Coastal North Carolina has been plagued by “F” words.

Fran, Floyd and Florence who were accompanied by their wicked step child, flood.

Flood waters – this aspect of a storm may now lead to a new level of determining the category of storm.

Fatigue - Once everyone realizes how much work is actually ahead of them, the “fatigue” starts to set in and people feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I just sit down in the sun and close my eyes and pretend it’s all cleaned up and everything is back on track. I’m going to need a lot of sunny days!

Fog – Brain fog is when you lose track of time and day or have a really hard time remembering things that happened recently. This is a result of lack of sleep, excessive stress and altered diet. I know I have eaten enough peanut butter sandwiches to last a few years.

Family and Friends - Is there a quick fix back to normal? Nope, afraid not, but helping family and friends may be one way to keep ourselves pre-occupied. I remember as a kid it was always easier to help my friend clean her room then it was to clean my own.

Furry friends – Whether you own pets or not, you have seen the heart felt images of horses stuck on porches to avoid drowning. You can’t just pick up a large animal and put them in the back seat of your car. Making a decision to leave livestock is never easy and in most cases, animals are better able to protect themselves then we are! One of my peacocks (who refused to be captured) was waiting for me the day after the storm as if nothing happened. That crazy bird!

In the strangest case yet, a woman who brought care and shelter to animals being charged with “practicing veterinarian medicine without a license” by applying over the counter meds to animals in need. Ummm what? Hello? Did she have fake business cards made up with her wearing a white coat? Did she charge anyone for care? Please people, if this, for any reason, crossed your radar as being an urgent and serious matter to prosecute – it’s not. Kindness being punished.

Food – Red Cross and local agencies have been amazing, to say the least, at preparing hot meals or providing food and supplies to those in need. Providence Baptist Church in Holly Ridge set up an entire building (as did others) on a volunteer basis to get diapers, cleaning supplies and food to our community.

The most important lesson to be learned during these tragedies are that you have no idea what the person next to you is going through or has lost – so be kind. It is okay to listen, it is okay to hug, it is okay to make someone laugh – it may just be the medicine they need.


Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.