The only alteration I’m going to make in this story, the only untrue portion, will be the name of my friend who experienced hurricane Andrew first hand.  He has since passed away – but I still wish not to identify him.

“Jack” lived with his wife in Islamorada which is in the Florida Keys beyond Key Largo and Tavernier.  He drove all of the way to the Kendall area of Miami-Dade County to his full-time job as a college science professor.

When Andrew was near and threatening he and his wife drove to Cutler Ridge in southern Miami-DadeCounty to gather with other family members at his son’s house.  I’m not exactly certain on this point, but I think that at the time it was suspected that Andrew might strike the Keys directly.  In any event, they had no business in the Keys considering the size of the storm surge that might occur there – somewhat akin to the situation that Keys occupants are in right now due to hurricane Ike.

As it turns out, Cutler Ridge received some of the strongest winds of the storm.  The leading edge of the eye made initial landfall south of Cutler Ridge near Convoy Point (after having crossed Elliot Key which is located at the eastern margin of Biscayne Bay).  They got the right-hand leading quadrant.

According to Jack, the family members there – consisting of several adults, some children, and two dogs crowded into the master bathroom during the storm.  They had decided that room was the safest and they were probably correct.  In South Florida most of the houses have their plumbing in the attic and the supply lines come down from there, usually between studs that support the dry wall.  That provides extra strength to a room which because of its compactness probably has more structural integrity than larger rooms anyway.  The happy end to his story was that no one was hurt but that everyone was pretty shook up.  The house had suffered some very costly damage.  Some contents were ruined because of partial roof failure.

After hearing a bit of Jack’s story about that scary experience I responded, “Jack, I hope you don’t mind my asking this but I’m so curious – did any one of you have to use the bathroom during the 3 hours or so that you were huddled in there?”

His answer: “Well, you know – I believe that one time or another every one of us, except the dogs who were naked, went in our pants!”

I didn’t ask for any more detail.

Leave it to Jack to pepper his response with a little bit of truth and a big, broad smile!

By the way, the area where Jack and his wife lived was undamaged by the storm.  It was compact and fast and had no great impact upon Islamorada – having skirted to the north of that wonderful island.

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