When Hurricanes Turn into “Whangdoodles”

Dear Reader:

What is that old Robert Burns quote again…“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” This quote pretty well sums up our mountain retreat because (Hurricane Florence) “Slow Flo” decided to go with the old adage “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.” And change it she did…every few hours.

This unstable atmosphere did topple plans but opened up opportunities for other plans. Since I am later getting home than expected…it will be tomorrow before I will be able to pull pictures and recreate some of the fun places we did visit in our beloved Saluda.

Just let me say that we had some unusual experiences like running into one couple in different places around our state…a God Wink extraordinaire, gorgeous mountain flowers, and friendly mountain people who we returned (again and again) to talk and laugh with…

Because of all the recent ‘message in a bottle’ blog posts I found a bottle I was going to present to all the Ya’s (at the end of the retreat) and discuss with them possibilities of sending out a Ya “hello” message in it…telling a potential finder a synopsis of our unusual friendship of great longevity.

The next time we have a beach retreat we will definitely have to come up with a great Ya story… including pictures and information on how to find us, put it in the bottle and let her go. Where and when it ends up…nobody knows.

Brooke’s husband, Ted, gave me a book by a friend of his, Clark Thompson, who grew up in Saluda… it had me completely enthralled for hours. The author’s old home place  still exists right off the road where the “Ya mountain retreat” is located.

Isn’t it interesting how every region of our country creates their own imaginary monsters…told  children around campfires and sleep-overs. For Clark…this person was Ed, a friend of the family, who “in his mischievous way, loved to create fear in our young minds by telling stories about monstrous “whangdoodles” who lured victims into a barn and then snatched the little kids.”  

*(Clark and all his siblings were so scared, they got to crossing the street in front of the barn to get to their house next door.)

Hurricanes are adult “whangdoodles” …we fear, not only their  (potentially very real)  physical destructive power, but their psychological destructive power too… on our feelings. Especially if we have lived through such an event.

Just let me say that all the Ya’s are safe and sound with our humble abodes intact. We know how lucky we are…yet these feelings of gratitude are also accompanied by a sense of guilt for those who are not as fortunate.

When I saw pictures of my birthplace and childhood neighborhood in Fayetteville, North Carolina I felt like weeping. I still have some family and friends there. There is no doubt they must feel like the worst “whangdoodle” of a storm took their homes and security away from them in one flash flood accompanied by powerful winds.

As I thought about humankind and our reactions to destruction compared to everything else in nature it reminded me of this story.

So until tomorrow…

A young woman awoke one morning to see where a spider’s web had gone up overnight stretching from the door to the wall. She realized in a moment she would get up, open the door to begin a new day and by doing so destroy the “webby masterpiece.”

What a terrible set-back for the spider yet there wouldn’t be a negative reaction…she wouldn’t shake her spindly legs in fury, fall into a depression, curse the gods of chance, or seek comfort food…instead she would wander over to another corner of the room and start again.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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4 Responses to When Hurricanes Turn into “Whangdoodles”

  1. bcparkison says:

    Can’t wait to read about the new adventure and prayerfully thankful eveything at your place is in place.


  2. Sis Kinney says:

    Good Sunday afternoon, Becky!
    Yeah, Flo certainly had a way about her, didn’t she?! I’ve seen some of the footage of the damage along the coast – Wilmington & New Bern – but also heard that there was some real damage down in Fayetteville. Right now – even though she’s been downgraded to “just” a Tropical Storm – she’s decided to hover over the mountain areas. We’ve been having rainfall, mostly ON, through the night and on it continues. Not hard rain, but rain nonetheless. Our Land Harbor Police Chief called for voluntary evacuations for a couple of portions of Land Harbor – who would be cut off from all emergency services if the Linville River should keep rising and go over the main bridge to these two areas (the “other” bridge has already been flooded over and thus is NOT an option as an escape route for these two areas). Fortunately, we are no where near those two areas and we can get out via several different routes.
    Some of the “hype” on the Weather Channel has been just that – hype. But, people have paid attention and made provisions for themselves, for the most part.
    Glad you’re safe and the Low Country was minimally affected. Am looking forward to hearing your tales of your Ya’s Mountain Retreat!!!
    Much love,


    • Becky Dingle says:

      The nice thing about adventures is you don’t know the adventure is just waiting….a few curve balls from hurricane flo and our plans were turned upside down….but that leads to learning new roads home, shared overnights, new tourist sites…life just wants us to take the back roads in life and get off the main highway sometimes I believe.


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