Writer’s Block: Weathering Heights

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by Corinne Wnek

I am very fond of the saying ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ because I am living proof that it is true. This thought comes to mind as I look out my office window all the while groaning over the latest stretch of soupy weather. I, for one, believe the weatherman when he says there’s a slim chance that we’ll see sun in the near future. This is what London is like.

Weather as dismal as the kind we’ve had this week reminds me of the summer that I planned a surprise vacation for my husband’s birthday. This turned out to be the vacation from hell mostly due to the weather. So, while others may badmouth the forecasters, I listen closely, like my lottery number just might be called.

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My husband Rich used to think that being on vacation meant you were home from work and maybe built that deck, laid down some sod or cleaned out the attic. And this was before the economy tanked. But it was time for a real vacation and convincing him could be a challenge. I remembered that line from the movie, “Field of Dreams.” “If you build it, they will come.” Right! If I book it, he will have to go.

I got to work and made plans for a nice long weekend up on Martha’s Vineyard, a place Rich hadn’t been to before. I was there a few times and knew he and my daughter would love it. So after the birthday candles were blown out and other presents opened, I watched nervously as he reached for my card with the ‘present’ in it. To my surprise, he was excited to go and so we did two days later.

On the day we were scheduled to leave for the Vineyard, meteorologists on every channel were talking about a hurricane that was moving eastward but heading due north to Boston. Predictions were for New York and New Jersey to get some heavy rain. What luck! We would miss the bad weather and enjoy life on the beach.

So after arriving at our ocean side hotel and driving around a bit to survey the beaches, it was time for dinner and planning all the things we wanted to do. But before desert could even be served, we were notified that all guests were to pack essential things only and be ready to board hotel vans the first thing in the morning. We would be taken to a holding place as far inland as possible. This was mandatory.

Hurricane Bob had changed course and was now heading straight for Martha’s Vineyard. Massive power outages and flooding were to be expected. So there we were, holed up in the American Legion hall with hundreds of other people. At first, it was kind of exciting, like an unexpected adventure. There were board games, cards, pillows, blankets and all the conversation you could ever want from other derailed vacationers.

But as the ferocity of the storm grew with winds over 180 MPH, so did our fears as we realized that we were cut off from the mainland. Worse, we should not expect to get back to our hotels until very late that evening, if at all, as uprooted trees had to be cleared and downed power lines had to be removed.

The next day as we prepared to leave for home, there still was no power anywhere and it occurred to us that the ferries to Wood’s Hole on Cape Cod might not be running. But we got lucky. A captain of a freighter, who heard about our experience, offered us a ride on his ship. With that, the nightmare ended. The up side is that the hotel only charged us for a one-night stay.

This reminds me of another favorite saying of mine and that is, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.


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