November 7Posted on: November 7, 2012
I slept surprisingly well last night, and no dreams that I remember. I love the lazy mornings now, I can stay in bed and just ease awake. Then I looked at the clock, 7:30am and realized it was Wednesday! I needed to be over on Eagle Beach to give John his weekly massage in 30 minutes. Since it’s only a 6 mile drive it doesn’t take long, but I hadn’t loaded up my table yet, so I needed to hustle!
John met me at the door of the house he shares with a dozen other miners. I could smell the aroma of the breakfast Duane had cooked and my stomach gurgled. I set up my massage table and got ready to work. The sounds of anxious, almost frantic, newscasters coming from the TV in the other room caught my attention and I peeked around the corner. All the guys were staring at the big-screen, none of them had gone to bed yet. Usually the night shift at the mine is brutal and once home they eat and go to bed. Not this time. The horrors of yesterday’s quake were taking on a surreal feeling as the images were played over and over. Still no death count totals, but it’s high.
An hour later I slipped John’s payment into my pocket and was packing up my table. I really like this moment, our hugs. Maybe this is why I see more into his feelings than is there: John hugs me like he enjoys holding me… Neither of us gets hugs and they feel so very good. But he gave me an extra-long one today so I asked him if he was ok.
“Quakes always make us really nervous,” he said in his soft, charming North Carolina drawl. “None of the guys want to go down in the mine right now, but the bosses are pushing us pretty hard to finish the portal by December.” He continued talking, which was very unusual for him. “We had a rock slide last night. Sammy had his hand on a railing and got two of his fingers crushed. It’s the first accident this mine has had and the project heads are not happy about it.” He took a breath and kept talking. “I just wanted to punch someone. Fingers are nothing. Nothing!! I’ve brought guys back out in body bags! Crushed fingers are nothing…. Sean is talking about quitting, so is Adam, Liam already did.” I didn’t know what to say, but could tell he was done venting. I told him he could call me anytime to talk, gave him another hug and said I’d see him next week. My mind was reeling over what he had said, over the earthquake, over the election results. I felt almost numb.
I left Eagle Beach and went to Jason’s over on the Dam Road. Last night I had made a list of supplies I thought they could use, but needed to check with them. Angela was still sleeping, but Jason was up having gotten Jacob off to school. I almost offered to do the shopping for them, but Angela loves to shop, and would have been royally pissed if I’d left her out of it. I went over the list with Jason, explaining some of my reasons.
“I understand, Mom, but I can’t afford all of this. We just bought Jacob all new clothes for school.. he’s growing so fast.” This I understood, he’s already eight, but because he’s growing, the extra clothes in larger sizes would be needed regardless.
“Here,” as I handed him $500 in cash, then reached in my pocket and gave him what I just earned. “I doubt they’ll be taking checks or debit cards before long.” He just looked at me. “I think this is that important, Jason! But you and Angela have to go together. It might be bad in the stores, or soon will be, and you have to be there to protect her. Two of you will be less of a target. Call the school and have them drop Jacob off at my house if you start to run late. Shop fast, but shop smart, and don’t forget to FILL your gas tank. In fact, do that first!”
Back at home, I plugged in the extra refrigerator that sits in the barn and started repacking the meat. The turkeys were still well frozen, so they went into the lower part, leaving me plenty of room to freeze the rest of the meats. The steaks I bagged individually and vacuumed sealed them. The roasts I cut in half then vacuum sealed those, I could always use two. The hams were my quandary, so I just stuck them in the fridge with the frozen turkeys; they’d hold for quite a while and may become a Christmas treat. With it bouncing between 30 and 35 degrees, nothing was going to thaw anytime soon.
The cheeses were good in the cold pantry with the temps between 35 and 40 degrees. I’ve had hard cheese last a very long time that way, so I wasn’t concerned. The American cheese would have to be used within a few months, but Jacob loves grilled cheese.
Next I found room for the paper goods in the cat pantry, and put the flour in the metal trash can in the cold pantry. Wine of course went on the wonderful oak rack Jason had built for me many years ago.
I had a quick sandwich and started to surf the web and the groups to get everyone’s reactions.
It was 5:15pm, rush hour, when the second quake hit…. An 8.2