Nan’s Post-Hurricane Irene Report

Post-Hurricane Irene Report

So I went down to Shelburne Falls to see all the looters. Big shopping baskets full of well-made crafts being pushed up the hills, disappearing into random houses – but there weren’t any. And I thought, “BOY, these people DO NOT know ANYTHING about hurricanes!”

The only person I saw get in trouble was a guy who walked across the iron bridge when it was blocked off. The cop kind of acted like he had stolen the bridge – he was darn sarcastic in his questioning about why the man thought he was better than anyone else and could walk across the roped-off bridge, but even then the mocked pedestrian was quiet and respectful in his answers. He didn’t shoot anyone, didn’t scream or do anything that would actually get him arrested. I don’t know about this place. Before the next hurricane I’m going to have to whip you guys into hurricane shape!

And so you can now add to your list of things not to trust:

  1. Creeks
  2. Hurricane forecasters who tell you EXACTLY what is going to happen! Because THEY DON’T KNOW! Hurricanes are capricious as creeks and, when you are looking for wind, they’ll turn a creek into a bulldozer. When a cataclysm is forecast for New York City, they’ll tiptoe past that and move an innocent quilt shop that never hurt anyone to the brink of a dam just for fun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nan’s Hurricane Irene Report Update

Hurricane Irene Report Update

You know how much I love going overboard, well, you know this Cajun music festival we’re having on Thursday, September 1st with Joel Savoy and David Greely? Well, I just wanted you to get the full effect of the whole Louisiana atmosphere in late August, so we’re bringing this hurricane up to flavor the experience!

But I would also like to say that if a hurricane takes out this house over August 28th and 29th, then I am just going to avoid August 28ths and 9ths from here on out.

So I’m still not whooped up, but I am paying attention and you know, the great thing about hurricanes is that you don’t freeze to death when the power goes out, unlike in an ice storm.

Doug Field of the Ashfield Select Board just called a meeting to talk about what he knows and here’s what he got today in a 12:30pm conference call with FEMA and MEMA: (And remember, it’s their job to prepare you for the worst scenario, so here that is.)

  • Where: The whole state will be affected. The eye is expected to fall between Worcester and Boston. We’re on the west side, which is always the worst side of a hurricane. (We try to always do things right!)
  • When: Beginning late Saturday night, lasting all day Sunday.
  • Rain: They expect 5 – 12 inches of rain. Possibility of flooding, but Doug and Tom Poissant opened the dam on Ashfield Lake so that it could go down and be ready to refill.
  • Wind: with winds 60 – 80 mph. After the eye passes over the winds could go from 70 – 90 mph. A possibility of tornados.
  • How big: It should land in Connecticut as a Category 2 hurricane, and by the time it reaches here it should weaken to a Category 1 or a Tropical Storm.
  • And so: Gov. Patrick has already declared the state in a State of Emergency as of 1pm today, and has requested people not travel after 6pm on Saturday night. And that’s a good idea, since we don’t have to evacuate.

The Ashfield Fire Station will be open as a command center and they are looking to have Sanderson Academy open as a shelter, if need be.

But the thing you really might have to worry about is flying stuff – big stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

When Raccoons Come a Ringin’

Why It’s Comforting to Live in the Country

We have three people from Goshen, MA who come to Elmer’s every Sunday for breakfast. They are a family: a brother (Dana), a sister and the brother’s wife. There used to be another brother, but he died recently and we miss him. He always ordered hot chocolate with two and a half inches of whipped cream on top.

While I always hate it when younger people tell me I’m an inspiration to them in the world of growing older, these people really are a sure sign of enjoyable living to me when I get to be their age, and I believe they are a fair bit older than I am. But they have so dang much fun, and they dress well, so I enjoy them tremendously when they come in.

Last Sunday they were telling me that their late brother Henry had long complained that someone was ringing his doorbell in the middle of the night. “Did you ever see anyone ring your doorbell?”

“No, I got up and looked outside, and there was never anyone there.”

Henry had also had dementia for a while, so, since they live out in the middle of nowhere, they blessed his heart and kept on going. And then Henry died and they kind of forgot about the midnight doorbell ringer.

Last week, Dana heard someone honking the horn of his car. Faintly at first, but then, unmistakably his car. Middle of the night. A guy afraid of nothing, Dana got up to look and then saw that his headlights were flashing.

“Pretty stupid car thief!” he thought, as he stormed outside to see what in the Sam Hill was going on.

. . . and found that a raccoon had climbed in through the open window of his car and was honking the horn. And then he had turned the flashers on. When he saw Dana coming, he jumped out of the car and ran off toward Henry’s old house.

Rolling up his window, Dana thought about Henry’s mystery night visitor and thought about how the doorbell was located just above the porch railing and how the doorbell was lit up at night and Dana thought, “A haaaa!”


Nan Parati - Elmer's StoreNan Parati

Nan is the proprietor of Elmer’s Store in Ashfield, MA. A New England transplant from the Deep South, Nan shares her southern wit, wisdom and charm in her column, “Notes from Nan.”

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