Why am I posting about summer now? I just found this piece. Sometimes I start a blog and lose steam before it’s done. Instead of discarding the partials, I save them. Every now and then I read them all and try to figure out what point I was trying to make. It’s like a game. So here is one from September.
Years ago in Glen Ferris we had a senior couple who traveled all year long. That was notable because most of the Glen Ferris population did not. When Christmas came, the couple’s annual letter was filled with tales of visits to their children and grandchildren. They called themselves the nomadic [last name] and wrote as though none of us could wait to hear their latest gripping adventures on the road. This post will be the opposite of a holiday letter, or maybe half of one.
In June my 50th high school reunion in West Virginia was interrupted by a derecho (de-RAY-sho), a straight-line windstorm linked to severe thunderstorm activity. I’d never seen one or even heard the word, but the night of our class picnic I was returning to my hotel when the sky ahead turned brown. Broken branches and leaves blew across the road, and what looked like a giant cloud of dirt swept toward my car. In seconds I was enveloped, blinded. Swirling bits of debris ticked against the paint and glass of the car as I slowed down but kept going. Farther on, heavy rains flooded the highway. Orange construction barrels blew over and rolled into traffic. The capital city of Charleston was dark. Fortunately, my hotel had a generator, but the next day power was out all over the region and gasoline stations were shut down well into Ohio. The rest of the reunion was cancelled, and there was nothing to do but go home.
Two days earlier I had sent the manuscript for Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life, to the publisher, giving my brother Joe and me a temporary break from months of discussion and writing. I had finally cleaned my house.
In early July Greg and Annie came to visit. I love the summers because my sweet granddaughter, now nine years old, comes to stay a few days with her Cincinnati grandma. This has been our special time since Annie was two. My son’s visit was an added treat this year, though he divided his time between my house and his company’s offices in Columbus.
The sun threatened to roast us every day. With temperatures in the nineties, it was even too hot to swim. We stayed inside, and Annie watched the Disney Channel. On the 4th of July my air conditioner quit. There was no discussion, no debating the pros and cons of a replacement. The new one was installed in a hurry, and a few hours later we were back to having cool air.
On July 24 my brother had back surgery. This was Joe’s second operation to address cervical myelopathy, a disease affecting the nerves along the spine. He stayed with me for the first two weeks of his recuperation, as his movements were limited initially by a walker and for a month by a neck brace. Though he wasn’t permitted to drive for another two weeks, Joe returned home in the middle of August.
Summer always ends with my birthday, which usually occurs during Labor Day weekend. Now in Ohio our yards are covered with gorgeous fallen leaves. Mr. Joe is in production. Annie’s been back in school for months. Soon it will be time for Joe to put his little red sports car away for the winter in favor of the safer tank our mom used to drive.
Time flies, you know? I haven’t been nomadic, not since the reunion. I’m just grateful that all of my former classmates made it home safely after the storm. I’m glad my brother is on the road again after his surgery. As for Annie, she’s rocking the fourth grade.