a heap crushing the house next to the one we were working on, but large chunks of it ended up in the tiny side yard and against the house. The house we were working on belonged to Jack, of Captain Jack’s restaurant. Jack drove a small truck and loaded the debris and drove it to a mid island dump, where barges would someday pick it all up. I was working with Brian from New Hampshire and a couple from Missouri and Cindy from Florida and so ready to quit at lunchtime, but put on more sunscreen and drank more water and tried to keep up with the energy and determination of those with whom I was working. Really, I thought? Is everybody this amazing?

 

When we finished for the day, the house was gutted to the studs, the yard was clear of debris and I was EXHAUSTED. I had made 5 new friends and laughed and talked as we worked together. We teased Tim who insisted on bringing the ‘sled’ to use for pulling out huge pieces of debris when we said it was more trouble that it was worth, and then ended up using it all afternoon. ‘You’re the sister I never had!’ he laughed as we were still talking about the useless sled on the 9th trip out.

Coiling power cables in our front yard (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Coiling power cables in our front yard

 

I dragged myself home, walking past Vernon’s bakery where Brid was fixing the roof and asked him when he was finishing as I needed a SWIM. He said to hang on, he was coming off the roof in 5 minutes when Vernon’s bread was out of the oven, so we walked up the hill with a hot loaf of bread and the ocean waiting for us - as that, followed by a solar shower, was how we bathed.

 

I worked on the next house with Michelle from Australia who showed me how to use the long crowbar to remove the tongue in groove paneling from the walls – ‘just put some muscle and a lot of leverage and it comes right out! She said. Another project was the Wyannie Malone museum, (named after the original Loyalist settler in 1785), thinking I would spend my time archiving and sorting and working with artifacts – and yes, that was the second day, but before that happened, the insulation and duct work from not one but two air conditioning units in the attic had to come out. Full hazmat suits and goggles and gloves and masks and two of us went up the ladder all morning with strict 10 minute breaks and water every hour as it was HOT up there. We could only work in the morning as the afternoon was impossibly hot, so we worked fast and took breaks and got it done, swept clean. The next few days were spent going through still damp and moldy documents and photos on the third floor, and then moving to the lower floors and exhibit pieces.

 

As I worked with Samaritan’s purse on various projects over the month, I found that there was nothing they would not tackle. There was expertise available for every project, there were safety measures, there were breaks and lunch before heading into long afternoon hours; but the common denominator was good humor and dedication and energy and purpose.

 

The purpose? To make sure people are safe, warm and dry. To restore hope. ‘It’s that simple,’ Ed said.

Awesome Tim with the chain saw (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Awesome Tim with the chain saw

But watching them over the month, working with the volunteers from all over the US and Canada, working with the project managers who were master carpenters, construction engineers, heavy equipment operators in their home states, was amazing. But mostly watching them work through each project as if, at that moment in time, that homeowner and his house was the most important project on the island. Many times the owner was overwhelmed in so many ways and feeling, in many cases, hopeless. Samaritan’s Purse cleans and fixes and ‘mucks out’ and put on tarps to keep the rain out until supplies come in for a new roof. Sometimes they go through the ripped and twisted pile of debris that is what remains of a house -– and carefully, find whatever Dorian left behind. They find the framed picture or the wedding album or the special keepsake from a relative (in one case a delicate porcelain figure was in the rubble, undamaged) and return what they can before removing the remains of the house, leaving a clean place to rebuild the houses, and their lives. Sometimes just being there creates a safe environment for the person to talk, to grieve, to cry when they had not allowed themselves to do so. The Samaritan’s Purse worker will stop and listen, and hold and comfort when that is what is needed at the time - its whatever makes the person feel safe and cared for and gives them an opening for hope, and the ability to perhaps look ahead.

 

Cindy and Jim, new friends we met from Michigan and second homeowners, were on the island making repairs on their house. ‘What have you been doing?’ they asked me. I told them about Samaritan’s Purse and they said they had an extra day before going home. ‘Go find Michael at 8:30 in front of the Puff House,’ I said, pointing to the center of town. ‘Wear work boots and gloves and they’ll put you to work’.

We met them for dinner before they left and I asked how it went. ‘It was amazing,' Cindy said. They assigned us to a house near the south end. We followed in our golf cart, and kept going until we were two doors down from our house. The owner was a pastor named Ricky. When the three golf carts drove up with all those orange shirts, he burst into tears. He was overwhelmed by the support.’


She went on, ‘It was wonderful. We met a neighbor, worked with awesome people and I got to use a sledge hammer all afternoon!’
‘What did you think of Samaritan’s purse overall?’ I asked later before saying goodbye.


‘It’s an amazing organization.’


‘In what way?’ I asked.


She thought for a long minute.


‘There was a critical mass of selfless people doing things for others without personal gain,’ she said finally.


‘I am so glad we had that experience.’

 

We said goodbye, gave them a hug and promised to stay in touch.


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Hope to Hope Town: Part Four

February 3, 2020

It was New Years morning in Hope Town, and the dance party with fireworks and live music in the tiny settlement last night had been positive and ‘normal’ and heartwarming. We had arrived on Elbow Cay the day before with construction equipment, supplies and donations for the island. We had a small generator for heating water, cooking on the induction cooker, and charging phones. Phones were really just cameras as there was not really any 3G or 4G or anything G. So we charged our cameras on the generator.

With Brid Igleheart (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) With Brid Igleheart

 

We decided to head out and get breakfast at the Abaco Inn (the only functioning restaurant) and listen to the VHF ‘cruiser net’ island update. We hadn’t really figured out the ‘no refrigeration’ part of our living situation yet, as we had not found ice for the cooler anywhere on the island.

 

We listened to the update and noted times for the temporary fuel depot, drinking water supply (very near our house), LVA was open for some groceries, Vernon was making bread!


I had met Vernon the baker/minister/justice of the peace when we were here last spring, when the island was fully functioning with fishing, restaurants, snorkeling, boating and adventures. Vernon Malone was a direct descendant of the original British loyalist settler, Wyannie Malone, who moved to Elbow Cay from South Carolina with her 4 children in 1785 following the Revolutionary War. Vernon’s hot bread and key lime pies were legendary. At 82, he had been evacuated for a short time after Hurricane Dorian, had returned, and with a patched roof and generator had started baking. Vernon’s house, a three minute walk from his bakery, had been destroyed. All that was left was the cement pad and a chimney.

 

After the broadcast, we moved inside for breakfast. We sat at an open window close to the ocean, next to a couple with two small children, the only other people in the restaurant.

 

While looking at the menu, we could hear their conversation. ‘Maybe after breakfast we can do some shelling,’ the young father said while jiggling the baby on his knee. ‘It will be low tide.’ Their breakfasts arrived and their quiet conversation continued.

 

As I read the menu, I wondered about the family. They looked like tourists on a Christmas vacation to the islands. But here, I wondered? The island was the first point of landfall for hurricane Dorian, and it stalled over the island for hours. 22 tornadoes also hit the island in that time period. The ongoing devastation was incredible, 4 months later.

 

With no electricity or running water, all but one restaurant closed, houses upside down on the side of the road, blue tarps everywhere on houses that did survive, many of the rental boats destroyed, golf carts missing, beaches littered with debris, boats resting on their sides in the broken remains of palm trees – it was not exactly a sought after vacation paradise at the moment.

 

Whatever… I thought as we ordered.

 

I could see through the salty windows that a worker was painting the top of a rebuilt gazebo down by the pool. He was silhouetted against the sky, brush in hand, coating each board with dark paint.

 

“I’ll be right back,’ I said to Brid as I got up and headed out the double doors to a rock outcropping near the gazebo. ‘I’m going to grab a picture.’


As I stood in the sun and took a few pictures, I felt a presence beside me. The young girl from the table next to ours had come outside.


‘Hi,’ I said as I turned around.


“Hi,’ she said as she stood up. She had been leaning over the rocks closer to the ocean. She was dressed in a t-shirt with what looked to be a unicorn on it, nice shorts, beautiful long dark blonde hair tied back in a soft pony tail.


‘Look’, she said and opened her hand to show me a tiny white shell.


‘Oh’, I said, ‘How pretty’.


‘Uh huh’.

 

Vernon (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Vernon

I told her my name and asked where she was from, thinking maybe England? There was a very slight hint of an accent. ‘White Sound’, she said. ‘Right up there’, she said, motioning up the road.


‘Oh!’ I said, my assumptions flying out the window. ‘And how old are you?’


‘Seven,’ she said. ‘And my brother will be a year in one week.’


She resumed her shell hunting and showed me another one.


‘How did your house do in the storm?’ I asked.


‘It was good’, she said as she looked for more shells.


She stood up straight and turned to look at me. ‘We hid in MY bedroom, under my bottom bunk bed’. Her brown eyes were big with emphasis.
‘Oh!’ I said.


‘Well, the laundry room came up and then crashed into the house and so we hid in my room’.


She turned to look at me, squinting in the sun.


‘The house got a big hole. Then the walls went down plop…plop… plop’, she said motioning with her arms stretched toward me, turning first one hand over the other, again and again.


‘So we got under my bottom bunk. My father grabbed a door and we got under the bed and he turned the door sideways,’ she said motioning, ‘and held the door’.


‘Oh!’ I said again.


‘My mother and father, little brother and two big dogs all under the bed,’ she said.


She looked up at me, tilted her chin down, and looked very serious.
‘But not the bird’.


‘Not the bird’, I said as I could think of nothing else to say.


‘Then the eye came and we went to my grandma’s house who lives behind us – she still had a roof.’ ‘But we got her and went to Firefly’ (a restaurant across the road).


‘And then we stayed there for a long time until we could go home’.
‘We live in a tent now,’ she said.


‘Oh.’ Again. ‘Is that ok?’ I asked.


‘It’s ok,’ she said.


‘Are you going to school?’ I asked.
‘I was going to HopeTown school, but it is not open. Maybe later’.


We made our way back to the restaurant and I said hello to the parents, and we met Christopher, their baby. ‘I’m so sorry for the devastation that this storm has caused you,’ I said.


We had a conversation about the island, about the father’s work, selling real estate on the island.

 

‘Here is my card with my number,’ he said as they stood up to leave. ‘Just in case you need anything while you’re here.’

 

They told us where they lived and a few days later we stopped by. We had a tent my brother had given us to donate – it was large and new, and we wanted to offer it as a back-up, or to use for additional space. We turned into the driveway, just off the main road. The father was there, holding the baby, supervising some workers pulling debris together and loading it into a truck.

 

‘Lots of the damage to our house was caused by heavy boards and trees flying through the air. He pointed to a large jumble of lumber – large, heavy pieces of wood, many painted light blue, full of nails and jagged edges. Twisted hinges.


‘Those aqua boards for instance? We don’t have any aqua anything’, he said. ‘All of this was from somewhere else.’

 

The mother took the baby from him, and told us she had just dropped Julianna at school. ‘I think she will love it,’ she said. Only 6 students so far but it’s a start.’


She walked me over to the side of what had been her house, leaving the guys talking about construction. They had a large tent, and a smaller sort of cook tent, ‘really for storing supplies’, she told me.


We turned toward the house.


‘Julianna told me about hiding under the bunk beds’, I told her.


‘Yes,’ she said pointing.


I looked over a large empty platform that had been a living room, a kitchen and a bedroom, I was guessing. I saw two walls still standing, making a corner at the far end. Tucked next to the wall were bunk beds.
‘They’re still there,’ she said with a small smile.


‘She told me you all got under the bed with the two dogs, but not the bird.’


‘Yes’.


‘He’s out there,’ she said, ‘in the tree. You passed him when you walked in.’

Abaco (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Abaco


I looked out at the large tree that Brid and John were standing under, it looked like a Banyan tree with vines hanging everywhere.
We walked back to the tree and stood under it, talking. I was also looking for a parakeet in a cage, a songbird of some type.


I noticed movement on the branch behind my head. Feet. Huge bird feet sidestepped towards me as I turned to look up. A beautiful and very large macaw looked down at me.

 

‘His name is Abaco. He was living in Florida with my sister and she gave him to us a few years ago. Funny, isn’t it, that his name was already Abaco? She named him that because he is all the colors of the Bahamian flag.’

 

Abaco turned his yellow and blue head one way and then the other, the way large birds look at you with first one eye, and then the other.

 

‘We found him under the debris. His cage had protected him, but it was totally covered up’.

 

‘We were walking around picking our way through the remains of the house and heard ‘Hello. Hello,’ from under the pile of rubble and it was Abaco. He was OK.’

 

We stayed for a few minutes longer and then left the family with the dogs and the bird and the big tree, thick with vines. They waved good-bye and we said we hoped to see them again.

We drove the golf cart quietly back to town.


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Hope to Hope Town: Part Three

January 28, 2020

We’d arrived late afternoon the day before and were still settling in. The tent was up, air mattresses were full, things were under cover.  The house in which we were staying was damaged during hurricane Dorian and had shifted off the foundation.  We needed to make assessments, so were camping out until we did so.  There was no electricity on the island, no running water – we had a generator to power our phones and tools, and a cistern for water.

Home away from home (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Home away from home

It was early morning on New Year’s Eve, and I needed coffee.  We had not found the French press that supposedly was in the house somewhere, nor had we set up our one burner induction cooker that would heat our drinking water.  The generator was still in the box.  There was currently only one place to get coffee and that was the Abaco Inn on the southern end of the island.  We’d heard that the restaurant was functioning on a generator. 

We jumped into the golf cart and headed out of the ‘settlement’ to the southern end of the island.  We had not seen much of the town since we had arrived late and had to get everything in order before dark.  This morning was really our first glance at the hurricane damage, and The Hopetown Harbor Lodge was the most immediate, striking sight.  The lodge, directly across from the ferry dock, was up a series of steps which opened to the small registration area and the dining room. The bench at the bottom of the steps had been dug out, but the rest of the bank was buried in sand - the dining room was exposed, the top floor had lost its roof.  Bits of curtains blew through the openings in what remained of the building.  It was eerily quiet.

Cars on roadside (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Cars on roadside

A large sailboat stuck out from the hill in the palm trees next to the Lodge, the mast listing over the road.  We drove out Queens Highway, which runs north/south through the island.  The ‘highway’ is wide enough for cars to pass one another, but there were few on the island.  Golf carts are the normal mode of transportation.

We continued to see the effects of the hurricane as we traveled the short distance to the southern end of the island.  Houses were in pieces, in the water, or missing altogether.  Cars littered the side of the road, wires were down everywhere.  

Captain Jacks (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Captain Jacks

At the Inn, Tom, the owner, was welcoming and said there was ‘coffee for all at the bar’, so we sat and enjoyed the open air deck off the bar area.  From that vantage point, the small restaurant and bar looked amazingly OK.  ‘We’ve had a great team of people to get it to this point,’ Tom said.  

At about 8 am, we heard a VHF radio crackle to life in the next room, and a few people moved to the area to listen.  

‘Good morning, Hopetown!’ The announcer came on air.  We joined the people grouped around the radio, drinking coffee.

‘First thing as always is the weather, which today will be partly cloudy or partly sunny, depending on how you fill your glass.’  The melodious voice floated over the warm sea breeze coming in the door.  Who was this guy, I wondered?  What a voice.

‘The weather of course is our first concern…the synopsis is a cold front coming in tomorrow extending from near 31 north 70 west to the Florida Straights….will stall and weaken along 25 north Thursday and dissipate Friday…’  He went on to describe more details, ‘Brought to you by barometerbob.org.  Check it out!’  The transmission clicked off.

Hope Town shop (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Hope Town shop

And clicked back on… ‘Business services are available on the island, in case you’re not aware – we’ve got golf carts, we’ve got fuel, we’ve got work boots, we’ve got groceries, we’ve got ‘liquer’, we’ve got haircuts…’ Ha! Someone in the room laughs … ‘and there might be a few other things that I’ve probably forgotten, so there are awesome services available if you’re just hitting the island and you need to get stuff, yeah we’re not totally shut down, like we were early September.’

‘The clinic is closing today at noon, unless of course there are emergencies.  TJ Maxx and Home Depot are also not opening today, will be 8-11 on Wednesday, I think.’

Wait – what?  I paused the recorder and turned to the person beside me, a second homeowner who had come to the inn to hear the morning broadcast.  

‘is that for Marsh Harbor?  That’s not for here - how can it be?’ 

(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)

She laughed.  ‘On your way back to town if you go straight at the curve, toward the temporary fuel depot, you’ll see two containers and a small tent on your right.  One shipping container is orange and has donated tools and some building supplies.  The other container is white and has donated clothes.  Home Depot and TJ Max!’ 

These people are amazing, I thought.  All of this and a sense of humor.  

I turned the recorder back on.

‘Band will be playing for the block party downtown starting at 9, so come on down for the big shindig, captain jacks will be setting up a mini bar, and not 100% confirmed, but it is fairly safe to say there will be some fireworks set up off sunshine dock,’ he paused. ‘right at midnight’.

‘If you’ve got anything to add to the social calendar, put your radio into high power and come back now….’

(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)

We got back to the house and to the business of unpacking, hooking up the generator, clearing out space for the equipment.  We were staying in one of the oldest houses in the settlement of Hopetown, built by the family descended from a loyalist who left South Carolina in 1785 following the Revolutionary War – when those remaining loyal to the Crown were no longer welcome in the US.  It is built in shiplap boards of thoughtful design - the rooms and access and solid nature - with views of the ocean on one side and the lighthouse and harbor on the other.  There are two ‘roads’ through town – Queens Highway and Back street, running along the top ridge. ‘Southern Fancy’, our home for the next couple of months, is on tiny Back Street.  

(Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor)

From the house, I can see what’s left of Harbor’s Edge, one of the two restaurant/bars on the waterfront.  The roof is totally gone, a second floor door hangs by its hinges, all the windows are blown out.  Further down I can vaguely see what remains of Jack’s bar, or at least the dock, which is in pieces.  All this and a party tonight, I thought.

We put together dinner from the provisions we had brought and what we’d picked up at the grocery store in Marsh Harbor.  Our neighbors across the road (two strides to their front door) had asked us to come by before the party, so we did so.  We met a group of artists who had just finished painting a mural on the library on the waterfront (still needed windows and doors), who were heading out on the ferry in the morning. 

Hope Town fireworks (Photo by: Constance Chatfield-Taylor) Hope Town fireworks

The band at the waterfront, made up of residents of the island, was GREAT, lights and sound powered by a generator.  Nearing midnight, there were over a hundred people.  We walked back to the house just before midnight and could see the dance floor and purple lights pulsing below us to the right. We could hear Donella, the lead singer, belting out ‘I will survive’ as the packed dance floor rocked.  The lighthouse across the harbor was lit up with Christmas lights, the beacon becoming a star at the top.  At midnight fireworks exploded with beautiful greens and blues and purples and stars and pops and sizzles, lighting up the boats and harbor below as people cheered from the dance floor.

One would never realize, looking at the celebration from our vantage point, that 4 months ago, a hurricane had struck with such ferocity and created so much misery.  For that night, there was a bit of normalcy, of celebration, of welcoming the New Year, hopefully one not as tumultuous as the one they had just experienced.

‘This island needed that party last night,’ I heard the next day from a resident.  ‘It was perfect.’

 


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