Jimmy Buffett captured the essence of hurricane season in his 1974 song from A1A, “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season,” when he sang,

“Squalls out on the gulf stream
Big storm commin’ soon…”

My closest experience with a hurricane occurred in 1968 when Hurricane Gladys passed the Pinellas peninsula on Friday, October 18th during my senior year in high school. The storm postponed our football game, allowed me to go on a date and see a movie, and gave me an adventure to write about.

Gladys was photographed from space by the Apollo 7 astronauts, tracked by Hurricane Hunter aircraft, and seen by radar imagery, all relatively new phenomena at the time.






Hurricane Haiku

At Pass-a-Grille Beach
In October sixty eight
Rambler rockin’


From the 26th chapter, “A Date with Gladys,” in Growing Up Floridian:

Wind controlled the steering wheel almost as much as I did and forced my gray turtle, actually a 1960 Rambler American, from one side of 66th Street to the other. Having worked up enough courage to ask Maureen out, I wasn’t about to let Hurricane Gladys cancel our date. As the only car on the road, I had the advantage of fighting the gusts across three lanes without the danger of hitting another vehicle. I managed to avoid curbs and telephones poles often by slight margins using the power of forearms developed from three years of high school football.