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while Rome burns

August 25, 2011

"Take heart, my children! I have chocolate."

As an ex-Texan, I am only too familiar with hurricanes. I fled from Rita, watched Katrina victims stream  into my town, and spent days outside with a hatchet and chain saw after Ike unleashed itself on my yard full of oak trees.

So I am having some trouble adjusting to this island. No one here has ever experienced a hurricane, or remembers a time when one threatened Chincoteague, so while I count my emergency candles and glue myself to the weather channel, they continue clamming and getting their Vietnamese coffee to go. 

If this was Texas, there wouldn’t be a window left unboarded, and there wouldn’t be a can of food left on the supermarket shelves. People would be fighting over a single tank of gas, and there would be prayers for deliverance and insults to Irene spray-painted across billboards.

But it’s not Texas. People here seem to view this as just another whim of the ocean, and they have spent their lives in a sort of dance around its seasons and storms. So far, they haven’t been fazed by its latest mood swing.

And maybe I am becoming like them. While going through my perishables and stocking canned goods in case of evacuation, I found myself making a fudge brownie pie. To use up eggs and butter, I told myself.

Whether or not that was my true motivation, baking a pie while Irene barrels towards Chincoteague struck me as being vaguely Nero-ish. It certainly wasn’t very Texan of me, but if you’ve got to go out with the bay washing up your driveway, courtesy of 115 m.p.h winds, dark chocolate has to improve things.

Maybe I’m becoming an islander after all.


picture by James E. McConnell 

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2011 12:13 pm

    Good luck with the storm, chocolate in hand!

    • August 27, 2011 6:10 pm

      Thank you so much! The chocolate is certainly helping.

  2. August 26, 2011 12:19 pm

    I guess much depends on personal history. We lived in Texas for a year, and the kids came home quite spooked after they had a hurricane drill at school. A Texas man was part of the crew that packed up our belongings and returned them to us when we moved back to Canada. He arrived in the middle of a snow storm and vowed to never set foot in our country again. He knew how to look after himself in a hurricane, and we knew how to live with a snow storm!
    (Dark chocolate makes everything better…)

    • August 27, 2011 6:15 pm

      Isn’t that the way? I moved quite a bit as a child, and saw hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc, but can hardly visit my family members in Minnesota. I just can’t take the snow! To each his own, as long as he has cacao products to help him through.

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