Thursday, September 9, 2010

A HURRICANE PARTY FOR EARL ON OL' CAPE COD

CNN News predicted that Earl’s eye would touch the edge of Nantucket and Cape Cod would begin to feel the effects by 8:00pm. My lawn furniture and potted herbs were safely stored in the garage. Now there was nothing left to do but wait and watch the local Cape Cod televised hurricane reports. The phone interrupted the latest forecast.

“Do you and Peter want to come over for a walk on the beach with us and watch Earl come in?” my friend June asked. My first reaction was to say, “Are you out of your mind?” But, then I thought about this opportunity of a lifetime— an incredible experience—a Cape Cod Style Hurricane Party. And, June had baked a Maine Wild Blueberry pie for the occasion.

I ran down to the basement, pulled my Aqua Socks from my scuba fins and grabbed two yellow hooded boating slickers. While we drove, I wondered if perhaps I should have taken the matching snorkel set in case we were blown into the ocean by the high wind. “Don’t be ramose,” I chided myself. “People have Hurricane Parties all the time and live to tell about them.”“Didn’t the news say this was a level 4 hurricane,” I asked my husband.

“Yeah, This is gonna be wicked pisser!” Peter answered. He was a native Bostonian. Nor’easters, the counter clockwise swirling Typhoons that Stephen King wrote about, didn’t even scare him.

“Yeah, it’ll be fun.” I whispered with less enthusiasm.

“Here are our travelers,” June giggled handing us drinks at the door for the short walk to the beach. “They’re virgin *Dark’n Stormys—perfect for the occasion.” Our drinks were non-alcoholic organic Ginger Beer—without the dark rum. We donned our slickers, pulled up our hoods, and tied them over the zippers for protection against the growing wind, then headed for the SUVs parked along Yellow Jacket Beach. Their lights shined toward the oncoming storm and reflected off the white caps. It was definitely a dark and stormy night. Then we turned and headed toward a different set of lights illuminating Red Jacket Beach. The air was hot and balmy. Despite wearing shorts, I began to perspire in my jacket.

Local Channel 5 news crews filmed the oncoming storm from their ocean view rooms. We raised our glasses in a salute. The crew waved back. Then they cut the lights and packed up their equipment to leave. “We’ll be on the news tonight,” June said. “Too bad we won’t recognize ourselves in all this garb.” The intermittent rain bouncing off our jackets sounded like tiny drum rolls and felt more like being spit on by the god Poseidon than pelted on by a storm.

We had to turn our backs to the wind to drink and speak. Facing it felt like sticking my head out of a car window traveling at sixty miles per hour. I couldn’t breathe. But, the swirling powder-fine white sand gave us no reprieve. It grated against my teeth whenever I smiled and felt like a swarm of mosquitoes against my legs. We continued our trek toward the far end of the beach. Another row of motorists watched the storm from the shelter of their cars while a group of tourists danced in the surf.

We sat on a bench and watched seagulls fly against the wind. “Why are those silly birds flying rather than hunkering down somewhere?” I said June. “Maybe they are wondering why we silly humans are sitting on this bench rather than hunkering down inside the Inn.” She answered. We drank to that. As the waves broke closer to the shoreline, my Dark’n Stormy had waves breaking on its surface—a sure sign that it was time to leave.

We headed for the Red Jacket Bar. The CNN crew entered for a late bite and told us about their injuries incurred while filming in Bosnia. “A mortar landed beside our truck and I needed 105 stitches. I don’t have full mobility in my arm yet, but, oh well. We’re heading back to NY, now. Not much of a storm to capture on film.”

“ Let’s go back to my place and have some pie,” June said. We all jumped up, zipped up and headed for home.

By the time we ate our pie, Earl had downgraded to a Tropical Storm and was heading out to sea toward Nova Scotia. Thank goodness my first hurricane party became the Hurricane That Didn’t Party on Ol’ Cape Cod. We celebrated with another piece of pie and a real *Dark’n Stormy.

*Dark 'n Stormy is the unofficial national drink of Bermuda. Gosling owns the trademark on the actual recipe:

2 oz Gosling's® Black Seal rum
4 oz ginger beer

Serve over ice with fresh lime.