By John A. Winters, Publisher of Winters Media & Publications

Sometimes my wife leaves a voice message that makes me go, “wait, what did she say?”

Not too long ago I got just such a message. Usually, if she doesn’t reach me, she will just text. But no text this time, just the voice message.

I should have picked up on that clue.

The message went like this: “The walls are flooding. I’m not kidding, the walls are literally flooding.” This was said in a somewhat incredulous tone, one of those: “you’ve got to be kidding me,” “this isn’t really happening,” “why haven’t you answered your phone,” “Get home now”  type tones.

“Wait, what did she say?” And right about that time, one of my employees said, “your wife is on the phone.”

Sure enough, turns out a water line leading up to one of the upstairs showers broke in two places. Water ran for some time between the outside walls and the interior room sheetrock. Eventually, the sheetrock just gave up and we got the infamous “the walls are flooding.”

By the time I got home, about every towel, blanket and anything else that would absorb water was outside. All were soaking wet. And my wife was working away with two or three mops at once, trying to somehow dam the river.

The good news is our house is on a slab. Thus, no water cascading down into a lower level. The bad news is our house is on a slap. Thus, water just spread throughout the entire first floor.

I started in on the calls: plumbers to fix the leaks; the insurance company to start that whole insurance thing.

This is the first time in 50-plus years I’ve experienced a freezing pipe break. I’ve lived in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Washington, D.C., and even Alaska.

And the only time I get a pipe break is in Georgia. Go figure.

Fast forward to today. All the carpet, wood flooring and tile are gone. The movers came and did just that, hauling off just about every piece of furniture from the first floor. All the bottom cabinets in the kitchen are gone. All the plates and books and silverware and pots and well, pretty much everything, is gone.

We have a refrigerator and a stove. But try cooking for more than a couple of days without running water and it gets old. Real old. We finally rigged up the old sink balanced between two sawhorses.

Having a second story helps. Knowing that our “stuff” is safe in some warehouse is comforting, especially when you know there are thousands of people who just went through three separate hurricanes and have no “stuff.” No stuff, no nothing.

We are now in the rebuilding phase. We got a lot of suggestions about where to get this or that in Atlanta. We intentionally did not.

Everything we are doing is local. Our contractor is local. The people who cleaned up and tore up floors and moved our stuff are local. Our flooring is coming from a local company and they will also install it. All the carpentry, the cabinets and sheetrock are being done by local labor. Everything we’ve purchased so far has come from local sources.

I’m in the business of promoting local business. That’s my job. Everything I need to rebuild I have found right here in Coweta County. And that makes me happy.

Shopping local keeps tax dollars here. It keeps locals employed. It makes for a better community. Let’s all do our part.

Until next time.