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RAIN AND A CORNER TURNED

I’ve turned some kind of corner, physically. Pain level dropped a lot and suddenly. As the evening wears on, I wear out, as if all the pains of the day collect and concentrate in my chest and shoulders. I do the best I can. It’s better. Definitely.

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I wanted to go out today. Take a camera, maybe the little point and shoot because it’s so easy, but the rain came. I should have known. The weather yesterday was weird … very warm with a powerful wind, yet sunny. During the night, the wind died away and the rain came and this morning, it’s all drip, drip, dripping … the slow saturating rain of April.

Just the kind of watering the flowers need. They suck it up and grow tall and strong. There will be a burst of color now. Not today, not while the water is falling from the sky …. but tomorrow, maybe or the day after. Whenever the sun next makes an appearance.

I dreamt last night the cancer is back and quietly eating me. Three nights in a row, I’ve dreamed the same dream and it frightens me. It could be true. I don’t know. I had a chest x-ray and it was clear … and just the other day … so how bad can it be, right?

It’s so gray out there. So damp. The dogs hate this weather. Snow they will play in and any other weather, no matter how cold … but not this steady rain. There will be no photo expedition today. I shall wait.

Life’s on hold. Everything is waiting for me to be ready for it, ready to live again. I’m sure when the sunshine returns it will cast off so much of the haunting sadness I feel. I believe, I do believe.

BEWARE OF FLYING UMBRELLAS

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Once upon a time, my father had a business partner. I don’t remember his name, but he was a big, bluff Russian who used to come over the house and make gallons of cabbage soup. He must have thought there were a lot more of us than there were, because my mother couldn’t figure out how to store so much soup, even though we had a full size standing deep freezer in the basement and a huge fridge in the kitchen.

He and my father would go into the kitchen and produce these gallons of soup and laugh a lot. We all had to eat it for weeks until we were sure we were turning into little cabbages.

Bob (or whatever his name was) was accident prone and an enthusiastic teller of stories, most of them about his own misadventures.

“So I was at the beach, at Coney Island” he says, almost shouting because he never said anything except very loud. “Very sunny. Blue sky. A nice day to take my mother to the beach, let her relax in the sun by the water. She is just settling down with her chair. And she asks me if I’ll set up the umbrella for her. I mean, she didn’t have to ask. I always do it, but she always asks anyway, like if she doesn’t ask I won’t do it. I took her to Coney Island, what did she think, I’m going to leave her to cook in the sun?”

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We all nodded dutifully. Because he was my father’s partner and we were kids, so what else was there to do?

“It’s a big umbrella. With stripes. Red and yellow. I got it myself, on sale. Umbrellas are expensive and this was a good sturdy one and I paid bupkas for it. If you ever need an umbrella …” and he paused to remember what he was going to say. “Anyway, this was one of the good ones, with a heavy pole so it would stay put.”

We nodded some more. Our job. To nod. Look very interested.

“I opened the umbrella and had to find the right place to put it because, you know, if it’s in the wrong place, the shade isn’t going to be where you want it. So I walked around a bit until I found just the right place. Then I took the pole and a jammed it into the sand as hard as I could and it went pretty deep. Seemed good and solid.”

We were still nodding. I must have been — maybe 10? — and had been taught to be polite, no matter what, to grown-ups. We did not call adults by their first name. I think my teeth would have cracked if I had tried or my tongue would have stuck to the roof of my mouth.

“What with everything looking okay and my mother settling down in her chair with a book, she looked happy. So I figured it would be a good time to get something to eat and I told her I would go get us some hot dogs — and something to drink. She said that was good, tell them to leave the mustard off because — she’s always reminding me but I know, I know — she doesn’t like mustard.

“I walked all the way over to Nathan’s — pretty long walk, all the way at the end of the boardwalk — because they have the best hot dogs” at which I was nodding with enthusiasm because Nathan’s does have the best hot dogs, “And fries. I got five, two for her — no mustard — and three for me. I was hungry,” and he paused to pat his substantial belly, “I started walking back. I could see where to go — I could see our striped umbrella all the way from the boardwalk.”

Nod, nod, nod.Nathans at Coney Island

“The weather suddenly began to change.  Suddenly. Big clouds coming in from the ocean. And getting windy. This was all happening fast while I was out getting the dogs. Funny how weather changes so fast at the beach, you know? So now, I’m almost there when up comes a big puff of wind. That umbrella pulls right out of the sand and flies at me. Whacks me over the head. Boom. I thought my head was gonna come off.

“I dropped the food and fell over. Like a rock I fell and just lay there. My whole brain was like scrambled eggs. They had to come and take me to the hospital. I was completely compost for TWO DAYS! Two days! Compost!”

Be careful of flying umbrellas at the beach. They will turn you into compost. That’s not good, especially when your hands are full of hot dogs.

For the Weekly Writing Challenge: Object – A character sketch and some funny memories.
Other Entries:
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  3. The Coat of Many Pockets | Musings of a Soul Eclectic
  4. Approaching your 30′s with a big question mark? | Sober Rants
  5. Apology Issue #1 | Doe Words
  6. #DPChallenge; The Music | thepanicpersona
  7. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Object | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  8. Weekly Writing Challenge: Object – Andrea | sailingthroughthefog
  9. An afternoon (inspired by a true story) | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
  10. Him | Emily Schleiger
  11. DP Challenge: Object. My camera. | cockatooscreeching
  12. The Can of Sardines | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  13. The Red Pen | Sleep Less, Write More
  14. Sparkle | Master Of Disaster
  15. whodunit mystery solved | Musings of a Random Mind
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  22. Daily Prompt: Writing Challenge | The Road Less Travelled By
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STUCK! THEN — HELP ARRIVES!!

The last time Garry could get free of the driveway was last Saturday. Today, as I write this, it’s Thursday. The kids picked up a few things, including dog food — which was getting perilously low — when they were out a few days ago. Otherwise, we are stuck. Our PT Cruiser has been dug out and is actually sitting on bare asphalt, but the driveway is so completely iced over, the car will not go more than a few feet. Then, it just spins its wheels.

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I tried to get a tow, but it’s a front wheel drive car without a tow hitch. Pulling it out from the front … which is the only way it could be done because of the way it’s parked … would tear off the whole front bumper. So the driveway has been plowed twice — for whatever good it did which isn’t much — and our car is still trapped.

Both the yellow car and the silver Cruiser are ours. Mostly, Kaity uses the yellow Sunbird. We use the Cruiser for pretty much everything. For a 2-wheel drive vehicle, it’s been good. Until this winter, which has defeated the snowblower and the car. And the best efforts of everyone in the house.

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Yesterday afternoon it rained. It was in the mid thirties, so I hoped it would at least take the level of ice down, but what it did was convert the last remaining hard-packed snow into solid ice about 3-inches thick. Our neighbor came by early this morning with his tractor … but he said the ice was too hard and too thick.

I called the town, but they had nothing but one (just one!) bucket of sand to offer us. And we’d have to come and get it. I pointed out we are two senior citizens trapped by ice. They suggested we call the police and evacuate to a shelter. Nice to know our tax dollars are so well spent.

AAA say their vehicles don’t have 4-wheel drive, sorry. Good all those years of dues are paying off.

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We are down to our last hope, the neighbor with the tractor who says he’ll try again later. Maybe the ice will have softened a little. I’m not feeling optimistic at this point. But we do have to get out. The Cruiser needs to be inspected before the end of the month. I have a doctor appointment on Monday. I don’t think we’ll run out of food, but I’m running out of time. It’s 13 days until I go into the hospital and there’s much to be done. At this rate, I won’t be able to get to the hospital because I can’t get out of the driveway. Isn’t that a kick in the head.

In all the years we have both lived in New England, never have we been trapped like this. Garry’s lived here since 1970 and me since 1987. We’ve had bad winters, but never have we been marooned. I really don’t know what is going to happen. Or when.

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And then … the tractor arrived! Good neighbor Burt and the green miracle machine and suddenly, we can see pavement! That’s right. Asphalt! It’s been more than a month since we’ve seen it and now … it’s back. Owen is helping, shuffling cars … and of course Bishop is helping by barking continuously, with occasional input from Bonnie. Nan barks too, but stays inside while lending moral support to the outside dogs. It’s amazing!! It’s … a neighbor. A member of our church’s congregation — an elder, actually.

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Because in the end, the reality of the valley and perhaps of rural life in general — you need your neighbors. They are the ones who have trucks and tractors, who will bring you a cooked meal when you are sick, do your shopping when you’re laid up. You meet your neighbors, not over the fence but in church. Believe what you like, but join a church regardless because the heart and soul of relationships in rural New England begin in churches.

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BLUE SUNRISE AND ICICLES

This morning the sunrise was blue and pink. Not the typical colors of dawn around here. Grabbed the camera. Half asleep, no glasses or focus. But the soft colors were lovely and… ye gods, it’s SNOWING AGAIN …

Our car is still stuck in the ice and snow.  I think we are never going to get out of here again. I needn’t worry about surgery since we will never leave the driveway. The ice dams — huge roof icicles — are halfway down my window.

Welcome to the new arctic.

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MORE SNOW … THE NEVERENDING WINTER

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I’m was hoping we’d seen the last “big one” of the season, but nope.

This storm wasn’t suppose to really hit us. It was a coastal storm, so if we got it at all, it would be no more than a glancing blow, a few light inches.

When the snow started to come down heavily this morning,  I thought “Oh, just a flurry.” But it got heavier and Garry, foregoing his shower and other normal morning activities, made a dash for the grocery store … along with what seemed to be the entire population of the town. He thought there couldn’t be any more people coming, but as he was checking out, the rest of the towns showed up … those who’d been at work, probably.

Now the weather gurus are predicting as much as 2 feet of snow along the coast. No one is aware it’s snowing in the Valley. We never make it into weather reports so I have no idea what we are expecting. Apparently a bit more than the originally predicted 3 to 5 inches. (Ya think Probie?)

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So. Thirty four days by the calendar. Are we counting yet?

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NAVIGATING THE DRIVEWAY – TRAPPED!

Oh, look out my window. My granddaughter’s boyfriend’s truck is stuck in the middle of our ski slope. Now he’s pushing. Hah. Fat chance. He was warned. Wheels are spinning, but it just digs him in deeper. Now he’s out there with the shovel. Really digging. Heh, heh.

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I love it when the drama unfolds in front of my window … and I can grab my camera and show it to you.

This is winter in the valley. One truck, one 17-year old boy, a snow shovel … and our driveway, such as it is. And of course, starring all the snows of winter. Remember — another is on the way!

UPDATE!! THIS JUST IN!!

The granddaughter’s boyfriend is stuck in the driveway again. Too dark to take more pictures, but I can hear his tires spinning.

Apparently his truck is not 4-wheel drive. His mother’s truck is a four-wheeler. This is merely 2-wheel drive. You’d think after getting stuck this morning, he’d have figured out that he shouldn’t drive to the bottom of our little ski slope … but he didn’t want darling Kaity to have to slog down the driveway in all that snow. Aww, ain’t love grand?

Ah youth.

Yes indeed. I hear his tires spinning. He must have worn off half his treads by now. And life goes on in the Valley.

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OVERNIGHT SNOW

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It wasn’t predicted. The snow was supposed to be over, so waking up to a new layer? What’s another 5 or 6 inches at this point? Just more snow. And more and more. Spring will come. I know it will.

But not yet. Another storm is on the way. By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be buried again. Oh well.

snow on porch table

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PERFECT CIRCLE – TEEPEE IN ITS SEASONS

Daily Prompt: Karma Chameleon

by Krista on February 12, 2014

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CIRCLE.

My teepee, from its first day, all shiny and white, to it’s nearly final winter, rimed with ice and snow.

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I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM

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Winter is long in New England. It snowed yesterday. It stopped for a while. And it is snowing again and this storm, which is pretty big will be followed by a much larger storm a few days from now. There’s no reason to be surprised. Winter is like this and February is often the month when the heaviest snow falls. The Blizzard of ’78 was just about this time in February. Just saying.

Please enjoy the vintage recording of Billie Holiday, one of the all time great blues singers.Maybe the greatest.

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36 YEARS AGO TODAY: THE BLIZZARD OF 1978

This is blizzard time in New England, when the biggest baddest storms hit.

Thirty-six years ago today, a storm began moving into eastern Massachusetts. It was the afternoon of Feb. 6, 1978. Thousands of people were let out of work early to get home before the storm.

Traffic was, as usual, heavy. Snow started falling at more than an inch per hour trapping more than 3,000 automobiles and 500 trucks in rapidly building snowdrifts. Route 128 (aka Route 95) became a giant snowdrift where 14 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning, huddled in their trapped cars.

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There are so many scenes that remain clear in my memory from the Blizzard of ’78.

I was smack dab in the middle of it from the beginning. I lived just down the street and was able to slog through the snow to the newsroom. As one of the few reporters who could get to the station without a car,  I found myself doing myriad live shots across Massachusetts and other parts of New England.

I would like to give a special shout out to my colleagues who ran the cameras, the trucks, set our cable and mike lines, found signals when it seemed impossible and worked nonstop under the most dire and difficult conditions. All I had to do was stand in front of the camera or interview people. I recall standing in the middle of the Mass Turnpike, the Southeast Expressway, Rt. 495 and other major arteries doing live shots. Nothing was moving.

There was no traffic. No people. Abandoned vehicles littered the landscape. It was surreal. Sometimes it felt like Rod Serling was calling the shots. The snow accumulation was beyond impressive. I am or was 5 foot 6 inches. I often had to stand on snow “mountains” to be seen. My creative camera crews used the reverse image to dwarf me (no snickering, please) to show the impressive snow piles. No trickery was needed. Mother Nature did it all.

Downtown Boston looked like something out of the cult movie “The World, The Flesh And The Devil”. The end of the world at hand. No motor traffic, very few people: just snow as high and as far as the eye could see.

Ironically, people who were usually indifferent to each other became friendly and caring. Acts of kindness and compassion were commonplace, at least for a few days. Those of us working in front or back of the camera logged long hours, minimal sleep, lots of coffee, lots of pizza and intermittently laughed and grumbled. There are some behind the scenes stories that will stay there for discretion’s sake.

The Blizzard of ’78 will always be among the top stories in my news career. It needs no embellishment. The facts and the pictures tell it all. It needs no hype or hysteria.

About Photographs of the Blizzard of ’78:

There aren’t many pictures of the blizzard available. You’ll see the same shots whenever the blizzard is remembered. In 1978, everyone didn’t have a digital camera and a cell phone. People didn’t have instant access to photographs the way we do now.

If you have pictures and can share them, I’d love to see different images. All of the photos I’ve included are archive news photos. I’m betting some of you out there have photographs and lots of us would find them very interesting! You would need to scan them, I guess. Hard to remember all the way back to pre-digital.

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: NATURE OUT MY FRONT WINDOW

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Found In Nature

Snow out front windowIt’s snowing a blizzard out there … falling at an inch and a bit per hour. It’s almost midnight and there are about 4 inches on the ground. I wonder how many we’ll have by morning? It’s bitterly cold too, around 9 degrees at the moment and still dropping.

This makes the amount of snowfall in relation to the amount of moisture in the air much larger. If the thermometer keeps going down, the amount of snow will keep going up.