There were more people out and about in Clinton Tuesday, as restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and downtown businesses began to open, some with reduced operating hours. But, there are still a lot of people — some 10,000 in fact in Sampson — without power, schools are closed, shelters are open and travel is limited at best by flooded, damaged or tree-blocked roads.
While Florence has, thankfully, made her exit, the mark of devastation she left behind is still very much with us. Rivers are overflowing their banks, homes are flooded, businesses are damaged, crops and livestock have been hurt and people are still displaced.
Everybody’s nerves are a little frayed; patience is wearing thin; and everyone is hurried at best. Lines are long and supplies are limited.
In other words, Sampson County is in no way back to normal. And we aren’t sure when it really will be.
So with that in mind, we hope those who are fortunate enough to enjoy a meal, get gas, buy groceries or shop will use common sense when doing so, offering a helping hand when possible and being mindful of others in every way they can.
Here are a few tips to make life a little easier for all of us during these difficult times:
• Heed imposed curfews. If a city or town says be in at 10, leave early enough to get something to eat that you won’t be holding a restaurant owner up in following the law;
• Remember when officials say don’t drive on certain roads, there’s a reason. Don’t drive on them for your own safety and the safety of others. You may think you are smarter than Department of Transportation crews, but chances are, you don’t know the road issues like they do;
• When there are long lines, do your part. Pull up, leave room for people to access intersections, gas, exits and entrances;
• Be understanding. Businesses that are open are likely doing so with limited staff. That means longer lines and extended time in them;
• Be appreciative. While we are used to having things just the way we like them, it’s rare during such trying times to have our every whim catered to. Be appreciative of what people are offering, knowing that they are doing everything they can to provide some type of service.
We have a lot to be thankful for in Sampson County, despite the devastation Florence left in her wake.
It is difficult sometimes to find those things when we are still without power, our toilets won’t flush, water is seeping into our homes and our families remain in shelters somewhere in eastern North Carolina. But if we only look around, perhaps toward a neighbor or maybe a little further, into a neighboring county like Duplin or just a little more east to Wilmington, we can see that others are hurting even more than we are.
These are trying times, but the people in this county, in this region and, really in this state are resilient. We rise above the challenges.
What we are living through right now can try our patience, but we know the strength of our people and we believe in their ability to see beyond the hardship to better days to come.
We urge everyone to look toward those better days, knowing they are on the horizon.