Hurricane Harry

The Cove Journal | by JoDee Samuelson

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We have a wood-sawing whirligig named Harry in the backyard. Harry takes it pretty easy most of the time, only rousing himself to saw a few boards during a genuine gale. He’s had a relaxing summer—that is, until the arrival of Hurricane Dorian. Here’s how things went…

Thursday was a perfect September morning with clear sky and no indication of anything on the horizon. Harry the whirligig seemed unconcerned. But the early morning news warned that PEI would be in the direct path of Hurricane Dorian: expect power outages, fill water containers, and have food, candles and matches on hand. We realized it was time to get a generator, and Canadian Tire had one on sale. So we gobbled down breakfast and beat it into town ahead of the school buses. At the store’s checkout counter, two gentlemen were buying the same generator: “Put fuel preservative in the gas,” one man said. “Nah,” said the other man, “don’t bother. Just keep ’er topped up.” Etc. At home we followed the instructions in the box and the generator started with one pull. High-five! Woman power!

Friday afternoon we went down to the Cove for a swim. The water was warm and welcoming, but overhead the gulls and terns cried restlessly, and the sand bars were littered with rockweed torn from its moorings. Harry, facing southwest, slept through the day.

Saturday morning the clouds were rolling in, accompanied by a skiff of rain. By 5 pm Harry was pointing southeast, his propeller turning half-heartedly. We walked to our friends’ place to watch the tennis match between Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams and saw the ball batted back and forth a few times—then the power went off. We calmly ate supper—then the power burst back on. We rushed into the living room and stared at the TV, only to see the two tennis stars hugging each other across the net at the game’s conclusion. How did Bianca manage to win without us?

By sundown Harry was facing northeast. Just after 1 am the electricity went off and stayed off. As wind and rain battered the windows and spiky chestnuts rained down on the roof like miniature bombs, I took a flashlight and peered outside: Harry was pointing northwest and sawing like mad.

After a very long night, Sunday morning finally arrived and Harry stopped sawing. Later in the day, neighbors dropped by: “Your lights on yet?” Nope. Even our landline phone was dead. Monday was the same…until 9:10 pm when the lights came on. Hurray! No more fumbling around in the dark for matches or trying to read by candlelight.

In the Cove we are all counting our blessings as we clean windows encrusted with leaf particles and sea salt, and sweep up sand and grass that was freely tracked indoors. Our neighbor has cut up the fir tree that crashed across our driveway, the fridge is purring gently, life has returned to normal. Meanwhile out in the backyard, whirligig Harry is taking a well-deserved rest. He’s earned it.

Jodee SamuelsonThe Cove Journal
JoDee Samuelson

Born and raised in the Canadian prairies, JoDee now lives in “the Cove” on the Island’s beautiful South Shore. She was a maker of animated films for most of her working life, and presently putters at less demanding artistic ventures like carving owls, painting Island scenes on small woodblocks, and playing ukelele.