Florida couple find reprieve in N.S.
They were in Digby Neck, immersed in a conversation with a charming, recently retired lobster fisherman as Hurricane Irma was heading straight for their Florida home.
But Nancy Guth and her partner Chris Gremley were determined not to let the possibility of a life-altering disaster ruin their fun.
When the pair set out for their journey to Nova Scotia last Wednesday, news was just starting to surface about the possibility of a terrible storm system heading for Florida. Some storm-weary Floridians have a tendency to downplay such news, said Guth. Being in that camp, Guth and Gremley took the gamble.
But they would find the reprieve they were seeking.
“We don’t know a soul here, but you guys are probably some of the most open, kind, generous people in conversation I’ve ever met and I feel like I know ya’ll by now,” said Guth, reflecting on what she described as a soul-enriching few days in the province. “You guys don’t have the disconnect that unfortunately our country has, especially with our political climate.”
That’s not to suggest the pair haven’t experienced a few rather tense moments here.
But they would learn that the storm would break just as it hit their home city of Bradenton, before moving east. Luckily, they have good neighbours who boarded up the windows of their home.
So they’ll return to just a few broken fence posts and trees. Still, they’re not so sure what happened to their 130-year-old cottage in nearby Anna Maria Island. Access to that location was cut off during the storm. The pair aren’t holding out much hope.
“We’ve really kissed that goodbye because it’s on the little barrier island,” said Guth.
But while much of the world was captivated by Irma’s wrath, this couple spent most of the day exploring the beauty of Whale Head.
“Everyone in Digby was amazing to us,” said Gremley. “I sat on a chair with a Canadian flag looking out over the Bay of Fundy and then all of a sudden two people park their trailer and come over and another person starts chatting with us. The next thing you know, there’s seven of us sitting around and none of us know each other. We’re chatting about everything in the world. It was such a special moment.”
From there they moved on to Bridgewater late Sunday afternoon, and they encountered more good will.
“We walked into this place called The Pub, right on the river,” said Gremley. “All the local people were chatting with us. Everyone was so friendly, so open, so concerned about us and making all kinds of recommendations about what we should see in Nova Scotia.”
From their Bridgewater accommodations Monday morning they would discover that life goes on at home.
Their Families were OK. Guth’s brother, who had been evacuated from his Tampa Bay home, was safe and sound in a motel.
“There’s nothing you can do, you can board up, you can do everything you want,” said Gremley. “It’s going to be vicious. Maybe I won’t have any stuff but that’s OK as long as my friends and family are safe.”
Their journey served its purpose. They came on the recommendation that they would find something meaningful. At times overwhelmed by a myriad of dire outcomes, they found comfort here.
“For both of us,” said Gremley. “We also found solitude. On one occasion we’re standing there watching the tide come up to our feet and we never get that in Florida.