UPS delivered paperback proofs of "In Another Life" yesterday, just before the most current "Storm of the Century" hit. I set my delivery aside and tuned the TV to the local channel to catch a glimpse of the end of the world and suddenly remembered why I never went into television.
Chicken Little has nothing on these characters. Ominous radar screens showed a cold front marching over the state, overtaking every little town and borough like an invading army. The artillery, in the form of rain, with thunder and lightning led the assault.
And then there was wind. Both inside the studio, from the manic cast of characters joyfully prepared to announce the pain and suffering of others and a boost in their ratings and outside, blowing the dust from the preceding drought-like conditions into dust devils, further darkening the skies.
In the end, a few trees lost their lives in the battle, taking power lines and a couple of vehicles with them in their fall to the ground. As a result several thousand people spent the night in the dark. A chimney was lost to a lightning strike and a few people took detours due to the branches blocking roads.
The sky fell. And we survived.
I picked up one of the proof books and scanned through, looking for problems, while the weather-casters picked at the carcass of their latest storms, having killed three hours of airtime, sufficiently terrorizing the locals and justifying their existence for another budget cycle. Luckily, the storm cooperated and exited the area just before the local stations had to go to national for the almighty nightly news feed.
Turning the TV off, I gave the book one last review as Margie trudged through the door, another hapless victim of the rain.
"I had to slow down to forty miles an hour! It was terrible!" she complained, dripping "Storm of the Century" all over the foyer.I commiserated with her about the tragedy of driving below the speed limit, happy to have her home and safe.
A half hour later, Margie, Miranda and Sunshine, along with Grandma, were sated from a meal fit for weary weather-watchers. A light mist fell over the yard as we enjoyed the front porch and its gliders. A cool breeze filtered past us and the sounds of a summer night filled the spaces between the raindrops. Talk turned to the proofs, books and sequels, while Damnit danced from person to person, looking for the perfect belly rub.
Sweet fleeting summer. We never noticed the memories being made.
The latest "Storm of the Century" was a bust. Armageddon has been put off for another day and Margie is off posting links to the paperback version of the book. What more could an author ask? Come to think of it, there is one more detail that rounds out the experience. Miranda and I made cookies earlier and I'm downing the evidence with a cup of coffee as I write.
All in all, a perfect night.