Friday, May 28, 2010
(Front row seats to the hurricane)
By midnight, all the guests had arrived, and we all assembled in the back porch. This place was even more shielded by the storm than the patio. We were fortunate that the winds were blowing from the southeast. Had they come from the opposite direction, the trees from the neighbor’s yard would have most definitely had fallen into to our yard and probably on our house. The trees from the other side of the yard were at least 100 feet from the house, if not further. Believe it or not, the porch was probably the safest place to be other than the living room. The power was still out but our eyes adjusted to the darkness. There must have been some places closer to downtown with power because we could see the trees silhouette against the sky against a faint light.
Also by this time, the storm’s power intensified. The winds were always strong but would be intermittently fierce. It was sort of like nature taking a deep breath to blow out candles on a birthday cake. That was about how long the ‘fierce’ part of the cycle lasted, 30 seconds, followed by the sustained winds. It was during these gusts that the trees would bow, seemingly at a 45 degree angle. We could hear snapping, and at the time I thought they were simply limbs and small trees breaking. The air was mild and the rain itself was cold. For some reason, I thought precipitation from a tropical system would have been warmer. Most of us enjoyed the show, except for Bobby. He was still a little skittish. However he was not as vocal and agitated as he was when he first arrived.
What about the dogs, how did they respond to the inclement weather? Abby was having a wonderful time. Abby always loved guests, but she was infatuated with Nikki. Throughout Abby’s life, she looked to Nikki like an older sister or a mother. Even when Abby grew older and took on a more dignified and stately manner about her, she would revert into a silly, frolicky puppy whenever Nikki came around. Abby went from person to person and room to room inspecting everything. Things new, different or unusual always piqued her interest. She was quite busy that night.
Nikki always loved our house as well as me and my mine. Some may wonder if they were scared and how would we know. All I can say is that by judging Nikki’s and Abby’s behavior that night, they did not appear to be scared. As a matter of fact, both Abby and Nikki went for a swim after midnight. I couldn’t believe it! I didn’t let them stay in there long. Even though they were relatively safe, if something did happen to them when they were in a pool during a category one hurricane, I would have been derelict in my responsibilities to those dogs. I escorted them out of the pool and shooed them into the house.
Father’s response to the storm was drastically different from the other dogs. He was huddled in fear all by himself in my mom’s closet. He would have stayed there all night, but when my mom went to bed, he hopped on the bed for comfort and company. My mom went to bed around the peak of the storm around 2 am. She shared the bed with her grand-niece, Abby, Nikki and Father.
I’ve often wondered what Father would have done if he were still homeless. Where would he have hunkered down in such a storm? I’ll never know.
My cousin’s husband and I were the last ones to go to bed. The intensity of the storm was fading, and I wanted to get to bed before sunrise. I’ve found that trying to fall asleep after the sun has risen is difficult and at times almost impossible. We made it through the night unscathed. No trees fell on our house or cars. We wouldn’t know the full extent of the damage until the next day when we could have a better view of the situation.
That was the first hurricane I had ever been through.