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Remembering Hurricane Al

Seeing the hurricanes lined up in the Gulf of Mexico last week reminded me of living on Folly Beach. I loved living there but hurricanes were always a concern.

I hadn’t spent much time on the beach before I moved to Folly but I adapted to the lifestyle with ease. The pace of life was slow and people seemed to take time to enjoy themselves every day. I liked that.

I saw some things on Folly I’d never seen before. One of my first nights there I was looking off into the darkness over the Atlantic when I saw an orange flash. I kept my eyes glued to that spot and the flashes of orange multiplied. I realized I was seeing lightning so far off its color had faded. Too far for thunder to carry.

A day or two later I saw a dolphin chase a school of shad out of the shallows and up onto the sand, temporarily stranding itself. The dolphin ate as many shad as it could before the waves washed back in and pulled it back out into the surf. I watched the dolphin’s fin get smaller as it swam back out to sea. 

I met some interesting characters on Folly. One of the first was a guy named Cap’n Al Morris. His baritone voice and thick accent made it nearly impossible for me to understand anything he said. If he grumbled something and smiled, I nodded my head and smiled too. If he frowned, I kind of shook my head in disgust. If he laughed, I laughed along. 

Cap’n Al was a big man and very strong. He had white hair and a white beard and mustache. I guessed him to be in his early 50s. I knew he was a Vietnam veteran or I probably would’ve estimated he was younger. 

I shook his hand the first time I met him and he winced a little when I gave it a good squeeze. He automatically reared back the fist of his other hand as if to hit me but caught himself. In a deep voice and in a dialect I couldn’t understand he explained why he had done that, but all I could decipher was that somehow he’d hurt his hand that afternoon on James Island.

I was watching the eleven o’clock news later that night and a story came on that caught my attention. A man had rear-ended a truck on James Island that day. The driver of the truck he’d just hit got out and walked up to the man’s door. The guy was big and had a white beard. The big bearded guy yanked the man through the window of his vehicle and beat him repeatedly in the head with a closed fist until the man was unconscious. 

The man woke up in the hospital a couple of hours later.

The big bearded guy had yelled at the man while he was hitting him but the man couldn’t understand a word he said.

Standard reporter Chris Simones can be reached at 473-2191.