The Hurricane

On The Steps

"How you doing?"

"Tired - been a long week."

"I know what you mean."

"Been hot, too."

"Worse'n I remember."

"Givin' some bad storms tonight."

"So I hear."

"We need the rain, 'specially the farmers."

"I reckon they always do."

"Not always, just usually."

"Where are the rest of 'em?"

"They'll be along. Folks don't get anywhere early
anymore. If you ask me, it's too much TV and ball.
When I was a boy we worked. We didn't have to worry
about what TV show was comin' on when - didn't have no
TV. Didn't have all these sports to occupy our time,
either. Too many games and TV and not enough work

"How's your horse doing?"

"Pretty well. Been a little under the weather but
the vet says it'll pass."

"Do you ever ride anymore?"

"No, both of us are too old. We both retired on the
same day."

"Got any C and C?"

"Oh, yeah, I always do. I'm guessing you don't?"

"No sir, I... haven been to the..."

"What you haven't been is thinking and planning."

"You're right. Mind if I have some of yours?"

"No, I don't mind, but mind you - I didn't take you
to raise. One of these days you're gonna come up
short of something and I won't be there. You need to
think things through. Always be thinking 'bout the
end all through the middle and even have a good idea
of where you're going and how you plan to get there
before you put your hand to any project."

"Yes sir."

"You'd better listen to me. I know you are young and
haven't had the benefit of living and learning that I
have had, but I know what I'm talking about."

"I'm listening. I thank you for the C and C, too."

"You're welcome to it - in fact, you're welcome to
whatever I have. But there'll come a time when I
won't be there to give it."

"Let's not talk about that."

"Talk about it or not, it's true."

"I know it's true, but I'd rather not talk about
anything like that until it comes."

"You weren't listening after all, were you?"

"I'll think about it, but I don't have to talk about

"I can talk about one thing as well as another."

"How's the fishing at your pond?"

"You ought to know, Anthony said you been every day
this week."

"Didn't make it today."

"It's probably about like it was yesterday, then."


"Bought a nice looking dog today. Ought to hunt

"I'll be ready for the cold weather, if it ever

"Oh, it'll come, all right. I'm ready for it too."

"Boy, the wind is really picking up. Reckon the
storm'll hit us?"

"So they say. I won't know 'til you do."

"If it gets too bad I wonder if my trailer will stand

"Oh, it'll stand it, all right."

"It aint me I'm worried about, it's the family."

"That trailer's seen its share of storms. I doubt
this one'll do it in."

"Hope not."

"No need to waste your hopes, it'll be fine."

"I'm just thinking things through, like you said."

"No, you're just worrying. Like a woman sometimes,
aren't you? There's a difference in thinking things
through and worrying. You think about what you can do
something about, you worry about what is out of your
hands. You can't do anything about the weather, can

"Of course not."

"Then quit worrying. If you get scared, come on over
to my house."

"I won't get scared. I might want to get the family
to a safe place, though."

"As I said, come to the house."

"Here's Aunt Minnie. I wish she wouldn't get out
when the weather is like this."

"She's been out in worse than this."

"I know, but she's not as young as she used to be."

"No, and neither am I or anyone else."

"She's quite a lady."

"She's independent. That's the secret to living -
keep your independence."

"I guess so."

"I'm telling you, not asking your opinion."

"Did you know her husband?"

"Jeff? Yeah, he was a Christian man when he died.
It took him a spell to come around to it, but he

"She gave me some of his clothes."

"Anyone ever tell you about him?"


"Back when Minnie's kids were young, Jeff wasn't much
for church. She didn't drive back then and he'd..."

"She doesn't drive well now. Look at that - down the
middle of the road."

"Don't interrupt, you want to hear this story or tell
one yourself?"

"I want to hear it. Sorry."

"As I was saying, she would have to walk to church,
carrying both kids and the communion trays. Jeff
wasn't mean, or anything, he just didn't think a body
ought to have to go to church very often. But when he
converted he really converted. Never missed a time
'til he died."

"Better to end well than to begin well."


"Still, I wish she wouldn't drive in weather like

"Take her car away and you kill her."

"Maybe so, but..."

"Here comes Radford. Wonder why he's out this

"Maybe he's checking on the weekend place before the

"Maybe. But there's not much he could do about
anything until the storm hits."

"He's your brother-in-law, isn't he?"

"Yep. Good man, too."

"Better get inside, it's starting to rain."

"You think I don't know that?"

The Storm

"Who's there?"

"It's me and Freda and the baby."

"Come on in, it's open."

"The storm's pretty rough."

"Didn't think you'd make it all night down there."

"They say the wind'll be stronger than we've seen in
fifty years."

"May be, but we'll make it."

"Thanks for inviting us."

"Don't remember it just that way. You're welcome all
the same."

"Think the power will go?"

"Don't know any more about the power than the

"What you watching?"

"Channel Three out of Pensacola. They're following
the storm. It's supposed to hit land with the eye in
about an hour."

"Listen to that wind!"

"May lose some limbs on the tree in the driveway.
Are you parked under it?"

"No sir."

"Already lost my tomato plants."

"Maybe they'll stand back up when the sun comes up."

"No, that's corn."

"Yeah, you're right."

"There goes the lights. Are you afraid of the dark?"

"Where do you want us to sleep?"

"In the front bedroom."

"We'll be going to bed, then."

"Good night."

"Good night."

The Day After

"Better get out and check on the old folks, see if
they need any help."

"Who first?"

"Better see how Nora Lee is."

"Who is that?"

"That's my sister-in-law. Her husband was a good

"Is he dead?"

"Yeah, died some time back. He knew how to handle a
woman, I'll tell you."

"How do you mean?"

"Take when they moved off to work in the lumber
business. He took her along right after the wedding
and she gave him nothing but grief."

"Fussed a lot?"

"Not just fussing, she wanted to go home. Said she
missed her daddy."

"What did your brother do?"

"He told her she could leave when she was ready, but
if she did she wasn't coming back on his ticket."

"Did she ever leave?"

"Well, she kept on fussing about it until one day he
just packed her things and took her to the train
station and sent her home."

"What happened?"

"When she got there and her daddy met her at the
station, he took her home and spanked her. Wouldn't
let her unpack. Put her back on the train and that
was that."

"How old was she?"


"And he spanked her?"

"That's what I said."

"Did it work out?"

"She never left him alone another day as long as he

"That wouldn't work today."

"You tried it?"

"No, sir."

"Then how do you know it wouldn't work?"

"I guess I don't."

"I guess not."

"Isn't that her by the pump house?"

"Yeah, I'll park here and go see if she is all


She was OK. In fact, everyone was OK. The power was
restored about mid-morning and none of our friends
lost anything of value. For the record, my trailer
was OK too.

H. L. Gradowith


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