Saturday, August 27, 2011

breakfast table talk

I couldn't finish my morning bowl of corn flakes at my normal pace without hearing a loud crashing sound close by. Breakfast was being interrupted. I had to run over to one window or other to observe Mother Nature playing havoc dropping tree limbs all over our yard.

 Growing up on the eastern end of Long Island surrounded by water on both sides, hurricanes were part of the familiar weather experience starting in late August. We  pretty much took it in stride, and I don't remember my parents being overly  anxious. They took the necessary precautions and we "rode out the storm." At least it never dawned on me as a kid that we lived on an island, and what that implied. We were trapped, and it would require a two hour drive west to congested New York to get off the island. In good weather we could go by boat to Connecticut.

The one particular hurricane that I vividly remember as a kid when we lived on Lincoln Street was devastating to our town. It caused flooding of the Peconic River on Main Street, although my father's store the next street up was spared. Dad stayed at the store downtown, and told us about men rowing in boats up and down checking on things.

Somehow watching tree limbs crash down faster than I could run from one window to another seemed like a lot of excitement. The roar of the wind was especially ominous, although I was used to winds and storms coming over the water. Mom reminded me not to get to gleeful because when the storm was over I would be out helping with the clean up.

We couldn't drive on the streets for a couple days after the hurricane until the river receded and the fallen trees were removed. By then we drove up to the beach on the Sound to see how our place fared there, but since it was high up on a cliff all was well. The waters were dirty and the beach strewn with debris where the waves had rolled in higher than normal.

These thoughts came to mind today as I feel overstimulated from news reports, weather alerts  and outrageous "what-if" scenarios too complicated to be concerned over. All this will pass, and I hope that Hurricane Irene does not do too much damage on her trek up the coastline.