Recommended wine for today’s entry: Because the evenings are cooler and the skeeters are finally vacating the premises, I suggest you cook some cheeseburgers in the backyard tonight. According to Gary Vaynerchuk of winelibrarytv.com, “The 2005 Saison Des Vins Syrah L’hiver ($16) is the rare red with enough fruit for this meat-cheese combo.” This is one of his tailgating suggestions for Food & Wine magazine, (http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/tailgating-wines-best-bottles-for-pairing) but I’ll tailgate in my den while watching Monday Night Football tonight…
One year ago, Kentucky was hit by Hurricane Ike. This was a bit freakish as it’s like a thousand miles and a sharp right-hand turn to the coast of Texas where Ike rambled ashore.
As I ran out to pull up the large candidate-touting sign from the front yard, I saw what looked to be a stuffed animal under one of our front trees. I wrestled with the sign, which, when broadsided by the winds, shoved me like a Skediddle Kiddle to the northeastern corner of the yard. C’mon, you remember Skediddle Kiddles, right? The cute little dolls with a pusher on their back – when you pushed it, their little legs pumped so fast it was comical. Anyway, as I was skediddled through the yard, I checked out the stuffed animal.
Not stuffed. Real. Real and dead. I have about a hundred friends who totally hate cats. It couldn’t die in their yards. No, find the crazy cat lady’s yard. Ruin her day.
It wasn’t my cat – or even a cat I’d ever seen, but my husband, in the midst of Ike, buried the poor thing. Afterward, he reported that it was quite an elderly cat and it appeared to have died of natural causes. I’m not stupid; I know he was trying to make me feel better. I still choose to believe him.
While he was at the stray cat funeral, I heard this weird loudspeaker announcement float in on the steady wind. It said, in a booming voice, “HEAR THIS, ALL YE COMELY BRADFORD PEAR TREES! I COMMAND YE: SPLIT THYSELVES INTO LARGE, HEAVY CHUNKS AT THIS INSTANT. AND IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU DO SO ACROSS ALL MAJOR LANES AND WITH POWER LINES IN TOW!!”
I know – who would have thought that trees spoke in Medieval terminology?
Well, our trees obliged. Immediately, they flung themselves across the driveway in two places and the biggest one in the yard strategically placed its heaviest appendage across our street.
My husband yelled (because if you’ve ever seen the tornado scene in The Wizard of Oz, you know that winds like that are VERY loud)… “HEY, COME HELP ME MOVE THE TREE OUT OF THE ROAD!”
Well, I really didn’t want to help. But I dramatically dragged myself, against the wind, to the end of the driveway. This was a job for Geraldo Rivera, who, for whatever reason, seems to get major air time only when winds exceed 100 mph. Not for a middle-aged woman with high blood pressure and a sluggish nature.
Anyway, I went and I pretended to be helping, grunting and grimacing whenever my hubbie looked at me. Truth was, I didn’t want to break a nail and I have the muscle mass of a gerbil.
Hubbie had a little hand saw and my job was to help drag the severed branches off the road. Cars were lined up behind us as all the neighbors tried to get home before the power went out and rendered their garage door openers useless.
Then, with the neighbors providing an audience, the wind actually lifted me in the air and I hovered there for what felt like a full minute. You know on The Jetsons, how they hovered above the ground? That was me!
(While you’re picturing this, is it OK if you let me be“daughter Judy,” instead of “Jane his wife?” Jane had that bright orange hair that looked really stupid with her rigid triangle collars.)
Anyway, that did it. Once my feet hit the ground again, I stomped dramatically up the driveway, through with laboring in life-threatening circumstances. I sought sanctuary in my house.
Where, of course, our power was out. Our power is ALWAYS out. So we followed our usual routine. First, we took all the ice out of the freezer, loaded it into a cooler, and saved the beer and wine. Then, guilty, we stuck in a small container of milk for our daughter. Next we opened the windows before the stagnant air made the place smell like an enormous cat litter box. We collected the camping lanterns and battery-run radios. Then we settled down and started complaining.
That night, splayed out on top of the covers with cats and dogs radiating body heat all around us, we listened to a late-night talk show on the radio. You know, one of those psychologist call-in shows with whiny, lonely insomniacs droning on and on. Their depressing stories were punctuated only by the sound of generators and howling coyotes in the distance.
And just when I felt like my mind and body were finally going to shut down and let me get some blessed sleep in the heavy, stagnant air, one of the dogs passed gas.
That was Night One of what would be eight …