I knew she liked the beach…but this is getting silly

Mental note: When the Hurricane People name a tropical storm after your wife, don’t announce to a room full of people that you’re not surprised because you often see a small Depression turn into something much more violent. Humor is not always the best marital aide.

So, Tropical Storm Michelle is getting ready to turn into a hurricane (note the lack of humor here). She’s going to bitch slap the Gulf of Mexico. It should come as no surprise that the potential Hurricane Michelle comes on the last official day of hurricane season. Michelle’s previous job was reigning as the Queen of Procrastination Nation. And she ruled it with an iron fist and occasional wind gusts of 98 mph.

It feels like Spring today. The sky is shifting between blue and smokey grey. The temperature is warm. It feels just humid enough to storm. It was a nice day for a trip down to Ware Place, SC.

I hopped out of the truck and looked at the pasture land around me. A John Deere tractor sat near a barn. And two old people sat inside a double-wide mobile home. It is the Del Boca Vista for lower middle class rural people. I know. My grandparents did the same thing when they gave up on mid-size-city life. I don’t like it, but they seem happy.

Inside the camper-condo, James and Nancy sat waiting for me to arrive. James had a quadruple bypass, then pneumonia, then a pacemaker installed over the last six months. He’s getting better, but his heart hurts a little. His son Charlie, 11 years my senior, is on the USS Teddy Roosevelt, somewhere in the North Arabian Sea. Over the course of our conversation, Nancy, a woman of considerably better health, wandered into the hallway. She had just finished scolding James for talking harshly about the uneducated state of our soldiers. Later, when I turned to ask her a question, she had her head against the wall. She was struggling to hold back tears. She’s old, but not seasoned enough to be apathetic about her son’s work overseas. “”When you see on the news everyday something scary that going on and you know your son is right there, its not always easy to take,” she explained. When I left, they followed me out to the front porch and pointed to the pasture across the street. Cows, they say, often come up and stand along the fence line. They weren’t there right then. Probably down by the creek. They obviously didn’t want to the conversation to end, but I had to go. They were still talking as I walked down the crooked walkway to the truck.

I talk to a lot of people everyday, but its not very often I get to talk to elderly folks. They all seem so frail to me. It’s like we live our entire lives so we can some day live with the scars of our experience.

All the more reason, I guess, to not feel sorry for ourselves while we’re young.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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