Those words were uttered by two people in different conversations concerning the same subject: Hurricane Michael and the past 365 days.
I guess, to be technical and factual and all that, for anybody reading this on the day the newspaper hits the stands it will actually be 366 days.
One aside before we get started: even as the drought deepens, one will not hear a lot of folks, as in the past, say all we need is a good tropical storm.
So, maybe weird fits.
Not the adjective that would immediately come to this toadstool of a brain, but not far off either as I ponder these words.
Because I have to step out of myself when it comes to Hurricane Michael, objectivity, distance just is not there.
So that is strange to me.
I watched from my place of shelter as one, two and three huge trees toppled over, barely missing a house and shed.
I stepped out from my shelter that Wednesday afternoon to see my neighborhood, the neighborhoods I frequented, buried beneath trees ripped from the ground as if pick-up sticks.
And I walked to State 71 and found it blocked by trees, rode a golf cart in a maze of blocks to my home without finding a root that was clear of trees or debris.
When finally I reached home, in the surge zone, I found my house destroyed and my transportation, my good old Malibu, standing a kilter on my front porch.
I had the realization that the garbage bags of clothes you carried when you fled was the extent of your belongings.
The days without power, the droning nightly sounds identifying those who had an operational generator, the caravan of trucks and vehicles deployed around town to repair broken power lines and clear roads.
The tree climber who pulled a move the best high-wire circus performer would envy to remove that last limb preventing power from running to the home I was staying in at the time.
The weeks in a small room in that home followed by weeks in a trailer parked outside work.
But my memories are little different from yours, from anybody’s; we share a common bond of the stories we can tell about Hurricane Michael and the dramatic impacts.
They begin to sound similar, but they are our own, sharing a commonality of survival.
In church this past week, I will wait while the laughter stops, there was shown a graphic of emotions from pre-storm to post-storm to anniversary and onward.
In appearance, it could have been the community’s EKG and was crafted by a member of the cloth following Hurricane Katrina.
In very short strokes, the graph showed a high, of adrenaline I suppose, around the storm and the immediate impacts, the days following when keeping one foot in front of the other is paramount.
In the months that followed all the way to the first anniversary, the line on the graph dips in fits and starts, but on a general downward trajectory as reality settles into the heart and soul and life must struggle on.
The basement arrives around the time of the first anniversary, when the pain, disruption, stress, anxiety and heartache hit a nadir.
Maybe the celebration of that anniversary lances the boil we have carried these 300-plus days.
After the anniversary, the graph showed a steady upward trajectory.
I will focus on that in the next couple of days.
And the people who provided reminders of community, of survival in the face of, well, not, who brought a smile when one seemed extinct.
The chainsaw gangs, like one led by Scooter Acre, that woke up each morning after the storm with a list of streets and residents to free.
Stephanie Pool, who worked out of the Highland View Volunteer Fire Department for months providing relief supplies until her pregnancy sidelined her.
Regina Washabaugh, who all but single-handedly took over distribution points providing clothes and looked out for people, their sizes, and worked tirelessly to ensure people were clothed.
Mary Lou Cumbie, Marlene Sewell, where this community would be without this mother/daughter stick of glue I have no clue, but there they were at various shelters and food distribution points every single day.
Linda Griffin, who took in a stranger who was boating past on Michael’s surge and saved her from certain drowning (full disclosure, we are talking about my daughter).
The individuals, and there were many, who kept the big white tent at County 386 stocked with supplies for distribution to the many needy families along St. Joe Beach, Beacon Hill and Mexico Beach.
The many cooks, from the chefs of 30A in Walton County, to restaurant owners in Alabama and Georgia, who descended on the area and provided free meals most welcome given the alternative of MREs.
The individuals and organizations, music stars to family foundations to the grandson of a former Lions Club member, who raised money, supplies, even a gymnasium full of Christmas gifts, for crying out loud.
And those who spent precious gas seeking supplies out of the area and returning to distribute those supplies to the neediest.
I remember those people, those organizations, those hearts and souls, and somehow the last half of that graph I saw the other day seems more realistic.
That upward line, steady and sure, could only be drawn by a community that includes so many who showed up, who reached out, who extended a hand while their other hand was damaged.
Who smiled in the face of devastation and carried on.
Those, and so many others, are the ones who draw the line of rebuild.