As the winds picked up, my father lowered the electric hurricane shutters on my parents' 21st-floor condo in Naples, Fla. It was the middle of the day, but then we lost power, and it became dark as night inside. My mother clicked on a battery-powered radio, and we gathered around it, staring at the glow of its digital clock as if mesmerized by a campfire.
When I arrived, Hurricane Charley was a blip of a tropical storm. Now it was heading toward the Gulf Coast, and my parents had decided to tough it out.
Fearful that the windows in the penthouse above us had blown in, my father began scouting for leaks with his flashlight, leaving my mother and me to keep vigil at the radio . . . "projected path . . . imminent danger . . . take cover." He stopped suddenly at a closet and, in a hushed voice, summoned me. The clothes inside were swaying gently back and forth on their hangers, the open closet door keeping time. The winds of Charley were pushing the building.
Despite the rising temperature in the condo, we wrapped ourselves in comforting blankets and dozed. I watched my parents sleep, their faces illuminated by the clock's glow. Suddenly, I had a sense of deja vu. It was 1976, and we were on a camping trip, surrounded by mountains instead of water, enveloped in sleeping bags instead of blankets. At 39 years old, as the storm's rage intensified, I felt as safe and snug as I had nearly three decades ago.
Darcy Cors, Ashburn
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