I   sat there looking out my living room window late Monday afternoon, and I was "wishing and hoping and thinking and praying" (a salute to Dusty Springfield and/or Dionne Warwick from back in the mid-  '60s) a limb wasn't going to break loose and crash into my house.

Hey, it happens. It happened more than once Monday and Tuesday (but not in York County) when Sandy was at her worst. As this is being written, we already know dozens of people living on the East Coast were killed during the storm, and many of them were the victims of falling trees.

So I was worried about it. More worried about the wind, to tell you the truth, than the rain. And we were supposed to get a lot of both.

Anyway, the huge maple trees that surround my house were twisting and shaking in the Hurricane Sandy winds, leaves blowing in every direction, branches threatening to snap with the first gust of wind that exceeded whatever threshold they had.

I found myself holding my breath a few times, when the gusts of wind suddenly picked up and the twisting and swaying action in the trees became more violent.

It was no way to spend an evening.

But I doubt I was the only person in York County watching out the window Monday afternoon and evening, hoping for the best after having prepared for the worst. I had battened down all my hatches, and I was just waiting.

In the end, I was lucky.

In the end, all of York County was lucky. Once again, most of us caught a break.

I've said it more than once; in fact, I've said it dozens of times: York County is a great place to live.

And one of the reasons it's such a great place in which to live is it manages to avoid most -- just about all, it seems -- of the nastiest storms and natural events Mother Nature has to throw at us.

If you had the time to go up and down the East Coast, scouting out every nook and cranny, every village and town, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that fared as well as York County has in its skirmish with Hurricane Sandy.

I can't explain it.

Maybe it's our geographic location. Maybe it's luck. Maybe a lot of things, I guess.

But for some reason, York County comes out of these natural occurrences looking better than most. It's a blessing.

The bottom line for Hurricane Sandy is most of the East Coast got absolutely plastered -- there will be many billions of dollars in damages and probably a couple dozen deaths till all is said and done -- but York County came away mostly unscathed.

Sandy, as mean-spirited as she was in New Jersey, Maryland, parts of New York and the various shores from South Carolina to Maine, certainly failed to match storm events/floods of the past in York County.

People started keeping track of such things back in the mid-1700s, and York County has had a number of pesky storms and floods the last 250 years, mostly along the Susquehanna River.

Back in the day, there was an old Susquehannock Indian adage that serious floods would occur about every 14 years. And that's the way it seemed -- with the first recorded floods in this area coming in 1744, 1758, 1772 and 1786 -- for a long time.

The flood in 1786, which I was totally unaware of until I did some research Monday afternoon, was known as the Great Pumpkin Flood because along its way through the Wyoming Valley (Wilkes-Barre), it plucked thousands of ripe pumpkins from their growing fields and distributed them throughout the Susquehanna River basin.

"Heavy pumpkins came tumbling downstream like great orange cannonballs and had much the same effect when houses or men stood in their way," wrote one observer.

Actually the Pumpkin Flood and the "Ice Flood" in 1782 were fairly devastating to York County, given that both destroyed all of the bridges in York City that crossed the Codorus Creek.

But neither are the greatest and worst floods in York's history. The flood resulting in the greatest loss of life occurred in 1817, when 10 York countians were killed.

Then in 1933, the floodwaters reached such a height and led to such material destruction that the Indian Rock Dam was built to prevent it from ever happening again. York City and parts of York County were inundated after almost 14 inches of rain fell over a period of three days.

The worst of all time, based on the amount of rainfall -- more than 15 inches of rain in a couple of days -- and the amount of destruction, has to be Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians were left homeless and dozens drowned. There was flooding in York that reached almost to the level recorded for the 1817 flood, but who knows how high it would have been if the Indian Rock Dam had never been built.

A lot of us lived through that one. And we know without a doubt that none of the floods that have followed -- Hurricane Eloise in 1975, Hurricane Floyd in 1999, Hurricane Irene and Tropical storm Lee, both in 2011, and now, Hurricane Sandy -- have come even close.

Every once in a great while, we get hammered.

Most of the time we don't.

A collective sigh of relief, please.

Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. E-mail: lhicks@yorkdispatch.com.