Dr. John, one of my favorite New Orleans entertainers, released a song in ’73 called “In the Right Place,” but most of you probably know it as “Right Place, Wrong Time.” You know, this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW6Zn3ZF7Do
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? “I been in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time” or “I must have said the right thing, but I must have used the wrong line.”
I was reminded of this song this weekend by a couple of my friends who were recently in the right place at the wrong time.
Last week, my friend Jennifer, who lives in southern Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, left there to go to Washington state for a wedding and then head up to Alaska for vacation. Sounds simple enough….but she didn’t count on Hurricane Irene doing something that hurricanes don’t normally do.
Jenn was leaving southern Florida ahead of Irene and flying to the Pacific Northwest. And as a veteran of many hurricanes, she knew her travel plans wouldn’t be impacted. But in Seattle, so far away from Irene, she ran into problems. Why? Because Irene did something that hurricanes just don’t DO….she went to New Jersey.
So there was Jenn in Seattle, trying to get to Anchorage and she was being stymied by a hurricane more than 2,500 miles away. Again, why? Because so many flights to Seattle originate out of Newark or New York City that there weren’t any planes coming in to take her to Anchorage! Not only was it a Dr. John moment….right place, wrong time….it was a Walt Disney moment, too. It really is a small world after all.
But Jenn finally did make it to Alaska, and was having a fine time, when the earthquake hit! By that time, she was far enough north in Alaska that it didn’t really affect her, but it certainly gave her pause. What else, she wondered, could go wrong. Finding the sky clear of locusts, she felt pretty secure again. The East Coast airports had reopened, and getting home to Florida would be a breeze!
And then Tropical Storm Lee decided to pay a call on the US Gulf Coast. Jenn’s flight home to Fort Meyers, Florida was going through Houston. From Houston, she had a direct flight to Fort Meyers. But, whoa, not so fast there, pardner. A direct flight would mean flying right through Lee.
Now you all know how, at the end of your vacation, you just wanna get home as quickly as possible. Unpack your bags and sleep in your own bed. See your pets; check your mail. But for Jenn, that just didn’t happen. Another Dr. John moment. Instead of a relatively short hop from Houston to Fort Meyers, the last I heard from her was that she was headed to Birmingham, Alabama, then to Atlanta, and then….hopefully….on to Fort Meyers.
Will she ever return??? Check out her blog to see: http://www.solotravelgirl.com/
And then there’s my friend Shalene. Ten years ago or so, Sha and I worked together in Everglades National Park. Sha was the equivalent of the harbormaster at Flamingo marina, located on the very southern tip of mainland Florida. The woman knows a little something about hurricanes and water issues resulting therefrom. Many times she and her staff battened down the hatches at the marina with the advent of a hurricane’s approach.
Securing things at a marina when a hurricane is approaching is quite a task, even in a harbor as small as that at Flamingo. It requires getting all the boats…from small fishing vessels to relatively large tourist sightseeing boats…away from the docks so that neither the boats nor the docks are damaged. It’s a lot of work that must be done very quickly. At Flamingo Marina, where getting the boats onshore and inland is not an option, it means taking them out into open water if you can and securing them there.
And, then, of course, you have to evacuate your employees and yourself. At Flamingo that meant getting out of the Park as rapidly as possible. There’s only one road into and out of Flamingo. On a clear, sunny day, it’s about a 45 minute drive just to reach the next populated area, Homestead. But since Homestead will also likely be in the hurricane’s path, you need to get more north or more west, depending on the hurricane’s path.
For several years, Sha did just that and avoided the residual effects of hurricanes. Eventually, she returned to her native Northeast and settled down in Connecticut, where she’s been happily ensconced for a number of years. Until last week.
That was the week when Hurricane Irene did yet another thing that hurricanes don’t normally do. She went to Connecticut. So after years of dodging the bullet in Florida, Sha found herself in her house without water and power for about a week. A totally Dr. John moment! Right place, wrong time indeed.
So here’s to being in the right place at the right time…..or at least coming out relatively unscathed by being in the right place at the wrong time!