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Cool, calm, and collected, she laughed. I don't think this hurricane is going to be as bad as it's reported to be, said an elderly man. But why take chances? Hey, what will be, will be, the man replied. He was always smiling as if he had a real juicy story he was about to tell, but we never really knew what was behind his mischievous smile. In his mid-thirties, he had jet black hair and a matching mustache that fell into the dimples of his cheeks. Often I would ask him, Why are you so happy, Terry?

He'd grin for a moment or two, just long enough to make me curious and wish I could read his thoughts. At least once a week, Terry would tell me that he thought he was in love. Each time, he had met another real knockout. So many women, he'd say, so little time.

The St. Andrew’s Thrift Shop

I was grateful to see Terry. The small air conditioner on the wall never seemed to work well, and customers were always propping the door open to get out the smoke from cigarettes.

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At times, you could barely see across the smoke-filled room. The local water contained sulfur, and each day at p. My feet were sore. My back ached. Moonlighting as a bartender was not exactly what I thought I'd be doing at the age of 48, but I just couldn't survive on my day job as a legal secretary, even with the rent I was collecting from my first floor apartment.

Augustine is so behind the times; most jobs pay only slightly above the minimum wage.

Hurricane Andrew: A Look Back 25 Years Later

After the huge salaries I was accustomed to earning when I lived in Massachusetts and then later working at the Watergate in Washington, D. For most folks, working two jobs was the price we paid to live in St. Augustine, with all its historic charm and miles of white sandy beaches. I cashed out my drawer and turned the bar over to Terry.

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I was saying goodnight to Ed and Louise, two of my regular customers, when Brad Mitchell walked in. Brad stood five feet eight inches tall with a medium build and a crop of white hair on his head. He always wore his shirts opened at the neck. A heavy gold chain drew attention to the thick white hair on his chest that he was proud to show off. His eyes were as blue as the sky on a clear day. I was collecting my purse and car keys, getting ready to leave.

Stay and have a drink with me, he begged.

I have something I want to talk to you about. Brad and I walked over to a table in the corner of the room where we could talk privately. Terry switched the station to the sports channel. The crowd cheered for their favorite teams and told their newest dirty jokes. Don't worry about the storm, Brad laughed.

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If it comes this way, we just have a hurricane party right here and wait it out. I still love you, and I know you love me. I don't care if it takes five years; I'm gonna wait for you. Brad and I had been introduced the previous year by mutual friends who thought we would make a perfect couple.

He had just been divorced, and I had just ended a two-year relationship. There was an instant chemistry between Brad and me from that very first meeting. We plunged into a whirlwind of a relationship. After a few months, it was obvious that Brad still needed to sow his oats and was not ready to make a commitment. Soon afterward, we went our separate ways. I don't love you, Brad. Anyway, I heard you had a new girlfriend. What's her name, Tiffany? That's about over, Brad said. I hardly see her anymore. I know you love me. I can see it in your eyes. You just built up that wall so high this time that you won't let anyone tear it down, but I will tear that wall down, and we will be together again.

I don't think so, Brad, I said, as I stood to leave. Listen, I really need to get home. I've got to work tomorrow. Thanks for the drink.

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Brad insisted on walking me to my car, where he pulled me into his arms and kissed me long and hard, again insisting that we belonged together. He slipped a diamond-shaped, pink-ice ring on my finger. I saw this at the Strawberry Festival last week and bought it for you. I do love you, and I want us to be together again.

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I thanked Brad for the ring. It was thoughtful of him to have bought it for me. We said goodnight and I drove home, playing the tape of all that Brad had said in my mind. I was relieved to get home. I poured myself a glass of wine, took off my shoes, and put my feet up on the coffee table as I turned on the TV to listen to the news reports on the hurricane.

Tourists by the thousands were bailing out of the Florida Keys. Traffic on northbound US1 was a wretched crawl. The lights from hundreds of cars looked like a field of fireflies in still motion. The storm was about miles away, inching its way up the Caribbean. On what was one of the longest bridges in the world when it was built, the Seven Mile Bridge from the Florida Keys, traffic was bumper to bumper, with stalled buses and engine problems. All the while, Andrew was teasing those who dared to stay behind. Bonnie Copeland returned from work on Saturday to her home in Homestead, Florida.

The last thing that was on her mind was all the talk about a hurricane.

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Bonnie had more exciting things to think about; her new hot tub was being delivered that day. Huddled in a Fish Locker. In fact, they had been defending themselves all night. When the hurricane hit at about 4 A. With the shingles torn from the roof, water was pouring in from the ceiling as well. Mullins, standing at the back of the store. Now we all smell like fish, but we are all alive. Inside the eight-foot by eight-foot room, four generations of the family -- 14 of them in all -- sat on chairs or on a blown-up pool float in the center of the floor.

Down the street, Carolyn Towner, Brenda Hill, Shawn Jackson and Linda Moore were trying to scramble past the hip-deep puddles of water that had collected in the depressions of the road.