Monday, March 17, 2008

Hunkering down

I wouldn't call myself a hoarder, but I do so love to "be prepared" for hard times. The threat of bad weather throws me into survival mode--my brain works really well in this state of tizziness.

My friends from Oriental were in Atlanta, where for the first time in decades they had a tornado hit the downtown area. The dental conference was cancelled, and last I heard they were walking around picking up very large balls of hail. We were in Oriental,and the storm was headed our way. With no television access, we turned on the marine radio, which sounded warning after warning. The whole eastern part of the state was vulnerable. How exciting! How stimulating! I knew just what to do.

I dug around in the many boat stashing places trying to find our foul weather gear. We had bought these two piece outfits--bright yellow pants and jackets the same as all the fishermen wear--on a trip to Charleston. It had rained all the way from Wrightsville to Charleston, and we had gotten soaked. Not wanting this to happen again, we walked two miles to the nearest store, paid probably three times what they sell for at Wal-Mart, and hiked back. We never used them. But we knew they were there, somewhere, somewhere, if only I could figure out where. After looking through two emergency signals, I gave up, got our regular raincoats which have never even purported to be waterproof, and set them by the door.

Then I got another boat staple, a large heavy duty garbage bag, and filled it with my pocketbook, new Nikon camera, and the computer. We didn't have any photo albums or important papers to save so this would have to do. I put my cell phone and keys on top of the bag which was on top of the coats. I worried that in my haste to get my coat out from under the bag I would dump the keys, but had to leave that (and the weather of course) to God and fate, whichever had the upper hand that night.

I hunkered down with a good book (Tony Early's The Blue Star, which I highly recommend). The radio continued its warnings, the counties getting closer and closer to Oriental. Thunder rumbled in ways I haven't heard before and the lightning seemed extremely drawn to the masts which clanged and whistled in the wind. My husband fell asleep which meant I had to be irritated and twice as vigilant because now I would have to wake him up and then do all the other gathering to rush out the door if I heard something that sounded like a train.

Eventually, after three hours of pounding rain during which we found all the leaks on the boat and the chairs which we had forgotten on the back got thoroughly soaked, the storm died down.

Needless to say it was with a mix of relief and regret that I went down to the V-berth to bed. Another opportunity to demonstrate my superior survival skills was foiled by Mother Nature, but the practice will come in handy, I'm sure.

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