Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hurricane party

All the signs were there:

The super moon at high tide. The incessant rain. The growing Cat 4 hurricane hovering a few hundred miles offshore.

What could it possibly mean?

Road trip! Of course.

Specifically, a road trip to Oak Island for the weekend.

The key word to keep in mind here might be island. Or hurricane. Or both. The two usually don't mix well together.

Southport's restaurant row was a little damp.
Yep. Eight fully mature adults, constantly monitoring the approach of that watery intruder Joachim, had long ago made plans for this extended weekend. We'd already paid good money for our stay in the beach house, so, following in classic American economic thinking, the deal was irrevocable. Hurricane be damned. We were going to the beach, not fleeing from it. Nobody backed out.

Meanwhile, words like "catastrophic", "historic" and "unprecedented" kept cropping up on The Weather Channel. Weather maps with dozens of color-coded arrows projecting path models filled the television screen. One or two of those arrows were aimed at Oak Island.

Meanwhile, the friends gathered. The camaraderie, if not exactly the party, began. Conversation flourished. We talked. We gossiped. We needled. We laughed. We played cards, or Pac Man (there was a free game machine on the premises) or checked our Facebook accounts. One or two of us actually took our work with us and got something accomplished.

As it turned out, the only effect the impending storm had on us was limiting the restaurants we wanted to go to. The Provision Company and Fishy Fishy in Southport were wading in high-tide water, while the Provision Company at Holden Beach had, ironically, no water at all (a water main was being repaired). So we altered plans on the fly.

The only moment of consternation for me might have been Thursday night, when the wind picked up and the multi-level beach house began to sway on its pilings. That was interesting. That was the only time I seriously wondered if Route 211 could accommodate the entire population of Oak Island and Southport in an evacuation plan.

The best meal of the weekend was the one prepared by ourselves. Traditionally, the friends fix a low country boil, featuring fresh shrimp, red potatoes, onions, kielbasa sausage, and half-ears of corn, finished off with a homemade key lime pie for dessert. It was absolutely delicious.

Saturday was departure day. Kim and I left mid-morning so we could fulfill other obligations at home. The storm was never really a factor on Oak Island: no real ponding to speak of, and we never lost our utilities.

I guess the weekend never really qualified as a hurricane party. It was never meant to. Instead, it was a celebration of friendship. So thank you Raeann and Chris, Beverley and Tobin, and Kristi and Dave. It was great fun.

And now that we're home, here on Sunday morning, it seems to be rainier and windier now than in the previous four or five days.

Maybe we ought to go somewhere safe — like Oak Island.

By the way, this was Kim's and my 35th anniversary weekend. So, happy anniversary, Kim.

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