I’M JUST CURIOUS: Interesting trip to Panama City Beach

by Debbie Walker

Many of you are aware I had moved back to Florida in January. I lived here for 30-plus years before I went back to Maine for a few years. Last month I went on a car trip with my girls, daughter Deana and granddaughter Tristin, to my grandson Blake’s new home of Panama City Beach.

Blake moved from Tallahassee to Panama City Beach in June. He and his girlfriend, Sam, had settled in just a few months before the storm. Their apartment is 7/10ths of a mile from the beach, a beautiful beach, the day I was there. However, I doubt it looked that way during Hurricane Michael this past October. (Hurricane season is considered from June till the end of November.)

I am not going to try to put together the days and hours that storm harassed the west coast of Florida. It’s all been done. This is about six months beyond the actual storm. Friends asked me to take pictures of what I saw. I couldn’t do that. Those sights are embedded in my memory and I am not needing pictures to review the devastation.

On the drive up on Hwy Florida 20 West and US 231S and then onto US 98W we began to notice fallen trees and trees bent way over, lower than was ever intended. For quite a number of miles we only saw forests with like damage. When we changed roads and began seeing homes there were a few with trees down all over the properties. Then we began to see roofs covered with those blue tarps. Even more devastating are the scenes of homes destroyed. You really couldn’t ignore what was becoming more damage to homes. Trees on roofs still, all these months later.

Can you imagine the comfort or lack of, of living in these homes or in the yard in a camper? Imagine, the heat of the summer fast approaching, and these poor people are not going to be prepared for it. Now imagine that area is heading into new storms and a possible problem with wild fires.

Driving into the city and seeing a large number of stores, shops and businesses devastated, and some who have no plans to reopen. Jobs lost, employees who had to relocate to find other employment and even homes to live in.

You continue driving into the city and seeing life going on as if never disturbed. We were there during Spring Break and things were hopping. Of course, all these visitors bring money that guarantee future employment. The area will grow back and once again prosper. After all we are a determined and resilient country.

I’m just curious what I will see for changes the next time I visit that area. Contact me with comments or questions at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thank you for reading!


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