Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A windy night tickles the memories

I think we could safely call that a wild night, although we have had wilder ones. My wind gauge was racing. The worst of the storm, I gather from the morning news reports, was in the mid-coast and Down East areas where many people were without power this morning. I know we occasionally get wind; but when the wind is whistling like that at night, its noise and ferocity seem amplified.

I was reminded of a really big wind our family watched pass us by just a few blocks many years ago. My parents lived just outside St. Petersburg, Florida. In the late 1960s when our daughter was just a very young child, we took her there so my parents could meet, see, and hold her. Gator Daughter was too young to know what was happening, but at least she and her grandparents could spend a little time together.

About the third day we were there, a hurricane headed straight for the Tampa Bay area. It wasn’t aimed directly at my folks’ home, but it was going to be close enough to potentially cause considerable damage. The hurricane slammed into the coast and headed inland and, with the sun still shining, our family gathered in chairs on the front lawn. We saw the blowing winds and clouds approach and the edge passed within several blocks of where we were.

While we were in some wind with the sun still visible, the hurricane passed causing a lot of damage just those several blocks away. Before we left St. Pete for home that year, we toured some of the hurricane damaged area. It was hard to believe that we sat generally in sunshine with some winds while just a few blocks away, Nature was wreaking havoc. There were millions of dollars in damage in the area where the storm actually hit, but that was well outside St. Pete.

And here in Maine, do you remember Hurricane Bob? I worked through that one.

Last night wasn’t nearly as bad and we didn’t get anywhere near the hurricane force winds. But lying in bed last night and listening to the whistling outside brought back many memories of damaging winds we’ve experienced. I don’t like windy nights.

A little conflict this morning in various weather forecasts. The first report I saw on The Weather Channel showed snow showers along with wind today in our area. The local TV station we usually watch in the morning showed those possible showers to be in the north and mountains.

This political season is winding down. Election Day is now less than a week away. I’ll be glad when it’s over. I think it began nearly three years ago and, frankly, I’m very tired of the whole thing. Nevertheless, I pride myself in having missed only one voting day since I first became eligible to vote back in the 1950s. That one miss was just last spring when my town held its school budget vote one week before the June primaries. I had been under the impression the vote would be during the primaries and was surprised when I asked for the ballot. I was not alone. That mess up broke a very long string of voting.

Speaking of voting, I’ve cast my ballot for this year’s elections and referenda questions. If you haven’t, please don’t forget to do so either absentee or in person next Tuesday. We cannot say much about our government if we don’t participate in it, even in this small way.


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