Sunday, February 17, 2013


I remember it as a hurricane, although it was probably just a tropical storm. I don’t remember if it even had a name. The eye was over us, over our neighborhood, and the sky looked amazing - bruised and purple on the edges, and bright blue overhead. Dad said, "Well girls! Are you coming or not?!" and so we hopped on our bikes and rode down to the river. Dad hooked the dog’s leash over his handlebars and had him run along beside us. We were exploring under a bridge when the eyewall hit.  Dad tied to dog’s leash to one pylon, and he had me and Anne hold onto another. We curved our arms around the concrete and ducked our heads into him. He stood over and behind us, with his arms gripping as far around the pylon as he could. We stood and held and shivered in the rain and the wind- sounding like a freight train around us, trying to pull us away. 
I remember worrying about our dog, and I remember experiencing that sensation — helpless, frustrated, terrified, exhilarated, safe. That so typifies being my father’s daughter. The feeling of trying to keep a sailboat upright by clenching the gunwale with my hand. Of trying to steer a canoe away from a cypress knee with the power of wishing.  Thinking, are grownups supposed to do doughnuts in grocery store parking lots? Of thinking, over and over so many times, you are leaning too far out, we are going too fast, we are going to crash. But knowing, deep in my bones, that my dad was there.  It didn’t mean we wouldn’t crash. But it meant he would save us when we did. What could a hurricane do?
And anyway we got new bikes out of the deal. 

1 comment:

Kate said...

Anne recently reminded me this was only one of the many hurricane related field trips we took -- once before a storm hit, he loaded us into the truck and drove down to the washed out beach highway - 89. He skirted the guardrail and we drove on the mix of concrete and sand, with the waves from the storm under the tires. He just wanted us to see it before it was washed away.