About a year ago I had a health scare. It’s not something I talk much about or discuss with many people, but lucky for me I came out just fine.
It did, however, make me realize that the world would go on with or without me.
Learning that you are not indispensable is a freeing experience. It also made me realize that I needed to start taking some time for myself and taking advantage of my vacations.
This year, a very dear friend gave me the ultimate birthday gift – a cruise to the Bahamas. I got to go on the trip with my BFF and other good friends. I have to say, I don’t party like I used to, but it’s like riding a bike. And, yes, I’m still good at it. The cruise was the most fun I’ve had in quite some time.
STILL, AFTER THE cruise was over, I was excited to be back home – even more excited to be able to sleep in my queen-size bed and, what was even better, I still had a few more days of vacation left. Have you ever slept in one of those little cruise beds?
It started to snow the evening I arrived back in Augusta. I slept late the next day. When I finally woke up and looked out the window I could see snow. It was pretty, so I snapped a couple of pictures with my cell phone, put on my ugg boots, grabbed some extra blankets, crawled back in bed and picked up my phone to check Facebook. Everywhere people were saying their power was going out. I chatted with a few of them, trying to reassure some and allowing others to vent.
About an hour into the chatting, my power went out. I got up, grabbed more blankets, grabbed the brown liquor, put on some gloves and a hat and crawled back into bed. I chuckled when I realized that the electric fireplace, which I thought was so cool when I bought my house, now seemed like a dumb idea.
Within minutes, my operations manager Travis Dylan and my radio co-host Minnesota Fattz with radio station WKSP-FM (96.3) called and asked if I would come in to help get people through the storm. The idea was to provide wall-to-wall coverage of information to people that would reassure people that they were not alone, help get them through the storm, update them on supplies and give them as much information as possible.
Winter Storm Pax was a terrible storm. A lot of people were without power or water or both – some for mere hours, others for days. If there is a bright spot that came out of this storm, it has to be the way everybody in this community came together to help one another. Officers with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department and other first responders worked around the clock to help those in need. Regular citizens were checking on neighbors. People with power and water were inviting others to stay with them through the storm. It was a beautiful thing, and spoke volumes about this community.
WHILE I WAS without power for only a little more than a day, it made me realize that I probably had taken luxuries such as power and water for granted. Perhaps I even had taken for granted the men and women who keep this community safe and protected.
It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes a natural disaster to make people understand that we are one community. I never have been more proud of Augusta or the people who live and work here as I was during and after that storm. I think a lot of people feel that way.
I hope we don’t ever take each other for granted again.
(The writer is an on-air personality with radio station WKSP-FM (96.3), and a columnist for The Augusta Chronicle’s Applause section. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)