Monday, August 30, 2004

Evening sounds...

I enjoy coming home to my neighborhood after school. It is full of life and always makes me glad that I didn't relocate back in the country. My neighbor boy, Ryan, joined the band last week and is now practicing his trumpet out on the lawn. He walks back and forth playing (I think there might be another name for that!!) unti his Mom gets home. I can still here him, however, through the screens in the windows!

Everyone is mowing tonight..the weather is dry and cool and mowing lawns in Indiana is a state pasttime. Here in town everyone uses a push mower and trims and weeds.

There is a local band practicing in a open garage a block away, actually I think they are doing pretty well, and have had a few gigs.

Other folks wave as they ride by, walk their dogs, or just leisurely enjoy this last night of August. There is a full moon tonight, and if you excuse me, I think I will take out a glass of wine, no I think I will just take out a beer and make a wish upon a star.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Walking through town...

I had the luxury of a long walk this afternoon. Bundled up in my Irish gardening sweater, jeans and socks under my sandals I began my journey of becomig reacquainted with my small town. I live just a few blocks from the center of town which is composed of a civil war monument in the midst of a circle of shops. They are all Mama/Papa shops of antiques...and gifts...and a small pizza palor...and a coffeeshop. It is nice to know the owners of wave as I pass by each shop. The circle also holds our court house and local newspaper office. Each storefront boasts of posters of upcoming seminars...a production from the local theatre department..and apartments for rent.

Just a few block to the East is Tri-State University which specializes in engineering. The summer brought changes to the university..roadways and buildings. It was fun to explore.

As I walked I noticed the beginning of autumn occasional branch of scarlet or ruby poking it's head from the still emerald leaves of summer. Ahhh, yes, autumn will be here soon enough, but here in Indiana there is still summer mowing to be done!!

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Mum's the word....

A stroll around my late summer garden yields lots of tucked in surprises. There is the fragrant rosemary..waiting to be brought in before winter winds...clumps of black eyed susies, enough to have bouquets all over my house, if I should choose to pick them all and leave the stalks bare. I also have a small fenced in pumpkin patch that knows no boundaries!! But the most lovely of all is the chrysanthemum. They are colorful against the white picket fence as I have them in every hue. The mum (the nickname) is of Chinese and Japanese origin and have an inherent insect repellent. Country folk would often tie up bundles of them and hang in barns to chase away insects and fleas.

As for me, I just like filling old crocks and antique vases of mums and placing all through my a reminder of summer's beauty and the teasing of the upcoming autumn.

Friday, August 27, 2004

First week of schoool....

So the first week of school has now come and gone. I can remember so well the first week when I was a child. The only fun part of going back was having new clothes, new shoes. I just loved summer. When I had a family with my children I dreaded going back to school for all of us..time seems to be marked by school years and the school calendar. Now that it is just me, I guess it is different. School appears to be the place that I need to be..the place where I am. Or does school keep me from the place I need to be???? Too deep of a thought for a hot Friday afternoon. There was no heat in Indiana until the first day of school. The past few days have been so hot...sweat drips off children and teachers as well. By 10:30 learning has stopped...daydreaming has taken over...daydreaming of summer vacations, cool pools, frog bogs, bright nights....the kids seem to be having a hard time as well!!!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Ferry Horns and Train Whistles...

The unpacking is all finished...everything back to where it started last spring..boxes stored in the seashells in cupboards and bowls. Home again.

Saturday was the end of summer concert in the park. The night was and clear. The quarter moon was so visible in the night sky. I took my lawn chair and walked over to the park, getting a good seat to hear the rock'n roll band. They are always a crowd pleaser. There were little stands of hot dogs and sloppy joes and even hot chocolate as the night was in the 40's.

Sunday night was a birthday party for Adam and Aaron. Aaron lives here in town now...but Adam and Tonya were here for a visit. The had invited lots of their friends for a typical cook out an dairy queen cake. The highlight of the evening was the watermelon seed spitting contest. It was won by my niece who didn't want to enter as she is/was a "non-spitter". We had Olympic time trials and lined up the three winners as we sang the National Anthem.

It is good to have family and friends is helping me get through this transition. But some things have changed..from we to I...from walking around the lighthouse to walking through the park..from ferry horns to train whistles...from sharing each moment with someone I love to quiet evenings alone.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Where is home???

Last night Mom and Dad and I went to Bruce and Jo's for one more family get together before they left for Texas this morning. We had supper and laughed and shared family stories. It was a wonderful evening. I slept on the couch in the living room...knowing people I love were in the same house slumbering in beds. It is always a good feeling to have someone you love under the same roof when nighttime falls.

After many hugs and good byes, they left for Texas as Jo and I, arm in arm, waved as long as we could see them. It was just last weekend that I had to say good bye to

I came home to unpack and settle into my house. They had left me a card on my bed and a dozen French harlquin dolls hidden all over to cheer me up. The weather is and house is is quiet, and I am deeply saddened.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"Goin' Home"

My favorite musical group is Molasses Creek from Ocracoke Island (of course!) They have a wonderful song, Cedar Island Ferry, that has a line or two in it which says, goin' home....

So, that is what I have done. Philip drove me to Norfolk where we spent time with his brother, Buddy, and sister in law, Elaine. It was wonderful to meet his brother. We left late in the afternoon for my early evening flight to Fort Wayne. I truly was numb with summer was so wonderful...Philip has become my best friend. But, alas, responsibilities were waiting for me here in teaching job, my son and his wife with the new baby coming soon, my sister and her family, my house, my storytelling, my friends. A bonus is that my parents are still here and livng with me this week until Friday. Or should I say I am living with them? After all this time, I feel like a guest in their home. It is wonderful and I love spending time with them here.

So, little by little, Indiana becomes home...the house at White Picket Gardens becomes where I live. But there is someone a thousand miles away that I think of daily.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The End of the Story....

There is an old John Denver song, "well, my bags are packed and their ready to go..I'm standing here outside your door, already I'm so lonesome I could cry."

Except for me, I have cried...many times this past week. I knew mid-August would come, but I hoped it wouldn't come this soon.

I will miss each part of this summer...showers outside, walks on the beach, gin and tonic on the pizer, lunches in the treehouse, working in the shop, rain and hurricanes, new friends, the scent of cedar...I will miss Philip.

scented cedar trees
salt water mist on my tongue
sand between my toes

whispering breezes
hot, still, humid nights
long shadows at dark

droplets of aqua
hurricane bursts ofwater
tears or ocean spray?

Good bye, sweet summer.

So, what about Charley?

We were sure it was coming again this time..category 5, winds up to 200 miles per hour...and no one was going to be caught out in the wind this time. Tourists were evacuated, cars put up on high grounds...proclamations were posted in the village. Some folks even boarded up shops and homes. It is quite interesting here with the tourists folks walking on the wrong side of the one taking photos of "us" doing normal household chores, hanging out the laundry??

We had champagne and naps...and he never showed up. Ahhh, just as well, the tourists will be back as I write..the ferrys will bring them and we will serve them.

Now what about Danielle?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

. The Night Sky in Ocracoke in August...


starlight, inky

sparkling, tumbling, falling

jeweled, distant


Big Dipper

eternal, patterned

showering, glowing, mystifying

ancient, romantic


Perseid showers

midnight, new moon

gazing, consuming, wondering

blankets, mosquito spray


Thursday, August 05, 2004

A toast to showers..and electricity,and surrealness.

It has been 48 hours since the Hurricane, but in some ways it feels like a very long time. Tonight I sit looking out the window at a peaceful street as I sip a glass of red wine and just wonder about the whole event.

So much many stories to tell about. Folks without cars, furniture..businesses without insurance..heat and mud. But there are other stories too...taking the infamous birthday cakes to the Salvation Army's headquarters down the street and share Philip's birthday with the community (not the party I had imagined!!) It was a poignant moment, though, as all the volunteers sang Happy Birthday to him. They were a welcome sight..they still are with hot dogs and pure bologa on white bread, nothing ever tasted so wonderful.

We spent yesterday helping folks by hauling out carpets, scrubbing floors with bleach, rinsing furniture..bikes...turning over dryers.

A mandatory evacuation began late last night..all the tourists are gone. It is quite interesting to bike through town with just the "locals." Some tourists drove off in their cars...others (over 500) left on school buses that had been brought in a their cars are flooded and ruined. They waited for the busses just like kids on the first day of school with their bikes and wet laundry and much disappointment.

It is time now for serious clean get things scrubbed and repaired and ready for the tourists of next week. I am fascinated with the love of the community...I am so happy to be a part of be needed. There is no TV or radio news for us..the news comes in the lines at the Salvation Army or as postings on the community store. Throuh it all...stories live.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Update for Alex..

While we have power I thouht I would do my own up date..although for more complete covereage go to Philip's web site.

It is amazing to me that folks off of the isand do not know whatis going on here. No reporters come to Ocracoke to wait out storms. We took a very hard hit. The tide waters of yesterday's storm match that of the 1944 Hurricane. Water, debris...everywhere. Hundreds of cars have been lost, docks, water in homes. I can't even begin to describe all the devastation. Philip's business and houses are safe on the inside, the water did not get inside...but we are knee deep outside. There is a curfew for the islnd from dusk to dawn..power will come on for a short amount of time, but no air conditioning is to be used. All businesses are closed. The pressing problem is getting the tourists off the island..there is no food for them and they use up the precious emergency electricity. Then we can attempt at the clean up. 29 power polls have been lost up beach on highway 12.

The winds were sustained at 60-80 miles per hour for hours yesterday with gusts clockedat 125. There are of course trees down, but the biggest damage was that the storm swung around and brought in the water from the sound side, thereby flooding the entire island.

Our first goal is to help Banch haul out flooded rugs and furniture and meander down to help friends and neighbors. The birthday party? I am donating the cakes to the red cross when they get here. We are sure to be declared a national disaster area.

But no loss of life..everyone is in good spirits and will be helping each other. Philip will have photos later on, check back.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Hurrcane Update..

We have just been updated to a Hurricane 2...winds to be 100 miles per hour and to have a direct hit on the island within the hour. Power and phone lines still intact...wind shrieking out our window..branches banging against the all pulled to high ground..jugs of water await use. But we are fine. It is odd to think that the ferries are tied up, and we are all on our own. There is no emergency management team..just friends and neighbors to help each other. we are on a little tiny island in a hurricane..

Where do I begin to tell about the last 24 I will do it in headline fashion!!






A quick run into the village this morning for conversation and bottled water..drove out to the beach, could not stand up in the wind and blowing sand. Everything closed on the island..campgrounds evacuated and tourists asked to leave. It is a hurricane 1, and it is my first. I will keep you updated as long as there is power...between times it will be games of gin rummy and cribbage an baking cookies and feeling the shudder of the wind and the pouring rain. But, all is well, and I could't be happier!! Check Philip's blog for more details and photos of the baby and the hurrcane: go to and then click onto the Ocracoke Journal.