Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Locked and Loaded for Irma

Should I go or should I stay? Powerful Cat 5 Hurricane Irma was headed for Florida. All of Florida. No small one was this. If I stayed, the fifty year old Laurel oak might fall across the house, crushing my bed first and then the central bathroom where my son Jason and I would hunker down. If I chose go it would be to my son’s gun shop. Sturdy block building with no large trees as far as the eye could see, only acres of field across the street. It had a sturdy, enclosed stairwell and interior rooms under the stairs and was pet friendly. As much as I hated to pack up and leave, the choice was clear.

Curfew was Sunday, September 10, 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday. Twenty-three hours. My son said the shop’s power had never gone out in a storm, so we would have small fridge, air conditioning, microwave, lights, TV and room for his Bichon Frise Bolt and my Persian mix Emma to roam. What a set up.

Emma immediately found a hiding spot. She would find two more before the ordeal was over, each more difficult to find than the last, each taking a toll on my knees. Bolt was used to hanging out at the shop, so was right at home.

We realized one negative to our safe spot going in; thieves frequently braved hurricanes to rob one type business—gun shops. But we had a good security system, electricity to power it, with battery backup. Also, more than a few guns. As a matter of fact, I even brought my personal S&W. I never sleep without it. Coals to Newcastle, you might think, but safety depends on being comfortable with your weapon in an emergency. Let’s just say, my son was well armed, too.

Without the usual sound of exploding transformer or flicker warning, the power went out like fingers dousing a candle wick about 10:00 p.m. Irma continued her wobbly two-step across the state, defying predictions and veering east, with the dirty side of the eye now headed for Orlando. We had plenty of flashlights, battery radios and continued following the approaching storm until the wee hours, Jason in his recliner, me on the leather love seat.

“What’s that red light on the box on the wall?” It was straight above my toes.

Jason didn’t have to turn around. “It tells me the backup battery is not working on the security system.”

“A gang of six have broken into Academy Sports and stole guns,” the radio’s timing was uncanny. Shortly they reported an independent gun shop in Daytona was robbed. All six thugs at Academy had been arrested, but not the latest bunch.

Wait a minute! Why did I turn down an offer from a dear Facebook friend to be picked up the day before the storm and whisked out of Florida in a Phenom 300 private jet? I don’t remember ever being as touched by a genuine gesture. With wind whistling outside, shaking the building, and water creeping in at the edges of the carpet, I wondered if I was also touched in the head. No. Decision made. Live with it, the operative word being live.

Out front the field looked like blowing ocean waves, an ocean that came right up to our front door. Jason tried to open the back, steel door at one point to check on the storm. With video I recorded his struggle to open it a foot and hold it open a few minutes. If you’ve seen weather guys taking a beating in the storm you know what it looked and sounded like. Wind showing its power against the door, rain pellets spraying his face. Grunting. Sorry, I had to laugh.
We weren’t very sleepy, though it was after midnight. As a matter of fact, we slept only one hour that night, from about 2:30 to 3:30 a.m. We woke to more banging outside as wind whipped small twigs and branches against the building, and vibrated it more than a few times. The radio hosts were sounding jovial and relaxed as if the worst of the storm had passed. It had where they were, and was exiting our area. We had slept through it.

Energy levels shot up and hunger chimed in. At 4:00 in the morning I peeled and ate a boiled egg and had a smoothie. Most delicious dinner/breakfast combination ever.

Jason fell back asleep near dawn and I tried, but all I wanted to do was check on my home. No way were we waiting until 6:00 p.m. We didn’t have to, the curfew was lifted at 11:00 a.m. A few more winks for Jason and too much time packing up and finding Emma and we pulled out onto a clear, wind dried road about 2:00 p.m. Grass in the field across the street blew in waves.

In the fourth grade, I rounded the corner after school to find my house burned to the ground. The feeling I got then returned as we crept into the neighborhood. No damage from the front. A quick survey showed none from the back. We’d have to run the generator for five days, but our window AC would cool us, and food would be safe in the fridge. We could even run the TV and a few lights. The air smelled of fresh cut wood and the earth after a summer shower. Neighbors all down the streets were already stacking mounds of limbs and sawn logs along the curb. In a few days our lawn boy would have ours cleared and mowed. Like it never even happened. But it had, and like all the other storms we survived in 41 years, we learned more lessons, sharpened our survival skills and would be even more ready for the next one. And there would be a next one. It’s the price of living in paradise.

Advertisements

sherylmeI’m in the “air lock” room, waiting for everyone to get in and fill the elevator-size space. Even in dim light, I know it’s untidy, well used. A fat electrical cord stretches across the black floor.
“When I open the door,” the Director says, “follow me, watch for cords.” The next room was dark, too, but opened to a stage flooded with blue lights. In the ninety-four-year-old theater, constant current activity apparently cloaked the expected smell of antiquity. We followed the director across the stage to the opposite wings.
“You will wait here until time to enter. Remember if you can see the audience, they can see you.”
How did I end up here? My friend Sheryl, a mystery writer, and I came to see Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. Out of my program fell a jury summons? I, along with five other audience members, would spend most of the play on stage as jurors. “These are NOT speaking parts,” the director emphasized with a smile. We would sit in the jury box the rest of the play except for a fade out when the scene would be briefly switched. We had watched the first act from comfy theater seats.
The Wayne Densch Performing Arts Theater is in downtown Sanford, Florida, a small town on Lake Monroe, and north of Orlando. Charming, cozy, comfortable and small-town friendly, it is a jewel in the historic town. We walked by art galleries, quaint shops, cozy restaurants and an open farmer’s market on the way to the theater.
My fellow jurors were great fun, improvising “non-speaking” ways to relate to the audience, but in the end, we followed the rules. We were older except for one young, high school student with a spiked, blond hairstyle. He takes acting classes, so backstage was probably not new to him. He volunteered to run back for the water bottle I left in the lobby during recess and offered me his chair backstage, winning big points for the younger generation.
Another in the young generation was the actor who played court clerk. After the play was over, bows were taken and curtains closed we exited the jury box. The clerk was there to take the hands of ladies and help us down. Perhaps he’s a method actor who really gets into his parts, but I think he was just a well-bred young gentleman.
The actors were lined on both sides as we left the theater, happy to shake our hands and talk.
Did I forget the play? Not intentionally. It’s just that my “role” added such a dimension to the experience. The actors were all local and amazing, so much so that it was easy to forget they weren’t real as they pleaded with the jurors.
The Director asked us after the play if we figured the murderer out. I did. But I missed one clever clue Miss Christie slipped in. He also told us she added to the ending of the play because she thought the murderer got off too lightly in her story.
Some days are absolutely magical. This was one of them.

Friday 56

Dust Tracks on a Road

Zora Neale Hurston

Page 55-56

“Having finished that and scanned the Doctor Book, which my mother thought she had hidden securely from my eyes, I read all the things which children write on privy-house walls. Therefore, I lost my taste for pornographic literature. I think that the people who love it got cheated in the matter of privy houses when they were children.”

This is a meme from “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” blog.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

TEXAS SURPRISE

I was in the window seat, first row behind the bulkhead on Texas-bound Southwest last weekend when the darling(!) flight attendant grabbed the carry-on at my feet.

“I must stow this overhead until we reach 10,000 feet. Then I get it for you.”

I was begging, arms outstretched, but he is fast. “But my Kindle is in there.”

“You’ll have it back in a few minutes.”

A few minutes turned into an hour and a half. There was no let up in turbulence. No drinks nor snacks nor bathroom trips—nor Kindle. The elderly man in the middle seat and his wife next to him would be my only source of entertainment while we gyrated through the spin cycle. Her only comment before she leaned back and handed him over was, “He’s a talker.” She forgot to say, “and spitter.” He was very nice, and happy to share with me his every ailment and every ailment of friends and family.

Finally my Kindle was delivered to me, along with juice and peanuts and crackers. During the final strap down for landing I grew more interested in the couple to our right talking to the attendants. They were adventurers heading to Big Bend Park for a week. He used to sing, he said, all over Europe, mostly Italy, mostly opera. And then he began to sing in his beautiful baritone. I gasped and said to no one in particular, wish he had done that the whole trip. Wife of spitter leaned forward and said, “ME, TOO!”

This was my first flight after turning seventy-five and I enjoyed getting to leave my jacket and shoes on at the TSA screening. I had learned from the website that they make the determination about your age visually, so it was a bit disconcerting that no one questioned me. However, in San Antonio, the first agent asked for my driver’s license and another stopped me after the naked scan and pointed to my shoes. I told him my age, and he checked where the first agent had stamped my boarding pass, and said, “And I was going to ask you out.” I suggest they place at least one Latino man at every screening station. They know how to make you feel good.

The following day forty or fifty close friends and family gathered in a private room to surprise my adorable niece on her fiftieth birthday. The restaurant in New Braunfels is a converted post office filled with charm. Brenda said later she was surprised, but thought something was up. When I stepped from behind the person in front of her and her blue eyes grew wide and mouth stopped working, I knew her daughter had pulled off one surprise.

My sister and I were escorted to the party by her first and second ex-husband. He claims he was drunk the second time and thought she was another woman. That’s the kind of family I come from.

Once the cat was out of the bag, Brenda and I could spend time together—and we did—along with four of her grandbabies, my sister, niece, nephews. . . you get the picture.

At my sister’s I had tamales for breakfast—eight of them, and I’m not sorry. Then there was my nephew Anthony’s amazing venison jerky. Who knew I liked jerky? Good wine. Oh, and even Strawberry Boones Farm Brenda and her high school friend brought “for old time’s sake.” Let me tell you, it still tastes good.

Once I made it back to my home Tuesday I had one hour to shower, dress and get to the monthly writers meeting, and made it. I got home a little more than twelve hours after leaving Texas that morning, but it was all worth it.  

STUCK IN LOVE

“Oh no! I’d never spend a few years writing a novel,” Josh Boone said.
He was doing a Q&A at a screening for his soon to be released movie, “Stuck in Love.” Some of the invited writers gasped. Did he just say that? So screenwriting is easier for him than a novel? Interesting.
That was only one of the gems we picked up from the experience. Fern Goodman, Larry Leech and I were glad we made the effort after receiving an invitation though Florida Writers Association. Craig Evans, publicist, thought writers would enjoy the film because “Stuck in Love” is about a family of writers. Greg Kinear is the award winning novelist, and his son and daughter both write. The daughter’s boyfriend even writes. Quotes from well known authors are peppered throughout the movie, including one by a favorite of mine, Flannery O’Connor. The son’s (Nat Wolff) fascination with Stephen King is a feeling most of us share about at least one particular writer. There was so much to identify with whether you are a writer or reader.
Yes, the movie is about young love, but not exclusively. Somehow they made a movie all ages can relate to.
Josh Boone and Nat Wolff were charming at the Q&A. Josh even gave us a peek into himself with confessions about why he wrote certain scenes and created the ending he did. They were warm and funny. If we get a chance to attend another screening we certainly will. Movies have to start with a script, and there is so much to learn from a creative mind like Josh Boone’s. Writers, next time you receive an invitation like this, GO!

MENTAL WORKOUT

It’s the only thing that works for me – visualization. When I really don’t want to go to the gym and even putting on workout clothes to shame myself doesn’t do the trick, I think of the pole vaulter. He stands there with pole held in starting position. He’s all dressed and ready to go, but not yet. First he visualizes himself springing into that first step, then the next and the next and finally he sees himself planting the pole and rising in the air. You see the mental preparation in his eyes as they switch focus. And then he takes off.

 

That’s exactly what I have to do. I see myself getting my yoga bag ready, putting it in the car, backing out of the driveway, pulling into the parking lot, checking in at the desk and entering the darkened yoga studio. I CAN DO THIS! And it usually works. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all that visual preparation burned calories and built muscles? No, for that we have to spring into that first step. 

Now I get it! My real connection to Steve Martin’s first movie, The Jerk.

So this was me today on a short shopping trip with a specific list. Checked first two off at grocery store, one at gas station. Good job. One item to go. On to Petco where rumor has it they carry safflower seed for wild birds. They did! And that was all I needed. That’s all—“except this catnip toy.”

So there I am an hour later walking through World Market, which happened to be right next door to Petco, saying, “This is all I need, this phony French wall clock — and this pack of brown rice. And that’s all I need. Oh, and this can of stuffed grape leaves, and that’s all I need. Oh, and this tea diffuser. Yes, that’s all I need.”

To my credit I wasn’t wearing a bath robe and shuffling along with my pants at my ankles. Image