The last few days have been … I’m not sure of the best adjective.  It could be stressful, or unique, or any of a number of words.

After anticipating Hurricane Irma with a mixture of dread and curiosity we had to leave on the day that the storm was to arrive in our little corner of Georgia. On Monday, L drove in rain and drizzle three hours and then under overcast skies for another three hours until we reached Durham, NC.  On Tuesday I had a CT scan of my chest and then saw my surgeon.

The CT was negative, but I have had a small nodule on my calf, in the field of my previous radiation, that I have felt and fretted about for several months.  I purposely did not tell L because there was nothing to be done prior to the visit.  The surgeon was sufficiently concerned to biopsy the place.  By the time we left Durham it was mid afternoon, and it was raining in Eastern North Carolina.

We called our neighbor and found that we had trees down, no power, and no damage to the house. 

Loathe, to arrive after dark to a dark house, we made reservations in Asheville, NC, two hours from home, and spent the night.  It was an uneventful evening.  We ate supper, dropped by the Book Exchange, and walked to our somewhat dilapidated old downtown motel.  I love the motel. 

The Downtown Inn

It is an old Days Inn with all sorts of history.  I know it was a Days Inn because, despite the fact that the sign has been taken down, the outline of the words remains on the façade.  Entrance to one's room is from the outside balconies to a room which has been updated and modernized from the 1950s Moderne, mostly in the form of king sized beds – which fill up the rooms – and on-the-wall power strips for all of today’s electronic gadgets.  The microwave in our room said that the time was 0:00.  Somehow, that seemed fitting because the motel is out of time; a 1950s building in a district that is all turn of the last century.

It is obvious that the motel once rented by the hour as each guest must present a photo I.D, to be scanned and filed, that proves that all have residences greater than fifty miles away.  The new owners have steadily improved the place over the last few years and the nightly rate has risen in accordance with the improvements.  Still, the rate is half that of the stately old hotels in the area. Would I stay in a nicer motel? Sure, but the price and the location are both right, and I have never felt unsafe there.


So, we left yesterday morning, the 13th for home.  There was a Carolina blue sky and mountain ranges disappearing into the distance as we drove.  Turning onto our lane we stopped to let the Esposito’s little girl scamper across the street.  The whole family was out raking and blowing all of the debris out of the yard.

Driving further down our lane there was leaf debris and small limbs down everywhere.  An enormous oak root ball six to eight feet in diameter rose next to the street with the trunk neatly running down the property line between two of our neighbor’s houses.  Generators chugged away everywhere; not a good sign.

The entrance to our drive was blocked by the top of a pine tree, and two other pines could be seen down across the road as it turned down between our place and another neighbor’s home.  I walked through all sorts of small limbs to our back drive and walked it to the highway.  There were many small limbs down, but after tossing those to the side the back drive was passable.

The old dogwood in front of my wife's studio was broken in two, but fell away from the building.

The power was out, there was no WiFi.  Initially, there was no land line service, but it came back on a few hours after getting home.  I called our yard guy, who has become a friend, and asked him if he could cut the top of the tree away where it blocked the drive.  He was getting a new chain for his chain saw at the time and was in town.

L had an appointment for a hair cut and a dye job.  I’ve found that those cosmetic appointments take place regardless of weather or which political party is in power.  So, I went to get my hair cut, as well.

When we came home the tree was topped, and Bill had blown the debris out of the drive.  That sort of extra effort is hard to find, the reason he has gained a huge business, and the reason we have become friends. 

We ate by electric lantern and candle light, and I wrote this in the dark.  The laptop still had a charge.  I saved it and went to bed at 9:00 p.m.  There was nothing to do in the dark, with no power.

Things could be so much more inconvenient.

A former co-worker and her husband moved to St. Thomas a few years ago.  She posted pictures of their place after the hurricane passed through.  There were pieces of lumber laying all over the yard.  They had no power, but cell phone service had returned long enough to post pictures to Facebook.  Her next post was heart breaking.  Somehow, either due to the storm and loss of security or by coincidence, while she and her husband were hunkered down in the hall during the hurricane, some low life in Columbus, Ohio was having a field day with her debit card.  A phone call informed her that her bank account had been cleaned out.

Although this is not a picture my friend in St. Thomas posted on Facebook, this picture off of the web looks much the same as hers did.

I hear news from places like Barbuda saying that there is nothing left on the island.  Fortunately, all of the inhabitants were evacuated prior to land fall.

Americans in the Conch Republic have found themselves without power, water, or any service.  It is amazing that residents stayed to ride it out, but that is the mentality of people who live in the Florida Keys.

September 14, 2017:

I awoke at 5:15 thinking it was daylight.  Some creature had tripped the security light motion detector in back and the light was shining through the blinds on my face.  The power is back.  Thanks go to all of those power company employees who work day and night to restore service.  I’m sure they don’t get payed enough.


Views: 140

Comment by Anna Herrington on September 14, 2017 at 9:44am

So glad you two are okay, as far as Irma's path goes, and hopefully that nodule will be benign.

Too bad about the dogwood! but at least it broke away from the studio - and sounds like the big oak made it. Oak, right?

I remember that hotel!! (although we were camping in Swannanoa, not hotelling it) When we thought we might live in Asheville rather than down in Atlanta when we moved back east in 2000.... we loved Asheville and Black Mountain even more, but it just wasn't right for what we had moved for - to be closer to my mom.... but we visited up there an awful lot. Beautiful - and lovely people, too. 

I agree with Monkey, you have a great style with writing.

Good luck with clean up going forward  : )

Comment by marilyn sands on September 14, 2017 at 12:57pm

Today, for most - it is an unsettling world - real & imagined.  But as long as we have fine writer's to read like yourself - we'll make it through.

Comment by Rodney Roe on September 15, 2017 at 1:35am

Friends came by yesterday evening asking us to go with them for dinner.  They have no power, which means they have no water, and they anticipate that it will be next week before power returns.  They came in and used the facilities, got water for the dog, borrowed the cooler and took a bag of ice that we didn't need now that the power is back, and we had Mexican at Manrique's. (The owners are Manuel and Enrique)  Manrique's is good and cheap and visited by local Hispanic residents.  In addition to the usual tacos and burritos there are oddities like cactus, cheek meat, and tongue. One of our friends had the cactus.  She lived in Mexico for a time and then in El Paso, TX and was excited to see the cactus on the menu.  She thinks I should try it some time and maybe I will.

Thanks for the compliments on the way I write.  It isn't conscious.  I like to tell stories and the writing sounds like the way I talk, I guess.

Thanks, as well, for the well wishes.  I have small nodules in my lungs, too.  They have been unchanged over time so are nothing to worry about.  I have no idea when or how I got them.  

Comment by Rodney Roe on September 15, 2017 at 1:43am

Marilyn, my experience is that my imagined dangers are almost always worse than the real ones.  It's the "almost" that is the problem.

The big oak is still standing.

Comment by Anna Herrington on September 15, 2017 at 8:59am

Is it a live oak? I know those stay green into winter, but is that also the kind with such incredibly long, strong horizontal limbs that we saw all over northern Georgia when we lived there? or is that another type oak. I don't remember...

Gorgeous deciduous trees down there.

It took years but I've grown quite fond now of the western scrub oaks we have out here growing wild... but planted Southern magnolias, mimosa, and dogwood in our backyard, to 'feel' right, here at home (I skipped the azalea until I can find white, not-pink-or-fuschia blooming ones, they're weirdly hard to find out here).

Haven't figured out how to make lightning bugs love it here yet  ; )  but I love that there's relatively few bugs at all.

So glad the oak made it!

Comment by Rodney Roe on September 16, 2017 at 10:57pm

Anna, the tree is not a live oak.  I think those live mainly in the low country of Georgia and South Carolina.  They are magnificent and can live hundreds of years.  This tree is a species of red oak commonly called a Turkey Oak because the leaves look like a turkey track.

We were back in Arkansas to visit family a few weeks ago and the trees in the Ozarks are a lot different than here.  I don't see any type of elm where we live.  Our little acre when I was growing up had and American Elm (which got the Dutch elm disease and died) a "slippery" elm, and a "winged" elm.  Everything there looks scrubby compared the the trees in the Appalachians and the Piedmont where we have lived.  It is all beautiful in its own way.

When we lived in Arizona there was a species of pine called Pinion pine.  It smelled like incense when it burned.  When I close my eyes and think about the mountains of Arizona I can almost smell that aroma mixed with that of dry dust.

One of the things I really missed about the west, even western Arkansas where I grew up, was the fact that no one has to plant flowers on the highway right-of-way; they do it themselves. 


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