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franklin county times

Mother Nature's heart-breaking fury

By By Stephanie Denham / editorial assistant
September 28, 2004
I am amazed as I look around Meridian and see all of the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan. It was bad enough. But photos of the Alabama and Florida coastal areas are truly astonishing.
I know that this is something caused by "Mother Nature," but as I lay in my bed last week trying to sleep through all the roaring wind, driving rain and limbs falling on my roof, it was surely not "Mother Nature" that I was praying to.
I look at the photos of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Perdido Key and Pensacola and my heart breaks for all the people whose homes have been washed away or blown away or flooded.
Perdido Key, Fla., is one of my favorite places on earth. There is nothing like walking those shores and finding the shells and looking out at the waters at daybreak or dusk. I love the beach and the water. I feel somehow relaxed and totally at home when there. I feel renewed and restored both spiritually and physically after spending time there.
I just hurt somehow knowing that the beaches will be changed and familiar places are gone and may not return.
I look around Meridian and see the huge trees gone and I think that they are gone forever as some were so big; there is no doubt some of them were old. We will never see trees that size again in those areas in our lifetime and it just hurts somehow.
I am truly amazed that so much work was done so quickly by so many people to restore power and phones and the comforts we all share. They must have worked in extremely uncomfortable and stressful situations. They all should be commended and proud of the work they did.
Meridian is such a beautiful city. We moved here in July 1989 and have been here ever since. I love Meridian. I love having people and friends visit from other areas and around the world and I love showing them Meridian. Almost always everyone says, "It is so green. I love the hills and the big trees."
When I am out showing people Meridian, I tell them it is big enough to get what you need and close enough to bigger places to get what you want. No, there is no beach in Meridian but it is close enough to get there easily.
I know that I am not a native of Meridian but I consider it my home. Although only in the South do you live in a place for years and years, and when you die, you will always be listed as being from wherever you were born.
I was born in Laurel but have lived in Meridian for many years; therefore, I will be "from Laurel" when I die.
The people of Meridian are so giving and loving that it amazes me to hear anyone say they don't like Meridian. All of my neighbors and I were out last Thursday in the rain checking on each other and seeing who needed what. That is just the way my street is.
My trees are still standing in my yard and the sky is still going to be blue tomorrow. I am proud and glad and thankful that I live in Meridian. I will be so very glad when I can once again go to the beach and walk along the shores that I love and then return to the green of Meridian.
Stephanie Denham is an editorial assistant at The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3303, or e-mail sdenham@themeridianstar.com.

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