A Note from the Editor Mike Phillips – Hurricane Ian Memories

Mike Phillips – Observer editor

corpus christie hurrican
Corpus Christi Texas

The first time I covered a hurricane, I was just a kid with a good education and a smidgen of experience. It was Celia, which rampaged into Corpus Christi TX on Aug, 3, 1970. The damage totalled almost $1 million, when that was real money. The deaths were 28. And that was just a category 3 hurricane..

I was part of a team sent hastily from San Antonio. We camped out in a flimsy Holiday Inn right on the edge of the bay, We didn’t deserve to survive that decision, but we did.

Celia taught me to recognize the sound of not breaking, but high-speed shattering glass. It taught me that thunder is just a warm-up for true natural anger. And it taught me that the other occupants of the Holiday Inn, a tribe of pot-smoking hippies, were even less prepared for real life than I was. Which, strangely, comforted me.

Every hurricane comes with stories and ends with even more stories. Ian, which might be more about water than wind when it arrives here, is this year’s hurricane story in Nassau County. (So far.)

But I know what will be happening a day or two after Ian goes to Georgia. The stories will begin.

I love hurricane stories. They usually begin with some level of fear, continue with dirty work days and end with a big laugh over a pint of beer. They are stories of life. Real life.

So here is my challenge to every Nassau County resident who is encountering Ian – either at home or in a motel somewhere – tell me your story. And don’t forget that a photograph is a story, too. Send your written stories or photographs to me at nkymikephillips@gmail.com. You’ll be covering sights or experiences from today through Saturday and maybe a little longer if Ian is tardy.

I don’t have time to organize a jury, but I’m a pretty good judge of writing and photography.

I will award cash prizes to the five top winners in each category, from $250 to $50. They’ll tell us all something about who we are. They’ll create memories we can tell the kids. There is no deadline at the moment. Art can take awhile. I’ll monitor submissions and come to what seems like a reasonable end to this challenge.

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