“There but for the grace of God, we are still here. It’s like when something bad happens in New York City, they are Americans for a short while. They pull together. We are like that. We are all Americans right now. It will take a little while before we go back to our corners and argue about things that don’t really matter much.”
These words from Ron Baldry of Marianna appeared in today’s Tallahassee Democrat. They summarize the thoughts of many in Florida’s Panhandle and Big Bend region. Tallahassee saw quite a bit of damage from Hurricane Michael. Power has been out for days (and still is as I write this). Trees are down, buildings are damaged, and in nearby communities some lost their lives to the storm. And we didn’t get the worst of it. Communities such as Marianna, where Mr. Baldry lives, saw utter devastation. Areas like Mexico Beach have seen many buildings completely washed away by the storm. Residents report the eerie feeling of trying to navigate their hometowns when the landmarks they’ve used for years are gone.
Mr. Baldry’s alluding to boxers going back to their corners is apt for Tallahassee. This city serves as Florida’s center for arguing about things. Right now, those things don’t matter much. In time, the boxers inevitably will return to the ring and duke it out over things that don’t seem important right now, but for now the way these communities are pulling together it what really matters. And for some of them, this sustaining spirit will need to last quite a while because the road to recovery will be a long one.