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Now that we have power, we can grill for the Labor Day weekend

After this past weekend’s weather event, I’m sure everyone is looking forward to Labor Day weekend and some time off with friends and family cooking burgers and ‘dogs on the grill. Hopefully, power is back on for all and cleanup and repairs are either completed or in the final stages so that the last holiday of the summer may be enjoyed.

Our Sunday morning started at 3 a.m. with one of the cats landing on my head in bed after being startled by something hitting the window. As it was trying to become my new gray toupee (I don’t need any help since the gray is getting thick enough), I peeled it off before the claws were firmly sunk in and told the Mrs., who was already awake, that I forgot to put up the hurricane shutters.

“You’re not in Florida any more, dear,” she said as I furiously clicked my heels together to make it come true. “And why is the cat stuck to your head?”

One of the last hurricanes we endured in the Keys struck in the middle of the night. The Mrs. had asked me to put up the shutters but, according to the weather service, the storm was going to track to our east and we would only get 35 mph winds (a mere inconvenience down there), so I declined.

I recall it being around 4 a.m. when a coconut bounced off the side of the house, announcing that the storm had decided not to follow the pattern the weather people had suggested. I went outside into a driving rain with steady 50 mph wind and higher gusts, head lamp on, vise grips for the wing nuts, wrestling 24 by 72 inch pieces of aluminum to cover the windows.

The car was being beaten by a Gumbo Limbo tree and a tree had fallen on the neighbor’s porch. What a morning.

Following the rude awakening last Sunday, the Mrs. was worried about her car which had sustained severe hail damage earlier this summer. I told her not to worry because Ken at Quality Collision already had it and was fixing the hail damage. It’s funny what you think about after being awakened from a heavy sleep.

“What about your car?” she asked.

The new, used car (an ’04 with only 116k miles, barely broken in) was safely stored in the garage after recently being purchased from Wyoming Valley Motors and Huntsville’s car salesman extraordinaire Ed Brighthaupt.

A few days before the storm, I took the Mrs. for her first ride in the vehicle out to the Red Rooster for a late dinner. Brittany was our waitress and informed us that the drive through was closed as was evident by the hand painted CLOSED sign on the inside of the restaurant. It’s nice to see they have a sense of humor about what could have been a tragedy after a car plowed through their walls. It was also nice to see local people help out a good restaurant patch things up so they could continue to operate.

Asked about her plans for the Labor Day weekend, Brittany said she was getting ready for classes at Misericordia and spending time with her daughter, Kenzie.

Checking on people’s plans for the holiday, I stopped at Steve Shannon Tires where Len Krispin was planning to stay at home and John Moran was going to have a party at home to celebrate family birthdays.

Rich at Dallas Hardware was having a family day with wife, Misty, and kids, Johnnie and Spencer, going to the Waverly train station in the morning and spending the afternoon at home. Dave Fleury of the Dallas Gun Shop was going to spend time at home but reminded everyone of the Dallas Harvest Festival later this month and that Dallas merchants would be open.

I also ran into Judy Eby and Bonnie Kunkle at Roth Jewelers. Judy was staying close to home with her husband, Barry, since they had already vacationed in Jamaica this summer and Bonnie and her husband, Bruce, were hoping to get to their cabin in Dushore for the weekend.

The Atta Boy of the Week goes to all the volunteer firemen and women who gave their time and effort in assisting people following the storm. The only entertainment we had for the better part of two days was the scanner and it was nonstop with calls for help and volunteers responding. Way to go and thank you.

Harp Heffernan was the associate publisher, outdoor editor and chief photographer of the Sunday Independent, a newspaper that was in his family for 87 years in Wilkes-Barre. You can e-mail him at news@mydallaspost.com.

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