Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Snorting Debby at High Tide

Debby, second storm of the season, was big and fat and sat over us, dark and gray for one whole week. She's on her way out now, but still blowing foam and little bits of mad spittle. I confess to loving storms but I never want to see another bad boy like Charley. He hurt us. I've written about him before, but Debby's another matter. She's, well . . . let me tell you.

Before a named storm comes to our barrier island, I always ask Lorry if we know anyone by that name who's caused us trouble. We've always loved Charleys, so he took us by surprise, tearing the island a new one for several hours before he squashed the town of Punta Gorda flat.

Debby? "We don't know any bad Deb's," Lorry said. She proved to be rather mild -- a good storm to sleep through with the odd pelt of sporadic rain -- the sudden rush followed by the weaker flutter of pelter drops. I like to swim in stormy weather and I like drinking Dark and Stormies -- ginger beer and rum with a twist of angostura bitters. But what is it about storms?

I like listening to the rain drum on the metal roof of the lanai. I like listening to the rain toads squeak like mice under the shefelera trees. I don't mind the lights going out once or twice. And to tell the truth, a full outtage for a spell isn't bad either. I cook on the grill by lantern light. How long is a spell? Could be eight hours or more. On occasion, a week or two. I don't like those much. But when push comes to shove, we bathe in the lily pond. Lorry and I amuse our tribe of soft-shelled turtles who bite the bubbles of goat's milk soap.

Debby brought more rain than we'd seen in ten months. I caught up on a little reading. Then Debby got rough and snorted down our chimney. That brought a family of chimney swifts into the kitchen. We put them back where they belonged. The rain stopped. The heat came on. The bees swarmed at the front of the house. An armadillo herd glittered and dug worms in back of the house.

We ate fried mullet for lunch and watched live mullet move in the canal. Mullets have faces like angelic puppies. I've never wanted to kiss one. But then I've never known a snorting Debby. "It's all good," my dad used to say, "if you like it." He also said, "I like to hit myself over the head with a hammer, now and then, because it feels so good when I stop." That explains why we like storms in Florida.