Editorial: Working in the rain; Down East still recovering

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 10, 2019

We’ve all complained about the wet weather. Our yards are mudholes. Some of our drives are impassable. We’ve lost our sunglasses.

But in reality, most of us don’t have that much to complain about.

Johnny Frye looked out his window the other week toward Oak Street in Mocksville. There was a crew from Mocksville public works, installing a new tap for a customer. It was pouring rain. It was windy. The temperature was hovering around 40.

But they were there. Working to get someone hooked onto the water system. Up to their knees in water, they were there, working diligently.

When Johnny approached them, they were polite.

Put me in freezing, rainy weather and tell me to work … I might do it, but be polite? Some of us have our limits.

But not the guys who toil for public works, and that goes for the County of Davie workers as well. They have a job to do, and the weather doesn’t matter. Much of the time, their work involves deep trenches and ditches.

“They’re very dedicated and somebody needs to know how hard these guys work,” Johnny said. “They had to lay down on their stomachs in the mud to help this lady.”

Johnny’s right.

Thanks, guys. It may not seem like it, but you are appreciated.

• • •

Driving onto a residential street in Morehead City on Saturday afternoon, we waited for a truck delivering roofing materials to make a wide right turn. The weather was actually sunny and warm, so we rolled down our windows. You could hear workers hammering on rooftops from every direction.

I counted five roofs being worked on in about a half-mile drive. I could hear more in the distance.

It’s been nearly four months since Hurricane Florence dumped unheard of amounts of rain on the area, in addition to the 100 mph-plus winds. The area still has not recovered.

The Carteret County Times News reported that some 80 staff members in the county school system were still displaced from their homes. Nearly 900 students in the system still suffer the same consequence. They’ve established a foundation to help these teachers and bus drivers, students and custodians.

There was a story of one school system employee who, while still in her home, can only live in two of the rooms. She was having trouble collecting on insurance. Even some of those who do have insurance are having trouble finding qualified people to make the repairs.

Talk about wet. Talk about mold. Talk about four months of not knowing where you’re going to live. Rentals are hard to come by, as most of them were damaged or destroyed, too.

I have one relative there who lives on the second floor of a condominium complex on the mainland — probably the highest point in Morehead City. Her windows rated for 200 mph winds held, but water still came through. She awoke one morning to small crabs crawling over her living room floor. Remember, her condo is well off ground level, and it is maybe 100 yards or so from the Bogue Sound.

There was another story about a kitchen cabinet. The home had not been breached by the rain, but it was so wet for so long that the protective coating on  the cabinets just peeled off. Homes that seemed to have survived the storm now have floors that are buckling, walls that are showing signs of mold.

It’s only natural to complain about all of the wet weather we’ve had since last fall. They’ve had that extra rain Down East, too, on top of the hurricane wind and rain (A tornado also struck the area right after the hurricane.)

There’s that saying that no matter how bad you think things are, it’s worse for someone else. Think about our neighbors Down East, and help if you can.