01 September 2011

I've been reading...Hurricane Hugo

"It is the morning of September 21, 1989. The dogs of Charleston have begun to whimper in collective terror while the cats of the city are languorous and unconcerned. The windows of the great houses wear plywood eyeglasses as folks gird their homes against a storm still four hundred miles away. The air in the city is ominous and strange and illuminated from the outside in. A pretty lady plays the harp in the window of a mansion on East Bay. When she finishes, she rises and curtsies to a gathering of swells that have gathered for a hurricane party. Hugo will crash this party with his terrible dark fist. By tomorrow, the people of South Carolina will know all there is to know about the rules of the storm. The rules are biased and hard.

In an emergency meeting at the News and Courier, the journalists receive a briefing from a grim-faced meteorologist who has tracked the storm for days. He refers to Hugo as "monstrous, lunatic, and unpredictable." ...

'Where do you think it will hit? What's your best guess?' a reporter asks.

'Sir, I think it's going to hit Charleston,' he replies. 'It's coming right at us.' "

South of Broad, by Pat Conroy

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