From the Other Side
Sept. 5, 2008
Well, We Made It

Ah, the sweet sound of chainsaws and generators.

Not really that sweet, I know. But if you look at it kinda from a 32-degree angle to the sun at equinox through glasses that are about +5 diopters too strong for youÖwell, itís sweet.

Gustav turned out to be bad, but not as bad as we had feared. Our hearts go out to those who sustained serious damage, of course, and those still without power.

My own drama was not so extraordinary. Thursday night last week, on the way to the Franklin Historic District Commission meeting, the air-conditioner in the truck went belly-up. I had suspected it for a time, and was saving up some moola to fix it. Of course getting it fixed was problematic: There was a hurricane possibly coming, and the cash might have to go to evacuation funding. Tell me I ainít poí pink trash (being Caucasian and Native American, that makes pink, donít it?)

Spent the weekend picking up stuff from around the yard. Patio stuff, gardening stuff, you know the routine. Throughout doing that was the requisite stop-and-chat with the neighbors. WhatĎs it doing now? Is that wind shear getting stronger? Which way will that push it? You know the drillÖ

But before all that, at dawn Saturday morning after I had my coffee and fed the animals, I put Bogie in the truck and we went fishing.

Well, heck, why not? Better than Xanax in my book.

Just acquired another vintage fiberglass fly rod, and for those of you to whom such things matter, itís a Cortland FR2000, eight-foot long, was using a five-line on it. Itís probably 1960s era, and soft as a noodle. I love it. Landed a very nice bass under clear skies with no indication of a hurricane anywhere around.

That, friends and neighbors, is how you prepare for a hurricane.

I was taking a wait-and-see attitude, but Sunday around noon Suzie took off with my mom for my brotherís girlfriendís place in Ville Platte. Yes, we knew Gustav was likely heading that general direction, but there was almost literally no place else to go, and we figured the intensity would be down by the time it got that far.

By then I had decided Iíd leave too, but the AC was out in the truck, so I decided to leave later when it cooled down. Arrangements were made for Patches and Daisy but Bogie came with me as I figured he was too young to be separated yet.

So Bogie and I head out about 6 p.m. and we had the highway virtually to ourselves, even through Lafayette. We made it to Ville Platte in good time and they had a fenced in back yard. My brotherís girl and her roomie have two dogs: Sidney, a sweet-as-molasses mix of what might have been cocker spaniel and basset hound who is 14, and Molly, a Japanese dog the name of which I canít pronounce but sheís about 5 and deaf, also sweet as cane sugar.

Unfortunately, the enthusiasm of an eight-month-old Lab was too much for either one, so the three dogs got yard privileges in shifts, and Bogie had to stay in his kennel while in the house.

The wind started picking up, and the power went out mid-afternoon Monday. Gustav came to see us by 5 p.m. and blew pretty dadgum hard that far inland, but we were fine.

The eye came over Ville Platte at about 6, maybe 7, and we all went outside to let the dogs take care of necessary business, and the whole neighborhood kinda mingled with each other surveying for damage, walking their animals and just checking on each otherís well-being. It was pretty neat.

Tuesday morning I searched all over Ville Platte for an open store to buy coffee, and there wasnít a thing with power in the city. My brotherís girl, whose nickname is Pinky, made me some robust English Breakfast Tea, and it was a good substitute.

Bogie and I headed home after the noon hour and the ladies would come back later. I hit the most torrential thunderstorm you can imagine. It was hot, too, with the windows rolled up to keep the rain out, and no air-conditioner. But we made it home in about two hours to a yard full of downed trees and limbs, but the house was safe and so was my momís.

We published an Internet-only edition of the Banner on Wednesday, and printed on Thursday.

Our thoughts and prayers to everyone who sustained damage to their properties or just having a rough time coping with the aftermath.

Well, this weekend I got a heckuva mess to go pick up from the yard. I got a start on it this week, but thereís a lot left to go. Iíll also be working on the blasted AC in the truck, too. Gotta put all the outdoors stuff back outdoors, too. Itís going to be a hot, sweaty, work weekend.

But I think before I get started on all that, Iíll get up early Saturday morning and go fishing for an hour or so. Because as Havilah Babcock said, "There comes a time in every man's life when he is either going to go fishing or do something worse."

Hey, itís my job. Itís what I do.