Over the years of playing sports, I played in a lot of scrimmages. They were usually uneventful, but a lot of lingering questions about preparation, strategy and execution were often answered at the right time — before a full-scale game.
So, let's consider our Florida West Coast's brush with Hurricane Dorian a scrimmage.
Early on, as Dorian began strengthening and appeared directed toward a head-on hit on Florida's East Coast and a cross-state track that could have delivered hurricane-force winds on our West Coast, the backup plan for our small household was to head slightly inland, where family members live away from the water in a suburban setting with buried power lines.
As the Manatee-Sarasota region was moved out of the 'cane cone, we decided to stay in place. That meant thinking about moving some of the lightweight plants and decorations off the eastward-facing, second-story balcony and pondering whether to move some of the greenery in pots that seem to get heavier by the year into corners less susceptible to the wind.
Those were useful exercises but are specific to our conditions. Following are some anecdotes that will help us, and perhaps others, prepare in advance — before a hurricane bears down upon our coast:
• "Honey, were is the rechargeable flashlight?" I asked.
"I thought you had it last," my wife replied.
Search ensued, rechargeable light not found. Lesson learned: Don't assume you know where your basic supplies are located; find an easily accessible place to fetch them and keep them there.
• I also asked, "Where are the screws and wingnuts for the hurricane panels we have to put in place?" (Most of our home has permanent shutters.)
We finally found them but not without some anxiety and a few f-bombs; imagine the reaction if a storm was really approaching.
• "Here are some battery-powered flashlights," my wife said, handing them to me along with a bag of batteries.
Some worked, some didn't. Worse, it was difficult to see, despite the house lights and reading glasses, which ways the batteries are supposed to be inserted.
Lesson: Don't wait until the power is out and it's dark to check and install batteries.
• Even four days before a possible landfall, don't assume bottled water and gasoline will be readily available. They were sold out in most of our neighborhood.
• Remember that sensation when you seriously asked: "Is this thing going to hit us, too?" And if you prayed for Dorian to stay away, pray now for the people who felt his wrath.
Tom Tryon is opinion editor.