I was a little too young to remember much of the devastation hurricane Juan brought to P.E.I. 15 years ago.
Truth be told, the most vivid memory I have of the storm’s aftermath was waking up to see my family’s trampoline twisted up in a tree and a smashed outhouse lying on its side in the middle of our backyard.
At the time, my family was renting a house while my Dad was building our new home nearby. The old outhouse had been connected to the rented home’s detached garage.
I know what you’re wondering and, no, we did not use the outhouse prior to the storm: at least for its original purpose. Instead the out-of-order outhouse was occupied by a pet rabbit my brother named “Winky” because of his different coloured eyes.
Winky was now gone after his cage had been tipped over when the high winds took the outhouse.
My family was fortunate to not face the property damage many Islanders did in Juan. The house we were building was only framed, which resulted in the wind basically going right through it.
However, believing you lost a pet never feels good.
Luckily, later that day while my grandfather was over visiting, we spotted Winky hanging out by the twisted trampoline.
I still don’t understand how he did it. But I can remember watching my grandfather walking down a couple hundred feet or so, kneeling down and grabbing Winky by his ears before carrying him back up to his cage. In a matter of seconds, we were reunited with our pet.
It is hard to believe a storm anywhere close to Juan’s size could approach these days that wouldn’t result in Islanders tying down or disassembling things like trampolines.
However, in the end, we were able to repair the trampoline, found our pet and saw no damage to my family’s half-built home.
The outhouse was also never re-attached and Winky’s cage was moved into the main garage, an accommodations upgrade I’m sure he was thankful for.