For those living in the southeast, August is a month filled with painful memories because of previous hurricanes and the destruction they caused. As for myself and those living around the Gulf of Mexico, the year 2004 was one for the record books.
Hurricane Charley, which carried winds up to 150 m/p/h crossed over the state of Florida on August 13, 2004. I was 30 years old at the time and owned my very first home. Unfortunately, it was a very old manufactured home. Hurricane Charley devastated my home and the community where I lived. We were without water and electricity for days. My home was destroyed from a tree falling on the roof. It was a very stressful time for all.
After 5 days without water, a neighbor called a friend of his, who was a journeyman plumber and asked if he could help us all out. When his friend arrived, he concluded that the main water pipe which supported over 45 residents was broken. His friend had to dig in order to gain access to the main pipe. I noticed that he was alone and his only tool was a shovel! Being a female, a life without water is a life without a shower, and therefore a life without shaving my legs for 5 days. Needless to say, I wanted the water turned back on badly and I offered to help him.
We spent two days digging and repairing the pipe together. Every time we dug, the rainwater kept filling it back up. Two days together also allowed us to really get to know each other and to my surprise – flirt! Who would have thought that I could muster up feelings of flirtation after surviving one of the worst storms I had ever encountered in my life. But there we were, in the middle of a giant mud pit, digging and flirting. I learned that he was going through a divorce and little did he know, I was right in the middle of a "swearing off men for good," phase.
Hurricane Charley swept across the state and destroyed many homes that day. For most, it was a horrific day, for me it was the best day of my life. Three years later, on August 13, 2007, my hero, the journeyman plumber brought me to the infamous spot where we had spent two days digging together. We laughed and shared our first impressions of each other. As I turned to survey the area, a smile grew across my face because it was there I had met the love of my life. As I turned around to face him, to my surprise, there he was, on one knee. He had written a poem in which he thanked the forces of Mother Nature for bringing us together and then asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. As his wife. My answer was, "yes"!
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