We all showed up at Screen Gems Studio in Atlanta with anticipation. We were there for an in-person audition for a network television show. In-person auditions have become rare in the high technology world of today’s television acting. What was once an actor’s pride, to enter a room with producers, directors, and casting directors and “win the room” has now been relegated to putting your audition on tape and emailing it to either your agents or a pay subscriber service (which I refuse to do). Things change.

The opportunity is a USA network episodic in its second season. The character, Mike runs an old dive bar somewhere in North Philadelphia. Mike acts as a counselor to the young actor playing one of the leads, Neil, whose father and Mike were friends in Vietnam. In terms of a character, Mike was interesting, a character with layers and the possibility of recurring work. Mike was worth the time and effort.

Long past the excitement of “being on television,” this opportunity from a business perspective meant a boost in pension pay, earnings toward family healthcare, a payday and perhaps several more if Mike recurred. It was strictly business.

But then it turned into something else.

Walking into the audition waiting area, an impromptu reunion took place. The boys were there.

Gordon and I worked together a few years ago on the Television Movie Game of Your Life. We had fun and most of our scenes together. I like Gordon’s work. I like Gordon. He’s a great guy to spend 14 hours a day with for several weeks making television.

Charles was the odds on favorite for the job. He has the look. Television is about the look. The producer’s creed is “We can teach someone to act. We can’t teach a look.” Charles wears a white beard. He’s short in stature and talks with a comforting tone. I’ve known Charles since we both worked on In The Heat Of The Night in the 1990s.

Alonzo, I don’t know. We share the same agent. Seems like a nice guy. He laughed a lot at the stories flying around the room.

Tony I’ve never worked with. He had a nice run on a Tyler Perry show. He’s been searching for the next opportunity ever since.

We were all there to read for Mike. That’s the business. There were five of us for the one job. We all had a 20% chance.

The job would begin shooting one week later. We all knew whoever got the job would be getting “the phone call” within twenty-four hours. The others would not. I always say not getting the job is like the country western song, "If your phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.”

The Director was an hour late. Veterans to the “hurry up and wait,” aspect of “the business” we took it in stride and took time to catch up. We were all there for the same job, but we’ve been in the business long enough to not let that fact get in the way of our friendships. We laughed and told stories. Gordon and I caught up on life. Charles told stories of his civil rights days. Alonzo laughed a lot. Tony told stories but fretted over the job. It showed in his eyes.

I enjoyed the experience. It had been a while. Over the last few years, since moving back from Los Angeles, business opportunities, production of a documentary film, and writing another book had taken me in different directions. I had managed to stay in the game with Game of Your Life, Drop Dead Diva, Reckless, Queen and Slim, Containment and commercials. But, being at Screen Gems that day, brought back memories of eight successful years of “the business” in Atlanta, and thirteen in Los Angeles.

The director arrived. The casting agent apologized for him. The director did not apologize for himself. I was third in line to go in to read for him. When I walked in, the director was eating. I thought “damn, he’s an hour late and he’s sitting in the audition eating a sandwich.”

The casting associate positioned himself behind the camera. He would read with me. We exchanged pleasantries and took off. I did what I’d prepared for but also went with the flow of the scene. I know Mike. I’ve known many Mikes over the years. He was not a hard guy to inhabit. It felt good. I had the room. But then the director gave me the kiss of death. He turned to the casting associate and said, “All of them are so good.” I knew I was dead in the water. He didn’t need to blow smoke up my dress and make me feel good if he was going to hire me. It was Charles’ job. We all knew it.

I thanked them and met Gordon and Charles in the parking lot. Tony split. Alonzo having gone first was long gone. The three of us laughed and talked for another hour. We all vowed to get together but we knew the next time would probably also be an audition. The skyline of Atlanta loomed in the background. It felt good to hang out with the guys, where I began my career. Soon, it was time for me to hit the road. Other business interests outside of “the business,” beckoned. I gave the guys a hug and drove out of Atlanta.

By the way my phone didn’t ring.

It’s officially summer 2021 and a lot of us feel like this is the first time we can break out and go do something. We all had a crazy 2020 and it’s time that each of us gets a little break. It’s the season for vacations so here are some tips for taking time off and not worrying about what’s happening at work. 


You have the vacation time and you’re ready for a getaway. As soon as you know the dates you’ll be out of office, communicate with your team. Mark it on your calendar, bring it up in team meetings, make sure everybody knows ahead of time you will be out and when. That way, the office can plan accordingly to cover the work you are responsible for. 


Your dates are confirmed, so it’s time to prioritize your responsibilities and plan for your absence. Do you have anything on your calendar already that you need to reschedule? Who will cover some of your responsibilities while you’re gone? Think about your daily tasks and how you might handle those. Something as simple as setting up and scheduling an “Out of Office” reply takes care of daily email while you’re out. This little message shows you plan ahead, you’re transparent and you know the importance of communication.  

What tasks should be completed before you go? Once you get back? We all have deadlines… what do you need to accomplish, send off, schedule, etc. so you won’t have to step away from your relaxation time to work. All the tasks that need to be done will be done, and all the deadlines will be met. Forecast what tasks might be coming in. If you are working to get some things sent out that may be time sensitive, be sure to copy the co-worker that will cover this area while you’re gone. Let them know what they should be expecting and how to proceed. 

I always wanted to write a tribute to my Dad. I knew I would at some point. Like most tributes it would be after he had passed away and his life would be big parts of my memory. He died at ninety-six. He had no debilitating illness, or disease. He couldn’t hear primarily because he refused to wear his hearing aid. He stopped enjoying life. He outlived everyone around him but his three offspring. He lost his wife 21 years ago after they had been married 49 years.

I am a part of his legacy and proud to be so.

He grew up in Elmore County, Alabama with his eleven brothers and sisters. Wetumpka, Alabama was the town that
served as the city center. Yeah, it was rural.

He told me tales of him and his brother Acon as teens plowing behind a mule from sun up to sundown for fifty cents a day. On the Fourth of July he told me they would get a watermelon and go down to the creek. Put the watermelon in the cold water and swim until exhausted, then eat the melon for their fourth of July celebration. He and his brother built themselves a bicycle from old worn pieces of different bikes. They would ride into town, and go to the movies, of course, sitting in the upstairs colored section. He liked school but because they were share croppers he would be pulled from school to work the fields.

At eighteen, he joined the Army. Afterward, he, his brothers and sisters migrated to Birmingham pursuing the city’s
good paying jobs in the steel plants. They would live with their older sister until they found jobs and moved out. Daddy and Acon married sisters. Daddy started work at Acipco Pipe and Foundry. He was there for the next thirty-five years. I don’t recall him ever missing a day. “You don’t work. They don’t pay you,” he planted into my brain.

When I turned nine years old, he and my Mom moved us to Rosalind Heights, a small community of new homes built for working class blacks near the Birmingham Airport. “The Heights” as we who lived there called it was a great place to grow up. My friends from the Heights are still my friends. The men from that era got into their work cars every morning and headed to their respective jobs to make their mortgage and feed their families.

The wives and mothers made our lives complete. They made our houses, homes, full of love and discipline, and hope for the future.

My parents and the community sent me off into the world of integration. I was the representative. Everyday, my sisters and I caught two city buses to get to our Catholic School across

My mom had gone to a Catholic school and church, her dad had helped to build. We were raised to know that being different was not a bad thing. We didn’t have to be like everyone else. We didn’t have what many others had but it was okay. Our parents were investing in our future. Daddy took on a part time job to pay our tuition.

At fourteen, my life in many material ways surpassed my dad’s. I was doing things he had never thought possible in his world. Yet, he was never jealous, envious, or tried to hold me back. As I entered worlds that were far different than the one he lived in, he took his hands off the wheel of my life and trusted that I had absorbed the lessons he had taught me regarding manhood, responsibility, and legacy. When I stumbled he didn’t do the “I told you so,” but rather he and my mom a formidable team would nudge me back on track, wanting me to have the best life I could have. They never stood in the way of my decisions, quitting my job in management at BellSouth to pursue my own business and act and write part time. It was not the safest route to a fulfilling life, but here I am and it’s a helluve ride thanks to them.

My favorite story of my Dad is “the snow story.” I’d reached adulthood, working at South Central Bell. There was a fierce snowstorm in Birmingham. Shut things down. Nearly impossible for people to get to work unless you worked an essential job to keeping the city running. I called my Mom and talked to her. I asked to speak to my Dad. Mom, replied, “He’s gone to work.” “Gone to work?” I asked. Their driveway was on an incline. Impossible to back out of with the snow and ice. “He left here at three this morning walking,” she responded. That evening in the afternoon paper, there was a photo of a man walking down a snowy railroad track in North Birmingham, walking toward Acipco. “You don’t work they don’t pay you.”

My Dad would tell me as recent as a few years ago that he regretted not having money to give me. He often felt he could have done more when my high school and college teammates would show up with new clothes and cars. I always responded, “You taught me how to be a good man. For that I am grateful.”

Daddy taught all of us, my brother n laws, nephews, grandchildren and my friends “how to be a good man.” He taught my sisters and the women in the family what to expect from a good man.”

“Doc” Everybody in our family on both my Mom’s side and Daddy’s side called him Doc. No one we know living
knows why. It fit him.

As he told me on a couple of occasions, “Everybody I know is gone,” he said. He was lonely. At 96, Doc decided he
was tired and needed to rest alongside our mom, Catherine, the love of his life.

“We’re all just passing through,” he once told me. “We’re on our way to somewhere else.”

“When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra, a thirteen time Major League Baseball World Series champion once gave this advice to a stranded friend seeking further direction to Yogi’s home. When the caller responded with, “huh?”  Yogi repeated with a clear vision, “When you come to the fork in the road take it.”

Since Yogi spit those words of wisdom they have also been interpreted as coming to a crossroads in ones own future, a deciding moment in life when a major choice includes options. When faced with a choice, afraid of what is seen and unseen do you make the choice and venture down the road, confidant enough to face uncertainty?

Recently, two good friends of mine, the two Susans I call them, undecided on their respective futures, came to their personal fork in the road. Having lived responsible, accountable and accomplished adult lives they both knew it was time for a life change. They stood at their proverbial fork in the road.

Susan G. knew it was time when the business she had loved all her adult life no longer brought her that joy. She had risen from a receptionist in the business to one of two owners. She was in charge, made money and her colleagues were friends. But, the thrill was gone!  Going through the daily motions her mind drifted. In her mid 50s, she wanted more, a new direction She took the fork.

After a trip to Key West and visits to friends across Florida, she’s still deciding what’s around the next bend. But the sun has never shined brighter. The days last longer. Her smile is bigger. The joy in her voice has returned. She’s happy.

Susan P. (yes, they’re both Susans) surprised me with her announcement. I heard of it from a client friend. The friend also relayed that Susan’s boss and colleagues who depended on her expertise were talking to her to see if she could be convinced to stay. They felt she would. A month went by before I ran into her. We talked. She opened up about the upcoming season of her life and how she was looking forward to what was next. I knew she was a goner, one foot out of the proverbial door.

She’d discovered the strength to do what had been floating around inside her for some time. She was heading back to her hometown to be close to relatives. She would seek part time work that she could control with companies she was already familiar with. They had already approached her. She would be a big fish in their tiny fish bowl. But, she would not be in charge of the entire operation as she had been. She could work like she pleased. She could spend time with her Mom. She met with the companies. She set the terms. They agreed to the letter “I can’t believe it,” she jubilantly expressed. She is happy.

Both women pondering a life move reached their fork in the road and made their choice without having all the answers.

They both individually asked me for my advice. “What do you think,” they wanted to know? Without hesitancy, I quoted Yogi, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” I remember the laughter. They both laughed big, hearty, throaty laughs. They’re laughing even louder now.

When did you first realize you wanted to write a book?
After I’d been in the workplace for several years and held several leadership positions, I got tired of people asking me about the same things or wanting me to tell them again about a particular leadership principle. I decided to write them down so that I wouldn’t have to keep answering the questions!

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write when I’m in the mood or have a thought that I want to get on paper. Unlike other authors, I don’t have a specific schedule because I’m also still working as a consultant. Typically, I schedule time on my calendar as a “writing” period or day. Then, I put on some Mozart music for background noise, close all other applications so that I don’t get distracted by email or text messages and write as I either think, or recreate from handwritten notes I’ve made.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably the music and closing other applications. I also jump back and forth between chapters or sections as I think of things I want to say or an example I want to give. I also like to snack while I write – fruit, chips, nuts – anything that’s crunchy and flavorful!

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Because my books are about leadership, almost everything comes from things I’ve done, experienced, or seen. They also come from positive and negative examples of leaders I’ve known.

How do you handle writer’s block?
Stop writing until it goes away!

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How long the production time is after I’ve finished writing and all that’s involved with bringing the final book to life. Working with David Paladino, our graphic designer to come up with a good representative cover; working with Emily Hedrick, our Communicator to develop a marketing and promotional campaign; getting the ISBN number and bar code for the cover; asking people to be advance readers and waiting for their feedback; and more. All of which sometimes takes longer than the actual writing hours seemed to have taken. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that readers aren’t aware of being necessary in order for them to read the finished book.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
From the “story” they tell or the “theme” they have. The first book, Why Are They Following Me? is primarily about the people who choose to follow a leader and what characteristics in a leader that makes them want to follow. The second book, What Am I Supposed to Say? is about the leader and knowing how to encourage, commiserate with, and motivate the followers during times of set-back, stress, or change. It’s primarily about the leader and having the wisdom to know how to and what to encourage those who are following. So, the titles reflect the content as well as the purpose of each book.

Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
Write what you know best. Whether that’s fiction or nonfiction, tell the stories that you’ve lived or seen. That way, your “voice” will be authentic for the reader and for you. Also, read … a lot! Read fiction, biographies, and nonfiction to better understand the music of the written word and the things that other writers do that resonate with you. Do they tell “stories” or do they relate “facts”? Is their writing “lyrical” or is it “presentation”? Figure out what you like to read and what you find yourself putting down after reading for a while. Which authors are the ones you keep going back to; waiting anxiously for their next book? Take all of the input you gain and use it when you’re writing. Most of all, remember that you’re writing for the reader, not for yourself, so don’t gloss over information that you already know, thinking that the reader will know it as well.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I have Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts that I’m regularly on or post on. Other sites that I browse, though.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share?
I’m pulling notes and thoughts together for the last book in the Leadership Trilogy – not sure what it will be called yet. The focus on this one will be taking what you’ve learned about your followers and knowing what to say to effectively lead them so that you can create an organization that influences the lives of the employees, customers, users, suppliers, and others who interact with or within. The focus will be on building an organizational climate and culture where people want to work and thrive at work. Those organizations are able to build lasting client and supplier bases that sustain them.

Check out What Am I Supposed to Say? Using the words of authors, movie and television characters and others who inspire us to be our best selves, What Am I Supposed to Say? by Dr. joyce gillie gossom looks at these words through the lens of transformative leadership and creates an opportunity to have a conversation with those who come to us for guidance and wisdom.


Big Emmett is gone! I don’t know any other way to say it. Big Emmett is gone. Big Emmett was my brother N law for the past 46 years. He passed away on Saturday January 30 from cancer.

The call came at 7:44 on Saturday evening. It was one of those phone calls that seemed odd for the time of day for whatever reason. When my phone started its familiar chime and I looked down to see my sisters name I knew something was up. Initially I thought it might be something with my dad. He’s 95 and I’m always fearful of getting that call in the middle of the night about him.

It was my younger sister. Her voice had a gravity to it. Yep, something was up. Something was wrong! I waited. I waited while she worked around to getting to what she had called for. Before long she said Big Emmett had passed. DAMN! Damn was the word that spilled immediately from my mouth. I knew he was sick but… I would send him a weekly text to ask him how he was doing and his answer was always upbeat, instead asking how I was doing, how my family was? I let it sink in. Big Emmett is gone! He went peacefully with my older sister, the love of his life, by his side.

Big Emmett

Emmett was stage four… But he was Big Emmett. My Dad is 95 and I could have reasonably expected the call to be about him. I have another brother-in-law with cancer as well. He’s been critically ill for a while. The call could have been about him. But not Big Emmett!

It will take some getting used to. I don’t know anybody who didn’t like him. I never heard anyone say anything bad about him. I’ve called a couple of people who knew him from college and his marriage to my sister. They have expressed the same surprise I did.

“Solid.” That was my dad’s description of him. “Solid.” Someone you could count on. Someone who gave comfort to others. After my Mom passed and my Dad started living alone. Emmett called him every morning. Every morning on his way to work Emmett would call my dad just to check on him. If Daddy didn’t answer for whatever reason, Emmett drove to his house. If I came into town to visit my Dad, Emmett always came over and he, daddy and I would have big laughs, about our lives, family.

Why was he called Big Emmett? It’s true he was a big man, six foot eight a former athlete, and he has a son named Little
Emmett. But that wasn’t why I called him Big Emmett. He wasn’t flashy, wealthy, a big shot, a celebrity. He was Big Emmett
because he was a big man in terms of being as my dad said, solid. Solid in terms of caring for others, in terms of caring for his family, in terms of caring for my dad like he was his dad, which Daddy became. He was always there whether to talk and laugh, check on Daddy, be a good father and grandfather, be a brother to me, a good husband.

I will miss him I’ll always love him. Big Emmett. Solid as a rock.

Welcome the newest member of the Best Gurl team, Shawntia (Shawn) Jones, The Organizer! Shawn started working with Best Gurl on January 5. She is working on coordinating with clients, managing schedules, planning projects, and keeping everyone informed and prepared! We’re so lucky to have her on the team.

If you really want to get to know Shawn let’s have her introduce herself.

Where are you from?

I am from Deerfield Beach, Florida

What is your background in?

My background is in administration

What's one work-related thing you want to accomplish in the next year?

To build and maintain strong client relationships while learning and growing along the way.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?

Working on my DIY projects making waist beads, soaps, and other selfcare products.

What's on your bucket list?

To travel the world and attempt those Hungry Man challenges

Name your top 5 favorite movies:

- The Wiz
- The Five Heartbeats
- Beasts of the Southern Wild
- The Harry Potter Saga
- The Color Purple

Do you live by any piece of advice or motto?

The way you speak to yourself matters, Be the flame, not the moth.

Anything we didn’t ask (or any last thoughts)

Kittens, traveling, vacations and happy hour= life

Shawntia (Shawn) Jones was born and raised in the sunny city of Deerfield Beach, located in Southern Florida. Growing up, she loved planting in her mothers’ garden, playing outdoors, and getting lost in the adventures of her books.

Shawn began her career in customer service as a greeter, but a couple of months later, she realized her skills were better suited in administration. Shawn has always been skilled at building and maintaining client relationships, while project management has also been part of her personal focus—especially as it relates to client outcomes.

Shawn began working as The Organizer for Best Gurl, inc. January 2021. She has supported Best Gurl by providing support in coordinating with clients, planning projects, executing logistics, managing schedules, and keeping everyone informed and prepared!

When not working, Shawn enjoys volunteering as a foster mom for abandoned and feral kittens, making soaps and other DIY projects. On weekends, you can catch her at brunch, relaxing with family, or lounging around the pool.

If you really want to Get to Know Shawn... check out her Q&A.

A pink piece of paper.

There are many things for me to be thankful for this Christmas Season. Most have to do with family and the joy and happiness you see on the faces of others. Some others come in the mail in bright colors and small envelopes. One came yesterday. The envelope is like any other. What’s inside is what makes me smile. It’s a pink 8.5”x11” Royalty Statement. Pink? Yes! Pink! Why Pink? I don’t know but it gets my attention as soon as I see it.

It’s amazing how that piece of pink paper can lift my spirits with its pleasant memories. 

Is money in the envelope? Yes, that’s a part of the story. But just a part and not the part I’m smiling about. The amount of money is inconsequential. Matter of fact it’s generally not much. This time it’s a net $30.03. Not much to brag about. But like I said it’s not the money. It’s the memories!

I’ve been an active member of the Screen Actors Guild since 1983. It’s not a career I’d planned on. It happened. I’m glad it did. From community theatre on Birmingham’s Southside to the pink paper that travels across the ocean and finds me at home, it happened.

As an actor in the Screen Actors Guild we are paid residuals. Foreign  payments are called Royalties.  Many of the current foreign payments are from productions I was involved in during the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s. 

Whenever I get one of these pink notices, about twice a year or so, I’m excited. Examining the pink paper, prompts me to look back over an unintended career. This payment is for some shows I’ve been in as far back as 23 years ago. But let me get to the point. What makes this thirty dollars so special is that it’s for foreign showings. Yep, this past quarter, I’ve  been in shows and movies exhibited on television, streaming, and Internet services in the countries of Germany, Colombia, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. That makes me smile. I think it’s so cool.

The memories are priceless. Shooting from midnight to dawn outside for three weeks on Jeepers Creepers 2. The pink paper informs me that Jeepers ran in Spain. I remember flying to Los Angeles for the interview for Fight Club and flying back home for our son’s high school graduation.  I got the call the next day telling me I had the job. When I remember the wrap party we had in Hollywood where I danced with Jennifer Anniston, a big smile creases my face. Fight Club ran in Spain and Switzerland. There’s the fun and friendship that still exists that I formed with my friend Joe Slowensky, the writer, on Miracle In The Woods. Miracle In The Woods ran in Germany.  

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel abroad but I’ve never witnessed myself speaking in a foreign tongue in Colombia, Spain, Germany, or Switzerland. That would be cool. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get to see myself speaking in Spanish, French or German in a foreign Country. If not,  I’ll continue to look forward to getting my pretty in pink memories.

A woman, victim of the California/Oregon wildfires, says she is moving. She’s adamant about it. “Out of the state,” she says. “Anywhere.” She can’t take the wildfires any longer. The blazes aren’t just devastating they’re deadly. In the recent fires fifteen people died and millions of acres burned. I get it! I’ve never lived near wild fires. On television they look to be awfully scary.

The weather is more threatening and menacing today than I remember growing up. The seasons themselves are confused. Summer used to reside in the summer months of June, July and August. Now it stretches itself into 6 months. Maybe September and October aren’t officially summer but the heat index says it is just as hot into late October.

So, can you really get away from it all?

Let me pose the question. You’ve decided to move somewhere in the United States. Somewhere safe from natural disasters. Where do you go? Whether it’s global warming or not, extreme weather is everywhere.

I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. We had the occasional thunderstorm. Some bad enough where we would flee to the basement to get out of harm’s way. Now, deadly tornadoes whip through the Birmingham metro area, leaving devastation, death, power outages and temporary homelessness.

The same can be said for the plains areas of the country. In a news clip, two big monster tornadoes touched down in the same town at the same time; tossing deadly debris everywhere.

Of course there is always the Midwest, Chicago and the like. My wife grew up there. Did I mention winter’s below freezing blizzards and summer’s extreme heat??

I lived in Los Angeles for fifteen years. I moved there a few years after the big Northridge quake in ‘94. The damage was worse than a terrorist attack. My cousin would not go back into her home for 3-months fearing the delayed aftershocks. While living there, I would joke, saying that if I was in an earthquake and I lived, and if my car parked in the underground parking garage of the condo building was not damaged, I’d without any delay, drive across country to my home in Florida. I learned not to kid about it. Asleep one morning in my big solid Paul Bunyan four- poster bed, it started bouncing up and down. Had an automobile hit the building, I wondered? Nope! It was an earthquake. At least it was the aftershocks of one. Before I could jump out of bed and run to the doorway, as emergency management instructs, it was over. The bouncing bed calmed down. Scary? Weird? Different? Yes all of that. Turns out it was the aftershock of a
quake nearly 200 miles away. Wow!

On another occasion, while working at my desk in the upstairs office, the building shook, creaked, moaned and rocked. I recognized it right away this time. But again, before I could react, it was over. Again, it was aftershocks. Glad it wasn’t the real deal.

Which brings me to the Florida Gulf Coast and hurricane season. From June through November I’m a constant visitor to the National Hurricane site on my computer; watching the tropical waves spin off the African coast and into the ocean, hoping they don’t grow into monster hurricanes and come our way. As the babies become teenagers and journey across the ocean, I
read the constant updates from the Hurricane Center. Will it grow into a hurricane? A major one? Will it come our way? Will they name it? Who cares? Are we prepared? We’re always prepared! You better be.

We’ve evacuated once. Took us six hours to drive what had been four hours. We’ve been hit, once. Hard! It was that bastard, Ivan, a true monster. Ivan roared through, flexing its muscle. When it left, it took a third of our backyard with it. Drug it back into the bay creating a ten-foot drop. Destroyed our dock and left us with stories we still talk about sixteen years later and permanent scars on our memory. Strangely, he didn’t damage the house. But we had to live with the butchered yard, the ten-foot drop and the missing deck for nearly a year. Laborers who do the repairs once a hurricane hits, have far more business than they can handle. They’ll
agree to take your job and if they show up within six-months you’re lucky. When hurricanes hit there are bigger fish to fry.

When we finally got the decking and sea wall repaired, within one-week Hurricane Daniel came blowing through. Luckily, he was a smaller category 2 hurricane and more of a blowhard. We watched television through it. Never lost power. The seawall held.

While writing this I sat through Hurricane Sally. Never ending rain, causing the water in the bay to rise to dangerous levels. The hard driving wind took several shingles off the roof. Just for fun, she destroyed the dock, and threw our boat around like it was a toy. I hardly recognized it afterward.

We’ll regroup. But back to the original point of this piece.

I’m not kidding when wondering where the lady is going to move. Does a safe spot exist? When she finds out, I hope she’ll let me know.