I apologize to my faithful readers for the recent pause in blogging. Two weeks ago, my family was preparing for the threat of Hurricane Irma. Later that week we fled the state of Florida for the friendlier environs of South Carolina. Our 19-hour trip up I-75 featured long traffic delays and the need to find gas. By the time we got to the GA/FL line we abandoned the interstate for back country roads to be greeted by less traffic, shorter gas lines and no collisions with white-tailed deer. We were fortunate to arrive safely and be met by caring relatives at their front door at 4:30 in the morning. They graciously took us into their home and put up with us for five days and nights. Even 600 miles from home, the remnants of Irma found us and knocked out the power in this refuge for 24 hours.
My brother-in-law fed us two wonderful home-cooked meals, brought in some gourmet pizza from the restaurant up the road, and supplied us with all the wine we could imbibe. Other than that, we survived on fast food and processed food. The experience helped me appreciate the much-maligned network of fast-food oases just off the interstate when needing a quick, hot meal before getting back on the road. It is also comforting to have available nonperishable food in packages that can be opened and consumed when off the electrical grid. By the way, it looks like I lost about two pounds over the week that I was away from home. Not that such a life is ideal, as I suffered digestive consequences from eating less vegetables and wonder about the current status of my microbiome. Nonetheless, quick, convenient food is a blessing in times of stress and anxiety.
Some of our convenient, processed foods. Have you tried a peanut butter burrito!?
The experience was an emotional one for me. We were very fortunate to be able to escape the state and stay in a home rather than a shelter. We returned to a house with no damage, a yard littered with broken limbs and other vegetative waste, a large palm tree that was once straight now leaning at a dangerous angle, and power restored within 24 hours of our arrival. Many others in the county and the state were not so lucky. My heart goes out to them. It is one thing to see the destruction on television caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. It is much more powerful, however, when visions of trees falling on the house or black, garbage bags full of accumulated stuff piled on beds floating on the surface of filthy water invaded my brain while struggling to get to sleep.
Home sweet home. Note the leaning Bismarck Palm.
On another note, I am pleased to congratulate Travis Moore on his selection as one of the 40 under 40 UGA honored last week at an alumni luncheon in Atlanta. Travis graduated in Food Science in 2003, and I was his academic advisor. That was back when Food Science had a limited undergraduate enrollment. He is using that education and his experience to serve as Senior Brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch. I had hoped to attend the awards luncheon, but I was headed home to Florida. I am very proud of Travis and his accomplishments. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing my students succeed and thinking that I might have had a small part in that success.
Finally, I direct those of you who are interested in an interview I did by cell phone in my car while returning to Florida at the end of last week. Don’t worry, my wife was driving. Oops, I did it again! I guess I said more than I should have said! See what you think.
I am not exactly sure what will happen next week with my blog, but I plan to have it back up and running by the first week of October.