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Riding out Sandy— and an earthquake

“I like the woods in autumn
When dry leaves hide the ground.
When the trees are bare
and the wind sweeps by,
With a lonesome, rushing sound.”
“Autumn Woods” by James Tippett

Hubby, in advance of Hurricane Sandy, took in our statue of St. Anthony and put it in the cellar. He removed all of the flower pots from the shelves on the porch. We have one hanging geranium, which is positively beautiful with red blossoms. I took it down from its hook and put it on the porch floor. Hubby took in all our pinwheels and windspins. We figured they could become flying missiles. Hubby also went to the cherry tomato plant in front of the house and took off all the red ones. The little tomatoes almost filled a medium-sized pan. We’ll be having several large cherry tomato salads in the next few days.

I must mention the earthquake last week. I think it was a 4.0 on the new measuring scale. (It is not called the Richter Scale any more.) When the earthquake hit, I was sitting on a stool in the front hall, doing some recycling. Hubby was in the living room watching TV. I heard our house begin to creak. I thought a very heavy person was coming down from upstairs. Hubby, sitting on the sofa, began to rock, a little bit, from left to right, for just a few seconds. We questioned each other. We both agreed that it might be a quake.

Then the phone rang; it was daughter Sue. She was on the second floor of her home, across the street from us. The TV set on her second floor is not hooked up to cable so she has an old rabbit–ears antenna sitting on top of the set. The antenna began to move all around the top of the TV. We all agreed that it was, indeed, a quake.

Sue called her niece, our granddaughter Erin to see if everything was O.K. in Rockport. Erin said that she didn’t feel anything in her area. Cousins Margie and Janet, in Quincy, felt the quake, but their brother Bobby, who lives farther down on the South Shore, didn’t feel anything. I shuddered when I heard that an earthquake of more than 7.0 magnitude hit some islands off the west coast of Canada this past weekend. Thank goodness it didn’t hit a well-populated area of Canada.

According to local meteorologists, this is a banner year for colorful leaves. The trees along Morrissey Blvd., from Stop & Shop to the skating rink, are beautiful. The animal hospital on the boulevard looks so pretty with the flowers at the edge of the sidewalk. The trees down the Expressway and along Route 3 to Weymouth are so colorful. I know that burning bushes cannot be sold in Massachusetts any more because the bushes are so invasive. They are, however, just beautiful to see at this time of year. I haven’t been able to get to Stop & Shop in North Quincy so far this fall but the burning bushes along the edges of their parking lot were spectacular other years.

I was delighted to see, in Boston Seniority Magazine for October, that my friend Irene Roman was a contestant in the Mayor’s Garden Contest. There were two photos, one was of Irene herself, standing in her garden, and the second, showing the fountain, shaped like a fish, that her father built in 1929. Water used to spout from the mouth of the fish. In the summer, red, white, and pink roses flourish in her garden. Irene’s garden looks lovely in the photo. By the way, I saw Irene a few weeks ago. She and I were both attending the Girls’ Latin School’s Alumnae Business luncheon at our old school, which is now the Mass. College of Art.

Last May, when I broke the ulna bone in my arm and chipped the radius, Hubby and I had to cut short our vacation at the Irish Village. We had already booked for October at the Irish Village with pal Eileen Collins so we didn’t feel too bad. Before we knew it, it was Oct. 22 and time to go back to Cape Cod. I finished packing about midnight on Sunday evening. Hubby loaded the suitcases into the car the next morning. We also had cans of soda and assorted crackers, plus two bags of popcorn. Off we went. We got off at Exit 6 so that we could go to the “new” Christmas Tree Shop in Hyannis. I can remember when that Christmas Tree Shop was actually new. Our kids were small. We used to sit outside the store and wait for the small figurines to come out of the doors of the big clock at the beginning of each hour. The music that played while the figurines danced in and out of the doors sounded like it came from a carillon. Our kids were transfixed.

While we were on Route 132, we had to visit Kmart, across from the Cape Cod Mall. We did a little shopping there and then decided that we would have an early dinner. We drove back up 132 and turned into Friendly’s. Hubby warned me, even before he shut off the car’s motor, to walk on the designated walkway. It was outside Friendly’s, in May, that I tripped over a cement car barrier and fell. I did as I was told and even held Hubby’s arm when we left the restaurant.

As we drove toward the Irish Village, we could see that the sun was fairly low in the sky. It was close to 5 p.m. I sat in the car while Hubby went in to register. I stayed in the car, facing the trees that line the edge of the parking lot, along Route 28. There were, perhaps, 50 little birds living in the foliage. The leaves kept moving as they moved around inside the bushes and trees. It was so interesting to watch them.

We knew, from our room number, on which side of the building to park. We took the suitcases into the room first. Then Hubby went back to get all the goodies. The sodas went into the fridge; the snacks, on the side board. Hubby has eye drops that have to be refrigerated. I went to get them and realized that the meds were in my carry-on bag, which had not been put in our car. We checked in with the trip organizer, Eileen Collins, and told her that we had to go back home to Boston to get the medication. Back to Boston we went. Thank goodness we were going in the right direction. No one was leaving the Cape. Traffic moved beautifully and we were home in a little over one hour. We discovered my carry-on bag, still sitting on my pillow. Hubby had figured that everything was packed in my suitcase. We grabbed the bag. Thank goodness I had put a “blue ice” in with the medication so it was still cold. Off we went again down the Expressway and onto Route 3. We were so late getting back on the road that the evening traffic had calmed down. We were back at the Irish Village in a little over an hour.

When we got back to our room, we put the medication in the fridge. We knew that our group was in the dining hall area where Norman Payne would be our entertainer. We found our group and sat down with them to listen to the Irish music. We had stopped at Dunkie’s on our return trip we brought our coffee into the hall with us. We enjoyed Norman’s playing and singing and often joined him in singing the songs that we knew. It was a nice way to end a very busy day. When we got back to the room, I looked out our drapes and saw that the outdoor pool was already covered, most likely to keep the leaves from falling into the pool. We turned on the Weather Channel because there was already concern about Hurricane Sandy. Over the next few days, we heard that Sandy was so wide that it would make an unusual left-hand turn and hit New Jersey directly, causing problems all the way up to Maine, including Boston. There will be more about our mini vacation at the Irish Village in next week’s column.

I was sorry to read of the death of Dorothy Beswick on Oct. 19. Dotty’s daughter Theresa always kept me informed on her condition. Because we were on a senior (scheduled) trip to Cape Cod, I was unable to attend the wake and the funeral Mass. I send my sympathy to Dotty’s children: Beverly Stevens, Dorothy Silva, Frederick, Winifred, Theresa, William, John, and Thomas. She was also the mother of the late William and Joseph.

Daughter Sue sent me some info about hurricanes. All 12 casinoes in Atlantic City were closed on Monday because of Hurricane Sandy. The major US financial markets, including the New York Stock Exchange also closed on Mon. The last time they closed was on Sept. 27, 1985, because of Hurricane Gloria. About 90 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, 17 people have been isolated in a replica of the tall ship that was made famous is the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty,” after the vessel began taking on water. I’ll see if I can find out how the people made out for next week’s column.

I laughed at this saying that I saw in a Building 19 ad: “Middle age is when you’re faced with all types of temptations and you pick the one that gets you home by nine!”