Travels, Travails


It’s great to get away. At least it’s great to think about it. But when it comes down to the grungy details of packing and unpacking, remembering and forgetting, waiting, worrying, sitting too long, gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles in traffic usually somewhat in excess of downtown Floyd’s–well, I’d just as soon stay home.

Problem is, that isn’t always so easy either when wife or kids are on the road and their line of travel and/or airport is under a tornado and flood watch. Such is the case this morning as I watch the storm track across southern Missouri, Ann and her older sister this moment (I think) setting out in the dark rainy fog for Springfield. Sometimes I think less information is preferable.

I know they haven’t been listening to NOAA radio and following the severe storm tracking that is carrying possible tornados directly into their path. Should I call them and tell them not to go? They think they’ll get Ann to the airport for an 11:00 flight way early but give her sister a chance to get back home (two hours one way) before it gets bad. I’m not so sure. Oy.

Or maybe I should call and be unconvincingly reassuring, tell her something nice to think about. I would tell her that the crocuses she planted along the walkway are in bloom–but then, they are so short-lived that by the time she gets here–ostensibly this evening before dark (though I have my doubts) –they would have bloomed and gone.

So I’ll be staying near the phone; I’ll be watching arrival and departure schedules as they morph over the day; and I’ll be surprised if she sleeps in her own bed tonight. She’ll be panicked about missing work tomorrow more than anything else. Working life will go on without her. And Tsuga and I will eat chili. Again.

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I bet you are worried. I understand how you feel.

    But 95% of what we worry about never happens. So I say, take a few deep breaths, calm yourself with good thoughts and a stay busy all day.

    Maybe prepare a little surprise for her when gets home.

  2. It’s coming our way tomorrow, and we’ll be happy for every drop–still a good many inches behind, and wells could sure use the water table to rise a few tens of feet. We are a county with the blessing of not inheriting anybody else’s water pollution; on the plateau here, all our water goes elsewhere. But nobody knows how much water we actually store in our fractured rock, and more rain gardens and less pavement probably makes a lot of sense towards replenishing our finite supply.