2018 started out with a bang, full of hope, and a renewed sense of spirit. We hit the road March through May and enjoyed getting to see so many of you, old friends and new!
On top of other tensions that were already building in my life, our building took a hard hit during hurricane Michael. The storm was to hit in the night which made me incredibly nervous. We already had a few bad leaks, so we prepared as much as we could by putting out plastic and extra buckets, just in case something bad happened during the storm.
Matt and I even had sleeping bags ready in the vault that was part of the old bank. We prepared to spend the night, to keep an eye on things. We boarded up the windows best we could and headed home to have supper and a moments rest before a long night. At about 7:00 that evening we decided to go back down and check on things. The rain had started but wasn't too bad yet. When I unlocked the upstairs door I could already hear the terrible sound of rain pouring in. I had a sweet friend with me and we ran upstairs as fast as we could only to find that the roof had already been peeled back and water was pouring in. It was so bad that there were a few spots that we could see the night sky.
As the storm worsened Matt and I sent everyone home, except my sweet Dad that insisted on staying with us. He manned the downstairs trying to move buckets and save merchandise. Matt and I manned the upstairs trying bale water as fast as we could. The short version of the story is, we baled water for eight hours. The power went out at 10 so we baled in the dark. We tried so hard but the water was relentless and we quickly started to lose the battle. I have never felt so helpless in all of my life. Around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., Mom, Tara and Phillip came back to help us and I have never been so relieved and overjoyed to see three people. The six of us worked until 3:00 am, or a little after, just trying to empty buckets enough to be able to leave. Over the next two days we spent countless hours cleaning, dumping, drying, calling repair men and insurance agents. When it was all said and done, we lost a large portion of our roof and two upstairs windows. We were only without power at the building for about 18 hours, and about 24 hours at home.
I didn't want the blog to become so much about the hurricane, but is was such a traumatic experience for me, I have realized that it really affected me more that I thought it did at the time. Even though it was so hard, I do know that we were truly blessed throughout the whole situation. I know that what we had to deal with was nothing compared to the folks that lost entire homes, entire crops, and entire businesses. I know that the Lord was with us through the whole process because I know that my tired body could not have done what we did for so many hours without His strength. We had countless friends and neighbors show up over the coming days to help and check on us. Jorjanne's husband, Chris, brought a freezer truck from their farm to help us save most of our food supply for The Cafe. It really could have been so much worse, and I am truly thankful for the help and support of our community. This is such a perfect example of one of the joys of small town living!
We powered through Christmas with a spectacular Christmas Open House at our shop and two successful Christmas shows. Thanks to all of you that shopped and visited with us during the Christmas season. You don't know how much we needed your love and support this year!
As we now roll into the end of January, I am determined to get out of my funk and leave 2018 behind me! The girls and I have taken the last few weeks to rest, catch up on some things that we got behind on, and try to get ready for a great new year! We have been working on some beautiful new products for the store and a fun blog schedule of great new tips and recipes. We are finalizing the dates and plans for our Spring travel schedule and we hope you will make plans to come see us while we are on the road! We are determined to make 2019 the best year yet for The Southern Mercantile and we hope you'll come along for the ride!