Meteorologists have placed what they called Hurricane Ike's "cone of opportunity" right over Key West. Uhh, that would be the same Key West where my son lives. My son who says that even if there is a mandatory evacuation, he's not going anywhere. Not the words this mother likes to hear.
I have to laugh, however, because that's the same thing my 91 year old father says. "I'd rather be stuck in my own house than on I-95 going nowhere!" Even though there is some geriatric logic to that, I can't stop thinking about the four days we spent without electricity (i.e. air conditioning and ice) when Hurricane Fay blew over and dropped 12 inches of water on us. I wonder if locking the doors and heading inland at the first sign of rain isn't the best answer. Alas, there is very little chance that I'll ever find out. I come from "be prepared" and "batten down the hatches" stock. And it looks like I've passed this trait on to the next generation.
Johnson works for a hotel that sits on a tiny spit of land that is the southernmost tip of the United States. The hotel will most assuredly be sitting under a ton of water if the island is hit by a Category 5 storm. John says if he leaves emergency officials won't let him back on the island til the water subsides. Since he's in charge of the hotel's clean up crew leaving is not an option. Instead he'll move a few belongings, his lizard and guinea pig closer to the action and keep watch as the ocean waves and the dry land become one.
I think deep down he might be a little scared; the healthy kind of scared where you have respect for your opponent. But mostly he's talking to the storm like it's pest in a bar picking a fight. "Bring it on, Ike! Gimme your best shot! I dare you!"
What's a mother to do? Even though he's grown and old enough to make his own decisions, I worry. I wring my hands. I say a prayer. But I also remember things about my son that go a long way to convince me that he'll be okay.
Take for instance, the time when he was 4 years old. His favorite outfit consisted of a homemade Superman cape and red rubber boots. Morphing his heroic personas into a kind of Super/Spiderman combo, he carried a rather long piece of cotton twine everywhere he went. I don't know what kind of rescuing my pint-sized paladin imagined he could do with that string, but he never left home without it. In fact, carrying the string with him was a precursor to what became a lifetime characteristic of being prepared.
On one particular day, the string came in handy. While driving on a road less traveled, dodging oversized potholes, we heard an alarming clunking sound coming from under the chassis. I got out to take a look, followed closely by the young boy who apparently knew more about cars than his mother and her shopping companion. He pointed to the bent tailpipe lying askew under the car.
"Shit," I muttered to myself.
In an era that pre-dated cell phones my friend gave voice to the ineffective question that all damsels in distress ask,"What do we do now? We're stranded."
"Let's use this string to tie the pipe to the car," said the only person in the group who possessed Y-chromosome driven DNA. His man genes miraculously provided a knowledge of automobile repair that the adult women could only admire.
From that time on, we could usually count on John to have just the right idea and/or tool to rescue someone, usually himself, from precarious situations. I admit, a lot of them were the kind that a mother would rather not know about until years after the fact. Such as:
- Taking over the driving from his sister during a serious winter whiteout - she had a license, he did not.
- Doing roof repair in tornado conditions
- Working on NC's outerbanks in the middle of hurricane
- Being close enough to smell the smoke and see the flames when a plane flew into the Pentagon
- And the most recent incident that had something to do with a fishing tournament, a broken boat engine, shark-infested waters too close to Cuba for a mariner's comfort, and and the now-grown superman donning his scuba gear to check the underside of the sputtering engine. Yikes!
To John it's all in a day's work. To me it's the reason I bite my fingernails.
Praying that hurricane season will soon be over, Merry ME