Florida cou­ple find re­prieve in N.S.

The Amherst News - - REGIONAL - An­drew Rankin

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.

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