June 17, 2016

Orlando Strong and Polka Dot Flea

It's been a tough week here in Orlando.  

Thank you to those that have sent messages and encouraging words.  It has taken a few days to wrap my head around what has happened in my community and to be able to share it with you.

It's a whole different feeling when terrorism strikes in your back yard.  The mass shootings occurred 7 blocks from my home.

3am Sunday morning I awoke to helicopters flying overhead, which is not uncommon since I live close to Orlando Health, a huge level one trauma hospital.  Their life flight helicopters are a common site and sound.   I was awoken again at 5am and this time I heard many helicopters and sirens.  I turned on the local TV station and could tell the newscaster was almost breathless, she said there had been a shooting downtown and there was a huge police presence, but they did not have any information. 

I was interested, but not alarmed, since there were no details and I was anxious to get to the second day of my Polka Dot Flea.

  In total oblivion I headed out, all I could think about was how fun the first day of the Polka Dot Flea had been.....Oh, what a difference a day will make.

We had lines around the building
And then a buzz of happy shoppers and sellers

It was a fun and festive atmosphere...So, why would  we think Sunday would be any different??

 When we got to the the Polka Dot Flea early Sunday morning, which is 7 miles from the shooting, there was a little talk from the vendors that had stayed at downtown hotels and saw all of the police and activity

Then news started trickling in......

...50 killed
50 wounded
7 trauma surgeons called in
In need of blood donations

State of Emergency...
What does that mean?  Should we close, evacuate?

The mood at the Flea changed dramatically, confusion, tears, anger, fears....All of the sudden the Polka Dot Flea was covered with a dark cloud.

We finished the day in sadness and some vendors started packing a little early, we understood....They just wanted to get home to their families

 5 days later the streets are still closed, the helicopters are still flying over head and there have been many vigils and gatherings.  

There is a silver lining, and that is how the community has pulled together.  I went to my bank yesterday, 2 doors down from the Pulse night club and they have opened their lobby to emergency respondents, media, local and national politicians, and anyone in  need of a cool retreat from the chaos.  They have free food, snacks, and beverages.  They said much of it was donated by Target, McDonald's, customers, and pretty much anyone that wanted to help.

 The blood bank is a couple blocks down and on Sunday as thousands lined up to donate blood the community jumped in and made sure the blood donors wanted for nothing.  The local Publix grocery loaded up their trucks and brought water and snacks, Chick fil A, who is never opens on Sundays, brought in workers to make and deliver sandwiches, local pizza shops delivered pizza by the car load, canopy's were bought in and even port a potties were delivered......

The Greenwood Cemetery, about 6 blocks from my house has donated burial plots to the victims.  My neighborhood website said there will be one burial today and 3 tomorrow...With many more to come.

 In the face of tragedy...So much love!

We are... 

 I don't want to get into politics, but I do believe we are at war.  I don't have the answers, but I pray that this will be a wake up call!

God Bless The USA



Annesphamily said...

Dear Carol, how my heart breaks for your city. Although I was grateful to know that you were nearby but ok I am devastated for the innocent lives taken. We have seen it here in Colorado, different shooters, different reasons. But you are right. We are at war. No one wants to be political at the blog but we must be informed and what is going on has been a long time coming. People need to pay attention and see politically what our leaders are doing or not. As a Christian I am sick of the hate toward us. Those are not Christians who judge and attend funerals of the deceased to protest their lifestyle or whatever else is bothering those people. That is not God's way. As a kid my dad always told us that we need to be thankful that God will judge us because people too often make a mess of everything. We are praying for your community. You have been hit hard this past week. My heart aches for those phamilies, for the injured, the phamily of
the two year old at Disneyland taken by an alligator and killed. I can offer prayer and think of the good the people who lost their lives had in them. Just having fun which so many do on the weekends. I am always fearful for my husband who works in downtown Denver. He is on the 26th floor but I often stop each day and pray for his safety. The Gay Pride Parade,one of the largest in our nation, is this weekend and of course, my hubby has mail duty this Saturday. Oh I am not fearful of the gays, I am fearful of the evil lurking around. I often accompany my honey to his office and help him with the mail as I love spending time with him. To top off the weekend in Denver it is also Comic Con and all those costumes! I pray for the law enforcement and all those attending the various events. I pray for us sorting mail on a sunny Saturday morning. I pray for safety for all. Bonfils Blood Center has had a huge outpouring of donors to give blood this week for Orlando. Your city has shown what love really is. They may kill the body but they can not kill the soul. Kindness is the most important thing in tragedy. I tried all week long to focus on the heroes, ordinary people who helped victims trying to escape the terror. As a parent and grandparent and even a great grandparent I am so sad for the world our young will grow up in. My mother use to tell me all the time, "Pray harder". I can hear her voice everytime some sadness falls on our country. Americans do need to wake up. This is a real terror threat . I am shocked at how a small number of people can grow such hate. There is a mosque near my home and on Ramadan we were stuck in traffic, not realizing the Muslims were celebrating. I would no more run down an innocent person attending their service than I would a bird or prairie dog yet the police are cautious and they were directing the traffic. Life is so sad. I thank you for these words and I wish your community much healing and peace. Hugs, Anne

Sunny said...

Well said Carol & Anne from Colorado!

Celestina Marie said...

Beautifully said. I agree with you and also all the Anne said. Prayers for our country. Have a nice weekend. xo

Terra said...

Your post is beautiful. Wake up America, we are under attack. How good so many people are, to help, to donate, to take care. Chick Fil A was kind to open on Sunday to prepare food to give away. There are still heroes in the land.

Julia @ Vintage with Laces said...

It's a horrible tragedy and I'm so sorry for everybody who is affected by this hateful attack. I will never be able to understand how people can do such things. Intolerance and cruelty in this world seem to increase daily.
xo Julia

handmade by amalia said...

There are no words, Carol.

BECKY said...

Hi Carol,
Still can't believe these things happened...And all so close together. One of my daughters was in a nightclub in Orlando a several years back when there was a shooting. She tried to get people to leave, but they didn't think what they heard was gunfire. Thankfully, she knew to get out quickly. And that wasn't an act of terrorism.

It is such a tragedy. I have been praying about it all.

I hope the flea was a smashing success! You do such a wonderful job. Was hoping to pop in for awhile, but had company from Texas.

Hugs sweetie!

Ann said...

When I heard the news I could hardly comprehend it. My heart goes out to the families and friends who lost their loved ones.

And my heart goes out to you, Carol. You spend so much time and with all your special touches to have your Polka Dot Flea. From your pictures, it looks fun and festive and because it happens once a year, it is a double tragedy to have it eclipsed by these terrible events.

Not to diminish the events in Orlando, can you post pictures of the first day? I always look forward to seeing the pictures of the vendors and their displays. I love to see your special touches like the chair covers for the rest area. I would understand if you are not up to it. Take care.

Createology said...

Amen to the LOVE and Kindness of everyone who is strong and helping at such times of horrific tragedy. Thank God for keeping you safe Carol and all of your Polka Dot Flea people. Why must there be such hate and evil in our world! I pray...everyday!

cloches and lavender said...

Hi Carol, I am so upset about Florida. I can't believe you were so close. I hate that this is occurring, We NEED to do something so tis NEVER happens again.

I have been missing from bluffing for quite a bit but I am back.



Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

My heart goes out to you, the residents of Orlando, and the entire country right now. I thought about you in the middle of all of this, and I can't even imagine waking up to a tragedy like this in my own back yard.
United We Stand!! We'll continue to keep the families of the victims and everyone who had to endure so much pain in our prayers.
Hugs to you, Carol.

susie holler said...

I am grieving for the falsehood of safety in our country.I know you worked so hard for a year for the Polka For Flea.I'm glad you had a good turnoyt the diets day let's all life up his prayers harder and louder.thank you Orlando for your outpouring Love to the community.

susie holler said...

I am grieving for the falsehood of safety in our country.I know you worked so hard for a year for the Polka For Flea.I'm glad you had a good turnoyt the diets day let's all life up his prayers harder and louder.thank you Orlando for your outpouring Love to the community.


Oh, Carol...I am thankful that you are "okay" and all your vendors and buyers. Sweet Pea is sending you puppy kisses. I do hope that you will show us photos from your Flea event!

Melody said...

When I first started seeing the tweets regarding Orlando early Sunday morning I was wondering how far away from your Flea it was... How sad your beautiful little market was cut short by such an ugly act.
I'm thankful your home was safe, even in such close proximity to the violent act. We need to be ready & armed for when this evil strikes at us, because I know, unfortunately, that there are many terrorist-minded among us, waiting for their opportunity to strike. Indeed Carol, we are at war.

Di@Cottage-Wishes said...

My hometown, my neighborhood, my coworkers and my friends. Oh how my heart hurts here in North Carolina. We moved up here 5 years ago and I miss you all so much. We watched the news in tears and prayed for those hurt and the ones lost. Hubby and I grew up there. I worked at Orlando Health for 30 years. I am so proud of those doctors and the medical staff. If I was still there, I would have been there working. I lived in the Conway area and am amazed that something like this would happen. Terror can happen so close to us and change our lives in a moment. My prayers are with you and the community. Di@Cottage-wishes

Kathy said...

Oh Carol, your post gave me goosebumps. I can't imagine being so nearby such a horrid tragedy. I have been hearing all the news, of course, and the triple punch of the singer being killed and that poor little boy snatched by an aligator. God bless Orlando and God bless America.

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Dear Carol, I'm thankful that you are okay and I'm so sorry that the people of Orlando had to experience this devastation and evil act of horror. I have no idea how frightening and heart breaking that it must be to be so close to such a tragedy. May God Bless the victims and their families and the wonderful people of Orlando.

hugs to you Sweetie.

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

God help us, we pray. Wake-up, America! Awake! Awake!

Prayers for Orlando, USA!

Ros Crawford said...

This was a terrible tragedy for your people ... In the UK we too were shocked and saddened and showed our support for you all, lighting up our buildings etc., So sorry that this came at the time of your wonderful venue ... Hopefully it gave people an opportunity to just relax and breathe in a happy atmosphere for a short time... Well done to all those kind hearted people and businesses that pulled out all the stops to help. My thoughts are with you.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It really has been tragic and we've watched a lot of it on the news. I'm glad to hear the city is pulling together to help each other. I'm keeping everyone in my prayers. I'm sorry it happened on your weekend. Sending you some extra hugs, Diane

Heart Vintage Design said...

Carol, I hope your neighborhood is returning to normal. We certainly have seen Orlando pull together but it's still hard for me to comprehend that it happened here. We'll move on but we've lost some of our innocence. Kitty

Marlynne said...

Oh how traumatic that was for all of us! especially for you being so close and ready to celebrate another happy day! God Bless You as you go on not ass planned but at least in good health!

Marlynne said...

I am so sorry for your communities loss. So frighting for all of us! I'm sure the sad events affected your sales too I am so sorry!

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