Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Hype

The powers that be are closing New York City subways tomorrow. Trains and planes won't be operating in the Tri-State area. East Coast residents are hunkering down and stocking up for a week without power.

Some say, the mayor of New York City doesn't want to be caught by surprise, as he was in December when a storm unexpectedly dumped two feet of snow on NYC and the city came to a standstill. Some say, all the talk about the storm is just a lot of hype. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.

My dad is taking refuge at my sister's house, where at least he won't be all alone for a week, living on canned beans. My sister has a gas stove, so at least they can cook. And she lives on a main road, which is likely to have power restored more quickly than my dad's house. But, the rain is gonna fall, and the wind is gonna blow, and trees are gonna come down, and the power will surely be out. The only question is - for how long?

My step-mother, who died ten years ago, would have stayed put and toughed it out, even at the age of 83, I am sure of it. "Nah" I can hear her say, "what's a little wind? We'll just stay inside and play Monopoly til it blows over" with a big smile on her face. She wasn't afraid of the weather, ever.

When I was 15 or 16, there was a big ice storm in the middle of winter. My grandmother, who had power and lived in the next town over, offered to let all eight of us come stay at her house until our power came back on. But, no. My mother lined us kids up in front of the fireplace, with the dog, for warmth, while she and my dad took turns stoking the fire throughout the below zero degree night, while we kids (and the dog) huddled next to each other under piles of blankets.

When Mother Nature dumped three feet of snow in a hurry, Mom got out five shovels, one for each of us kids. When it rained and rained and rained, we bailed and mopped and bailed and mopped the basement floor. Our driveway was always shoveled and our basement floor always dry. Need to put in a drywell to help keep the water that always ran down the hill away from the basement? No problem -- Summer project for the teenage boys (and, of course, the dog, whose middle name was "Dig").

But my mother was not afraid of hard work herself. If we weren't around, she would be up to her knees in snow shoveling herself, or bailing the basement, or painting the house, or pulling weeds, or dragging the dead deer up from the back 40 to the road so that Animal Control would come pick it up.

My step-mother, Pat, died ten years ago - exactly ten years ago this month. She died the way she had lived. She died of a massive heart attack, while cutting down a tree, at the age of 73.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed that quite a lot. You did her justice. It also explains why you (all) are the way you are.