Thank God and Greyhound she’s gone

Published 3:35 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

Country music and Hee Haw star Roy Clark was one of the entertainers that we lost this year. One of his musical hits was “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone.” I would not be disappointed if I heard someone say something like that regarding this 2018 to which we are saying good-bye.

Every year is different, but it’s not a stretch at all to say that this year to which we are bidding adieu has been like no other. For that I say, “I hope so.”

This morning, on the last day of this year, I’m looking out the windows and seeing limbs and cut tree trunks piled high by the road of my house. I have many hopes for the New Year and one of them is that by this time next year, I’ll see an empty ditch and no blue tarps on the roofs of houses. I know that won’t be the case, but I can still hope, can’t I?

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Even though today is the last day of the year, for many, the year ended on October 10. That’s the date that Hurricane Michael tore through our fair city. In all the recaps of the newspapers in southwest Georgia and northwest Florida, a summary of the year’s events begins and ends with Hurricane Michael.

We no longer have to wonder how we would feel if Mother Nature would hit us as it has hit other areas of the nation. Before October 10, 2018, we might have had sympathy for the victims of tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic explosions, and the likes, but now we know how they feel. And it’s not a good feeling.

Donna Sue and I were fortunate to spend the Christmas week at Panama City Beach and the most prevalent sign in that section of the Gulf Coast is “Now Open.”

It was my first trip to that area since Hurricane Michael and I was anxious to see how that area had been affected. Most lives have been turned upside-down from Mexico and Panama City beaches all the way up through the hundreds of miles into south Georgia.

Donna Sue’s heart had been broken from the sights of that Florida area, but I wanted to take the drive down Highway 98 from Panama City to Port St. Joe. Somewhere in there-abouts, the eye of Hurricane Michael came ashore. I guess it’s sort of like those who stop to look at car wrecks.

I have hesitated to call the aftermath of Michael anything like a war zone because I have so much respect and reverence for a real war zone. But, finally, I had to admit that this area looked like a bombed-out war zone.

From Tyndall to Mexico Beach, there used to be thousands of acres of healthy pine forests. All of the healthy pine trees had been broken in two by the hurricane. The only trees that were left standing were the young and skinny ones that could withstand the winds because they could sway. The big ones were all gone.

Of all the sights, even the devastation of Mexico Beach, the destroyed forests hit me the hardest. Most of us do not have enough years to see them come back. They’re gone!

Meanwhile back here in south Georgia, there is the question of how do we overcome this past year. There is no easy answer, but I have been impressed many times in my life by the resilience of the human spirit when aided by God’s Spirit.

Somehow, someway, we’ll come back. I’ll just say this about 2018. Thank God and Greyhound she’s gone!