Publisher's note: Please join me in welcoming Author Michele Rhem, who presents us with her poignant memoirs of the Rabbit Patch, where her diaries weave tales of a simpler, expressive life lost to many, but gathered together in her most familiar environs - the Rabbit Patch.
A lot can happen in a short time. The last few days bears witness to that. Since, I rarely watch the news, the fact that a hurricane was coming came as quite a shock to me. Of course, I found out in time to prepare, thankfully. By all accounts, it did not seem too threatening for inland Carolina. Still, I did not take it lightly. School closed on Wednesday, which allotted me ample time.
I went to the grocery, which was chaotic. Next I put gas in my car. These two things are crucial for hurricanes. I have been without power for two weeks in the past, and the memory lingers. (This also means without water, for many country dwellers.) In light of this, I set up the familiar supply table with water, flashlights, wipes for messes and wipes to bathe with, if need be. There was hand sanitizer and candles and paper towels. I spent Thursday, cooking and cleaning.
Since the dryer needs a repair, laundry meant hanging the clothes on a line. I love to hang the clothes out, but felt very rushed, under the circumstances. I washed clothes, linens and the dog beds. There was a constant light wind and so that helped my progress.
I also boiled eggs, made a pot of soup and a pot of dried beans. In my "spare time" I cleaned the house, from top to bottom. Somehow, Christian came home to a nice dinner, as well. I was tired when all that was over. I willed myself to shower close to midnight. I had the notion to make a caramel cake . . .and fry chicken . . .just in case, but I lacked the gumption, after the shower. There was wind and rain, when I fell asleep.
Christian and I woke early on Friday. The wind was blowing with a fiercenesss and rain was hammering the countryside. Since Christian works six days a week and has to be at work at three am-well we rarely get a single day together. I told Christian "we are going to have a big breakfast and then I am frying chicken for later." That is when we lost power. . . .You can never tell, how long that will last. We had cereal for breakfast.
Christian composed a song and I wrote in my journals. I also made quick calls to check on family. Mama and Daddy did not have power, but they do have a generator. Will and Jenny did not have power, but Tres did, surprisingly. Tres lives in Wilmington, where the storm landed. Brant and Sydney were fine and had power. I had no idea how other folks were faring and hoped for the best.
There is never a shortage at the rabbitpatch, but every job seemed to demand something, we just didn't have. I could have finished the ceiling, but it is a dirty job. A coarse dust falls with every tile and without the prospect of a shower, I wasn't about to attempt that. There was also some painting to be done, but being a messy painter, I knew better than to start that, without water . . .well a lack of water stops a lot of things.
I ended up doing something else, I never planned on. I unpacked a box. It was a box of clothes for the cooler weather sure to come. This was the only box I have had to unpack . . .since the whole affair of almost selling the rabbitpatch. It did not make me melancholy to do so - and most especially, when I found the navy cardigan, I had forgotten, I had. Just a few months ago, I would have felt defeated, at unpacking any single thing, I think, but it was not so today. It seems "Hope springs eternal" rings true for me, after all.
I am the least likely candidate for sainthood, that you know of, but it seems a peace, has taken root in my heart and abides faithfully. This is not due to any gallant nor noble act on my part, for I was growing weary by the whole thing. It is quite overwhelming to plan your future. Precision is impossible because mankind just is not capable of knowing every detail that may arise. Now, we still ought to do what we can, but woe to the one that assumes he has so very much power, in the grand scheme of things. I can say all of this, have learned a lesson the hard way . . AGAIN . .but now, in the midst of my "quiet season" the Truth shines clearly and without a hint of malice. Instead of reproach, It serves as a source of comfort and a sense of well-being wells up inside of me, like a joyful fountain. What a shame, I had to become thoroughly exhausted, to gain sight of the beauty, right in front of me . . .where It has always been. My hopes and dreams are alive and well . . .and so unpacking that box, was of no consequence.
An hour or so later, the power came on. I cheered, Christian was smiling and Cash, my boxer pranced around the house, as if he were responsible for the lights coming on and the window fan purring. I closed my book and started frying that chicken. I mixed up the caramel cake, as my desire for it, had only increased over the hours and opened the refrigerator, at long last, with a tremendous sense of liberty.