November 6

Posted on: November 6, 2012

This is a day that no one will forget for a very long time!  The New Madrid was hit with a 7.8 earthquake!  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  I want to document how the day went just to remind myself how lucky I was to be where I was when I found out.

It was a wonderfully casual morning.  Gray skies, and a threat of snow showers, and though it was only 36 out, it felt strangely pleasant.  I checked the groups, sent some emails, had a late breakfast.  Then around 11am I went to the township hall to vote.  There was no waiting.  Some go early, some wait for on their way home from work.  Even though there are 700 people in the township, there are only 357 registered voters, so I think if we all showed up at the same time it’d still only take an hour.  I made my choices and went on home after checking the post office for mail.

Feeling good about the day, but guilty about not meeting my Nov. 1 deadline, I decided to go into town, 30 miles away.

First stop was WM for laundry soap, TP, PT and cat food.  Tufts is an important member of the household.  He’s the ONLY other member of the household!  So his food supply is high priority with me.  While there, I decided on a couple six packs of seltzer water (to go with my rum), and then I grabbed couple bottles of wine.  It had been a good work season, so I opted for some good stuff.

Then I headed over to Mack’s, my favorite grocery store.  Even taking insulated bags, I still like to do the actual food shopping just before going home.  I picked up romaine and celery, some oatmeal, then checked the bargain bin for anything good.  Nothing this time.  I was getting some sliced cheese at the deli when my phone rang.  My friend in Wisconsin.

“Hey, Rick, what’s up?” the few times he’s called, it’s been in the evening, so I answered immediately.

“Deb, I have to make this fast, so just listen.” (my first thought was ‘oh, oh’, since he knows how much I hate being called ‘Deb’ it must be serious).  “A 7.8 just hit the New Madrid. That will likely mean loss of trucking, loss of power, loss of phones. The shit has hit, kiddo! Whatever you’re doing, get back home and hunker down.” And he hung up.  I just stood there for a moment, stunned, staring at my phone, and then put it back in my pocket.  Rick wouldn’t kid around about something like this.

I collected my cheese, and headed toward the checkout, trying to stay calm.  Then I realized…. No one knew yet….. I had a rare opportunity.  I headed back to the meat department.  Trying to be nonchalant and feeling anything BUT, I loaded up 4 turkeys, 2 hams, 6 roasts, and a dozen good steaks, putting my few other purchases in the seat area to make room. I went back to the wine aisle for more wine, beer and booze.  I saw a bottle of wine called ‘Earthquake’… how apropos. I grabbed six.  Then I nabbed two 25# bags of flour.  It was getting hard to push the cart, so I headed toward the check-out, snagging two big bags of cat food.

I couldn’t believe how calm everyone was.  Either they hadn’t heard yet, or that ‘someone else’s problem’ mentality kicked in: here was a major disaster, but in another state.  It wouldn’t affect us, right?  They just didn’t understand our grid, our transport system, nothing.

I picked Marie’s lane.  I like Marie, we’ve gotten to be friends, and she never questions what I buy because she knows I live so far out of town.

“Hey girl-friend! Getting thanksgiving dinner early, huh?” she smiled as she started ringing all the meat up.

“You could say that.  Can I get a couple of the totes?  This is bound to be heavier than I thought,” I chuckled, trying so hard to be natural.  This grocery store offers cardboard tote boxes for $2, for heavy purchases.  I got four: two turkeys each in two of the boxes, and the rest of the meat in the third, the bottles in the last, plastic bags for the rest.  I was surprised to see the total just under $300, I thought it would be more.  I swiped my debit card, knowing they wouldn’t be good in the all too near future.

As I started to leave, I made a decision.

“Marie,” I said quietly.  And as she leaned over, I told her before she went home tonight, do her shopping, especially pet food, knowing she had two dogs and two cats.  When she asked why, I said “something has happened.  You will find out tonight on the news.  Just do your shopping tonight, ok?”  She just nodded.

The parking lot looked like it should, but it sure didn’t feel it.  I loaded the groceries and headed for the exit.  Another split decision.  I made a left instead of a right.  I had three more stops to make, and if all went well, I’d be on the road home in less than an hour.

First stop was the bank, where I withdrew $1,000 from my savings account.  I’d done that before, so no one even blinked.

Next stop was GFS.  A great bulk food place that has some things that no one else does.  I went right to the back and got a half wheel each of parmesan and asiago cheese, cheddar and American cheeses, then two 25# bags of Basmati rice, Jason’s favorite.  I didn’t need anything else from there.  A quick check out.

Final stop was to top off the gas tank.  I was only ¼ down, so that didn’t take any time at all and I was back on the road, taking the loop that avoided downtown.  All that in 40 minutes.  I was doing good!

As soon as I got onto CR 695, the straight stretch to home, I pulled over.  My hands were shaking and I dropped the phone twice.   I sent out a multiple text, to Soozie, Suzie, Clark, Jane and Pam, those close friends and my sister would understand the agreed code: “Alas, Babylon!  New Madrid, 7.8” corny I know, but we all loved that book.  Then I called Jason.  Fortunately he was working at home.  I asked him if he’d heard what happened, then remembered he doesn’t have any tv! I said I was on my way home, to meet me at the house in 40 minutes.

I was never so glad to pull in my driveway!!

We watched in stunned silence at the aerial pictures of the area.  Such devastation! There is actually a crack in the Earth.  All this within a week of incredible damage on the east coast.  Will our country survive?


So that’s pretty much how my day went.  I’m still stunned I was able to do that last minute shopping without being caught up in a mob.  All the meat is in coolers and the rest can wait until tomorrow.  I’m exhausted.

8 thoughts on “November 6

  1. How nice that you have friends to tell you ahead of time. I have one… she’s in WV and has a brother in DC who promises to keep her posted if he hears anything re: war, economic crash, etc. But with no TV, I just… spend a LOT of time on-line.

  2. Deborah,
    Your journal has me on the edge of my seat.
    Can’t wait for the next entry.
    Very realistic.
    Love it!

  3. Deborah, This is not only well written and you have me just waiting to see what happens next, but you are taking everyone through the mental travels of this experience. Thank you for writing this, because this fantasy, could become an actual reality and could do so in just a moment.

  4. yes, this is a FICTIONAL journal, with lots of reality tossed in. The ‘events’ posted though are only in my weird writers mind 🙂 But I’m pleased you’re finding it so real.

  5. This is a journal.. so I believe its fiction. Quite interesting though! Does give one pause to think about ‘what if’ :o)

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