Sunday, December 2, 2018


Normally, I don't get too excited when news breaks across my television screen about a 7.0 earthquake somewhere on the planet.

I guess that's because it seems most of those high intensity earthquakes are in Italy, or Ecuador, or Japan. Places like that.

Except this time, the Big One that broke late Friday night was in Anchorage, Alaska.

Where my brother Dave lives.

Seven point oh.

That got my attention.

As soon as I collected my thoughts, I tried reaching him on my cell phone using the only number I have for him. That didn't work, because, as it turned out, Anchorage had lost its power and there was no cell phone service. I got a recorded message to try my call again at a later time.

Hmmm. Iconic Alaska.
 I couldn't wait. So I private messaged him on Facebook. Yeah, I know. No power. But at least the message was there for him.

Early the next morning, I saw that he had marked himself as "Safe" on Facebook, proving that Facebook actually is good for some things. I don't know how he had access to Facebook, or what device he was using to relay his message, but I was grateful for the update. It corroborated what I'd been hearing on the news that there were no known casualties from the episode.

Dave actually lives in a suburb of Anchorage called Wasilla, and from what I can gather from previous pictures of his on Facebook, he lives in a rather remote area that favors moose and other wildlife as opposed to tall buildings that can tremble and fall on you.

Dave did post a picture of a knee he skinned when the earthquake came, causing him to lose his balance. He might be the only known casualty in Anchorage, if he reports it.

And there are the aftershocks. The news this morning said there have been more than 650 of them. Whoa.

Dave actually responded to a friend on Facebook that so far, "What is unnerving are these 'aftershocks'. You feel them coming on and you're ready to ride the mechanical bull again."

I can't imagine. 

I tried calling him again later, and while service was back up, a woman's voice answered and told me that I had the wrong number. Curiouser and curiouser. But Dave has never been one for following the norms. Geez, he lives in Alaska, for crying out loud, and he has (off and on) for more than 40 years.

We actually visited him once, back in July 1992, where he took us to Earthquake Park in Anchorage. It's a jumble of rugged upturned rocks left over from the Great Earthquake of 1964. It was midnight, and we sat there talking and drinking wine coolers and waited for the sun to set, which, of course, it never did.

I myself have never been in an earthquake – not even a slight tremor – although Kim does make the Earth move for me. But I can't imagine solid ground letting loose like that. Earthquake Park is the closest I've ever been to earthquake damage.

All this got me to thinking, though. The three Wehrle boys are pretty much spread out across the country, and so far, we seem to be handling our natural disasters as well as can be expected (I know. Kiss of death right there).

I live in North Carolina, where we have hurricanes. Or at least tumbling trees when the tropical storms blow hard enough. It's still unsettling when the wind gusts reach 40 or 50 miles per hour, even here in Lexington.

Our youngest brother, Scott, lives in Oklahoma, where they have tornadoes. Okay, so do we on occasion, but ours are mostly F-1's. Out in Oklahoma City, the Fujita Scale tends to break higher than in North Carolina. I'm not sure if Scott has actually even seen a tornado, but I figure his odds are better than mine of seeing one. I hope he never does.

And then there's Dave in Alaska.

I guess we'll take our disasters one at a time, just like everyone else does. It's all we can do.

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