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A Memory from Paradise

Hurricane Dorian wiped out one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Now, 10391612_1277792467505_1799334_nyou must understand I’m no world traveler, but Abaco Island in the Bahamas is stunning. We visited for an extended weekend during the child-raising years, so, my memory fails me as to exactly how long ago it was. A decade at least.

The water was stunningly blue and so clear. I was in such need of a vacation at the time and so grateful to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law for their offer to whisk us all away to the islands. There were six of us:  My husband, his brother, his sister, their spouses, and me. All family.

It was cold when we left Atlanta and we’d checked our luggage, so we arrived in sweatshirts and jeans. Unfortunately, our luggage didn’t arrive with us. The resort where we were staying offered to have an employee drive us in their Suburban to Marsh Harbour, a half hour away to get swimsuits and t-shirts so we could go to the beach until our luggage arrived. Good thing, because the luggage didn’t come until the next day.

Marsh Harbour is a small town of around 6,000 people. It’s not built for hurricanes nor is it a large tourist destination. Marsh Harbour is filled with local people, shops, a post office, grocery stores, and is the largest town to service the island’s needs. The young woman who drove us to “town” from the resort was one of my favorite parts of the trip.

I don’t remember her name, but the young woman who drove the Suburban warned us that people on the island didn’t like her. When we asked why, she sighed and smiled. Then told a tragic tale. Apparently, this lovely girl was an outsider who’d recently married an eligible local man (a real hottie), which enraged the local women. She took one of theirs. Then, shortly after she moved there, she avoided hitting a stray dog on the road and knocked down a power pole instead. This took out power to nearly the island for the better part of a week (could have been longer, I can’t remember). Apparently, stray dogs are like vermin, and better off dead to many locals. So, avoiding one and causing great trouble for the residents was adding insult to injury in their minds.

She considered herself the most hated person on the island. So, taking us into town in the company Suburban was like showing up with a neon flashing sign over her head. I guess she was warning us in case things didn’t go well.

As soon as I heard about the destruction of Abaco and Marsh Harbour, the memories immediately resurfaced from our fun weekend a decade ago. I can’t imagine how anyone survived a category 5 hurricane in structures not meant for such weather. It’s a terrible tragedy and my heart bleeds for the people and their beautiful home.