Enduring on the Lake

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chapter 32


“So what happened?”  I asked. 

“I found out the hard way something that I should have already known.  Panicked people are crazy people.  And crazy people can get stupid real quick.  I was thinking of all thing things that I wish we had been doing – stuff like your dad had done for your family – and Annie got wise and took a long look in the pantry and started making a list of things that were missing or on low supply.  I was pretty shocked.  Used to be that Gran and Mom always had stuff stacked three deep or more in the pantry but Mom said they’d been letting it slide, trying to wait out food prices going up so much.” 

“Never count on the cost of anything going down.  It might stay the same but usually food prices are like helium filled balloons … they just don’t seem capable of coming down on their own.” 

“That there should be writ on stone.  So, I didn’t panic but I thought I’d be able to get out ahead of the crowds.  What I didn’t count on was everyone else having the same idea.  Lord, God Almighty.  It was worse than that year we had all those ice storms.  The stores were already picked over by the time I got there and everyone was complaining that the shelves weren’t getting restocked.” 

I nodded remembering something Daddy and Mom had discussed on a regular basis.  “It was probably done by people getting out of the cities.  Daddy used to talk about this phase of things.  You gonna let me clean that face up?” 

“I can do it.” 

“I know but it’ll be easier for you if you let me do it and you keep talking.” 

Zane consented to let me doctor on him and he continued his story.  “I managed to grab a few things on Annie’s list and made it up to the check out and that’s when I ran into problems.  Some men were up there claiming to be with the NSA – they were definitely feds of some flavor – and they were enforcing rationing.  People had started to really make a stink.  They were solving that by asking people who complained to ‘register their complaints’ in the office.  Wasn’t until I got outside that I heard those that went to complain were being detained, finger printed, and run through civil and criminal databases.  They were catching everybody for something … unpaid traffic tickets, violations of probation, suspected welfare fraud, unpaid judgments, and more.  That started a mini riot as people tried to run.  I was almost out of there when some guy tried to jack my truck.” 

I shuddered.  “Holy golden horde Batman.” 

“Huh?” 

“It is a term that was used for the Mongols as they descended on their enemy.  Something to do with their tent colors.  Daddy used to talk about the potential for a modern version as people left the cities and spread out into the suburbs and beyond and sucked up all of the resources like locusts.” 

“Not quite the same Sydney.” 

“I know, just what you described reminded me of what I’d heard discussed.” 

“Technically I suppose John and his family could be considered part of the … ok, call them hordes … of people leaving the most affected cities but they aren’t a conquering horde, more like a fleeing one.” 

“Yeah, we aren’t talking warlords just yet.” 

My statement raised his eyebrows.  “Yet?  Your parents really were deep into the wooly boogers weren’t they.” 

“And what is that supposed to mean?” I snapped. 

“Uh, that … that wasn’t appropriate.  I’m sorry.  Syd …” 

I shrugged.  “Just forget it.  Look things are the way they are.  Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m not.  Maybe I’m exaggerating and maybe the world is going to come to an end faster than anyone imagines.” 

“Syd it wasn’t that bad.  I mean it was bad but not … well I said mini riot not burn the town down all out combat zone.  If Atlanta blows it will get bad fast but … mostly right now I think the bomb going off has freaked everyone out.” 

“Calm before the storm,” I muttered, somewhat in defiance of what I saw as his not taking me seriously. 

I must have looked worried.  Zane reached up and pulled me to sit down across from him.  “Syd, don’t bottle it up.  Don’t use old sayings to cover it up.  Talk to me.  I’m sorry if … if I’m not reacting the way you maybe expect me to but it doesn’t mean I ain’t listening to you.” 

Finally I said what was on my mind.  “I wasn’t supposed to be alone.” 

Understanding I was referring to my family he said, “Don’t give up hope.” 

“I … I haven’t.  But I’m not foolish either,” I said with a sigh.  “There is no news coming out of Savannah.  Now there isn’t anything coming out of Brunswick or Yulee going south and going north Charleston’s news shut down late yesterday.  I haven’t heard anything out of Jacksonville since about 2 AM and that was from a UGA blogger that said his little sister called crying about their parents being sick and that there were men in the street wearing what sounded like hazmat suits.  That blog is now gone like it never existed except I have a screen shot of it.  I took it off my computer and stored it on a portable drive that isn’t connected.” 

Zane looked at me suspiciously and said, “Syd, whatever you are doing be careful.” 

“Huh?” 

“Don’t do that. Not with me.  You want to hide how smart you are from other people then fine, whatever.  But not with me.  I’ve seen you make that computer boogie.  I’ve seen you fix the store computer just by having Max install some … some kind of program that let you access it from here at the cabin.  That even impressed Junior and he thinks he’s a computer geek.” 

“Junior is just a gamer.  He needs to stop trying to optimize that old clunker so he can game while at work, he keeps fouling up the interface between the registers and the bookkeeping program.” 

“See, that’s what I’m talking about.  You can be honest with me.  I’m not going to sell you out or … or abandon you just because you aren’t as dumb as you sometimes play at being.” 

My phone rang and we both jumped.  I ran over to where I had sat it while I was doctoring his face and nearly tripped over the ottoman.  I juggled the phone and finally was able to answer it.  “Hello?!” 

A calm, nearly mechanical female voice responded, “This is the switchboard at Baldwin State Prison.  Will you accept a call from Kevin Zitterbarth?” 

“Uh … sure.  This … this is his cousin, Sydney Zitterbarth.”  The connection went through with a warning that all conversations were recorded. 

“Sydney?!” 

“Yeah … yeah Kevin.  What gives?  I thought you were restricted to only calling your parents.” 

“Hush up and listen.  I don’t have a lot of time.  You need to pay attention to what I’m saying.  You got that?” 

It was a phrase our fathers would use when they wanted us to not just think about the words they were using but about why they were using the words and what that meant.  “Yeah, I get it.” 

“Ok,” he said in relief.  “Are … are Dad and Mom there?  Patrice?” 

“No,” I told him carefully.  I didn’t want to say anything more so stumbled over trying to reply, “They … they …” 

His voice cracked.  Kevin had always been tough, prison hadn’t done anything at all to change that.  To hear his voice sound close to watery told me I wasn’t the only one thinking.  He said, “OK.  I … I had to … look …” 

I finally admitted to my own feelings.  Something that Kevin would understand as he had the same thing though not as strongly as me.  He generally hated his feelings when he got them. 

“I know Kevin,” I told him with finality. 

“You’re … you’re sure?” 

I shrugged even if he couldn’t see it and answered, “I could always be wrong.” 

“But you’re not are you.”  It was a statement, not a question. 

“Dad called.  It … it sounded … final.  I’m not sure why I read it that way.  It wasn’t the words he used, it was just the vibes he was giving off, even long distance.” 

“He didn’t say what was going on?” 

“No, only that something had happened at Hunter.  He didn’t know what either, just that things were jacked up crazy and the city was already shut off.” 

“Ok,” he said before adding something odd.  “They were asking me.  I figured it was something like that.  You … uh … don’t happen to know any of your dad’s friends that might have more answers?” 

Carefully I answered, “Friends?  You mean like at that plant?  They’re probably still in Savannah too since whatever happened was so fast.  And even if they aren’t you know Daddy didn’t really bring home work with him.  We never socialized with anyone like that.” 

“Nobody?  What about at the lake?” 

“Anybody my parents would have hung out with – and there weren’t really all that many – are all summer people and I don’t know where they live when they aren’t here.  And the few I do remember from when we used to go to the lake parties have sold their places and I don’t know who owns them now.” 

“Oh.  Are you sure because I though with you at the lake cabin …” 

“It was a trick.  Daddy really sent me up here because that stuff with Dan was about to heat back up with the trial and all starting.  I wonder if this will delay things?” I asked in a kind of dopey, unthinking tone. 

“And the money?” 

I felt like Kevin had goosed me.  “What money?” 

“Some big legacy from Sam.  Patrice mentioned it last time we talked just to rub my nose in things.”

 “Huh?  You mean the life insurance policy?  That went to pay bills and do some fix up here at the cabin.  I think they also spent some to make the house more accessible for Patrice … I know they renovated the bathrooms and added that big ramp onto the front of the house.” 

“Is that all?” 

“That’s a weird question.  How am I supposed to know?  You know good and well Daddy didn’t tell me stuff like that.  It was his and Mom’s business, not mine … or yours for that matter.  I suppose if there was anything left over it would have gone into some kind of retirement account.  Why are you asking me this stuff when there are more important things to worry about?  Or … or do you know something I don’t?  About the family?  Have you heard something?  Heard from them?!  What are you not telling me?!  Is this some scheme that you and your prison buddies are cooking up?!!” 

“What?!  No!  It’s those NS …” 

There was a clicking noise and then the female voice came on the line again and asked, “Would you like to pay for three more minutes?” 

“With what?  My looks?  You just tell my cousin until I hear from the family there isn’t any more money.  My savings is almost gone and …” 

There was a final dial tone and I closed the line on my end.  Looking at the phone in disgust I flipped it over and with a sigh took the battery out.  Zane opened his mouth to say something but I hushed him with a finger across my lips.  I opened the desk drawer and pulled out a small box and put the phone and battery inside.  I took the camera off of my old tower computer I had built myself then unplugged the cable from the monitor and the power plug from the tower.  I also unscrewed the internet cable from the tower as well. 

I grabbed my net book that had been setting by the computer, the phone and battery, and the camera from the computer and walked down to the cellar. Over in the corner with other galvanized trash cans filled with bulk grains and beans was an empty can.  Taking the lid off anyone could see it was different from the others as it was lined inside with sound proofing and cardboard.  I set the electronic pieces down inside the can and closed and secured the lid. 

I turned and found Zane at the top of the flight of stairs.  I told him, “Yes, I’m paranoid.  This is probably all crazy … overkill, nutso, and any other adjective you can come up with.  Go right on ahead and think I’m fit for the straight jacket brigade.” 

Casually Zane shrugged and said, “Better safe than sorry.” 

Surprise nearly stole my breath but after a moment I sighed in relief at his acceptance of what had to look strange as all get out.  Two more seconds and all I could do was flop down on the bottom riser and start crying. 

A little while later, after I managed to regain my self-control, I turned to find that Zane had come down the stairs to sit beside me.  I wiped my eyes and explained the call to Zane.  He listened thoughtfully then asked, “So you think your cousin is a sell out?” 

“I know he is,” I told him matter of factly.  “But probably because he wasn’t given much of a choice.  However he also let me know up front something was hinky … not in so many words but in a way that only him, Patrice, Sam or me would have gotten.  Even though I was the youngest and rarely got included in their games I still absorbed some of them and Kevin used a phrase our fathers used often enough that it automatically clicked.  And I’m pretty sure he got the phone call cut off on purpose.  I hope he doesn’t get into too much trouble over it.  Kevin can be a jerk … but he wasn’t always that way.  He and Sam used to be inseparable.  He …” 

When I faltered Zane put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You don’t have to explain.  All families have their issues.” 

“Good. ‘Cause I’m not sure I could explain it right now anyway.” 

“You really think your family is …”  I could see Zane hesitating to actually use the word. 

“Yeah,” I responded almost ready to break down into tears again.  “They’re … they’re dead.  Something bad happened at Hunter.  I’m guessing something that they haven’t been able to completely contain even though they might be slowing it down as much as possible.  It is spreading out from Savannah along the interstate … so some people might have gotten out before they were completely able to stop traffic.  Whatever it is, it is making people sick.  Our house is only a mile from Hunter.  They would have gotten a heavy dose of … of whatever.  I just … I can’t get into guessing what it might be right now.” 

“I’ll do my own guessing after I make a few calls.  Now for the other.  What money was your cousin making such a big deal about?” 

“Some craziness I don’t even know much about except it has something to do with Sam’s death and that it was one of the things that made me … wonder … about how my parents were treating me and why they really sent me here.  I didn’t know anything about it though it was supposedly released to them two years ago after some long, bureaucratic messiness.  That’s the money that has paid for all the repairs and stuff to the cabin.  Daddy accidentally let slip that for some reason he and Mom personally were being given a hard time over it at one point.  Beyond that I don’t understand.” 

“Just your family or the other families of the GIs that were killed?” 

“Don’t take this the wrong way Zane but what part of I don’t know, Daddy wouldn’t explain it to me, do you not understand?” 

“Syd …” 

“Don’t you know I know how this sounds?  How it looks?  They didn’t trust me.  I don’t know why.  And now I’ll never know!  This … this is a god awful mess!” 

Calmly, like he dealt with borderline personality disorders every day, Zane said, “One, you can’t know for sure about your family.  Yes I know it looks bad but you can’t know one hundred percent for sure.  Two, you admitted it and I witnessed it … your dad is just very protective.  That’s not distrust, that’s being careful of something you value.” 

I shook my head.  “I don’t see it that way.  Protecting someone to the extent my parents did me is basically saying that the person being protected isn’t strong enough in some way to be trusted to handle whatever is going on.  And now?  Now I’m left handicapped.  How am I supposed to do this without them if they held all most important information?!  How am I supposed to … to live without them when they made sure that … that …?!”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Chapter 31


Who on earth?!  It’s six in the morning.  Maybe it is a deputy or someone from around the lake knocking to see if anyone is here.  Wait!  Maybe they made it out.  Oh please oh please oh please oh please …. 

I looked out the peep hole then jerked open the door.  “Zane?!” 

“I know.  I look like …”  He stopped and made a noise that was close to a growl.  “I’ve got a damn huge favor to ask.  I wouldn’t except …” 

“Oh shut up!  I mean don’t shut up … ask already.  And come in so I can do something about that split eyebrow.  God, what happened?” 

“That was yesterday and it is just about as good as it is going to get; I just banged it again a couple of hours ago loading some stuff.  And … and I can’t come in until after I ask the favor.  First though, have you heard from your family?” 

“No,” I said unable to say anything else. 

Zane sighed and the said, “That makes this harder.  I wish I could at least ask your father so he wouldn’t go ballistic.” 

“Zane, just ask.  Daddy isn’t here and I’m the one that has to make the decisions.” 

“Right,” he said with a nod.  “I need a place to stay … and I’ve got Max with me.  Things are upside down at home.  John showed up overnight and brought his wife and kids.  Mom and Gran couldn’t just turn them away, they’re a mess.  Apparently they got out of Mobile just ahead of that city going on lock down.  John got the crap beat out of him at a gas station trying to skirt around Atlanta when someone tried to carjack them.  John’s tough and beat them off but he ain’t in good shape.  John and Annie don’t get along too well but Annie likes his wife Sharon so between the two of them they’ll keep things relatively smooth.  Thing is John and Max … John can’t stand Terrance and never has been able to.  He just can’t seem not to equate Max with … anyway it just isn’t healthy for Max to be around John because John just can’t seem to keep his mouth shut more than a day or two at a time when his nerves are up and there is no telling how long they’re going to be forced to stay here.  All their money is tied up in the bank and until they ease up on the withdrawal restrictions he’s not got two pennies to rub together even though his last bank statement tells anyone with brains he’s got a healthy savings account.  I was going to take Max and go to one of the uncles – they needed a spare bedroom at home anyway – but apparently all the cousins are coming home to roost too.”  He stopped and eased down onto the porch like he couldn’t stand anymore.  “Would it be possible for Max and I to stay here until your family shows up?  Hopefully by then I’ll have something figured out.” 

“Are you nuts?!”  Before he could say anything I told him, “If you even think of going any place else I’ll put the kibosh on you along with the evil eye, the hex, and anything else I can think of.” 

He looked up at me and then relaxed.  “Your dad is going to kill me.” 

“No he isn’t.” 

My tone of voice stopped him about half way up off the step he’d been sitting on.  “Syd?  Are you sure everything is ok?” 

I took a deep breath to keep myself from sounding like I was about to faint.  “I honestly don’t know Zane.  I still have hope.  But there’s just this … this feeling.  It comes and goes so I … I don’t know how much credence to give it.  So for now I’m just ignoring it in favor of hope.” 

He finished standing up and he surprised me with a one armed hug.  “You know your dad and mom know what they’re doing.” 

“Yeah.  The problem isn’t my parents.  I wouldn’t worry so much if all they had to do was to get each other out.  It’s my uncle, aunt, and cousin who they won’t leave.  Not that I would want them to or tell them to … that’s not who my parents are … but it adds a lot of complicating factors that … that I’m just … not real confident that even Daddy would be able to … to overcome.  And they still haven’t released any real details.  And with everything else that is starting to happen.  Then there is all that craziness over in the Middle East breaking out … And my God … did you hear about the bomb that was set off last night?” 

“Yeah, I heard,” he said in a dead voice.  “All we can do is focus on what we have on our plate right now.  If you don’t mind I’m going to get Max inside.  We stayed in the truck for a couple of hours at Uncle Hightower’s but it was damp and cold and neither one of us slept all that great.” 

“Oh geez.  Of course.  Don’t listen to me whine.” 

He put his hand out to stop me from rushing towards his truck.  “You aren’t whining.  I don’t want you to think that is what I think.” 

I stopped and shook my head.  “Let’s just get Max in.  And I’ll fix you all some breakfast.  No telling what the day is going to bring.” 

The window came down on the passenger door as we walked towards Zane’s truck.  “Syd!” 

“Hi Max.  You hungry?” I asked as casually as I could. 

Ignoring my question he asked anxiously, “Can we stay?  Really?  Zane said he would ask.” 

“He did and you bet.  C’mon Buddy.  You can pick out which bedroom you want.” 

“I brought my sleeping bag.  Zane said I’m going to sleep on the sofa and he’ll sleep on the porch.” 

“Which just goes to show that Zane isn’t always right all the time … thank goodness.  I don’t think he’d be half so much fun if he was right every stinking time, you know?” 

Max grinned and then looked around in confusion.  “What about your family?” 

Carefully I said, “If my family shows up then we’ll play musical beds.  Don’t worry about it Buddy, I’m not.  Now c’mon.  I feel a batch of muffins just going crazy to get baked.  How do Bacon and Egg Muffins sound?” 

“Like I just gotta try one.” 

I laughed for the first time in what felt like days and ushered them both in.  They cleaned up while I made the muffins but by the time they were baked and consumed Max looked like he was ready to do a face plant into the plastic table cloth on the kitchen table.  Zane got him up and told him to rack out for a little so that he and I could talk and Max didn’t even make a peep as they trudged up the stairs. 

When Zane came back down and told me he was asleep in the small room at the head of the stairs, the one I used when I was Max’s age.  I handed Zane his refilled coffee mug and asked him, “Did you leave him a flashlight?” 

“He’s got his but I doubt he’ll sleep until dark.  He’ll come down looking for food before then and speaking of …” 

“Don’t.” 

“Don’t what?” 

“Start talking about money or whatever it is you were going to bring up.  I can see it all over your face. You know I’ve got it to use.” 

“For your family.” 

There was that feeling again.  A ping where there used to be something that was no longer there.  “Please stop Zane.  I already feed you two lunch on the days you are over here.  It’s just as easy for me to cook for three as it is for one … easier.  At least when you are here I have a reason to cook.  Lately a lot of the time I just don’t even bother … it’s a clif bar or I eat something that doesn’t need cooking.” 

“I’d noticed.” 

“Noticed what?” 

“That you’ve been losing weight.  It doesn’t look good on you.  You should eat.” 

I snorted.  “You say the strangest things.  It doesn’t matter what I look like.” 

I could see him trying to find what Daddy called the man trap and finally he just shook his head.  “It matters because I know why you’re losing weight.  You’re worrying and not taking care of yourself.  I’ve seen a lot of my buddies go through this.  Even if … look, no matter what you have to keep … keep caring about what happens to you.  You aren’t important because of someone else.  You are important for your own sake.  You are unique.  No one else fits in the space you take up.” 

There was a chill in the air and I shivered.  “Zane …” 

“You got a problem with me moving most of that wood into the barn and down in the cellar?” 

“Huh?” I asked confused by the abrupt change of subject. 

“There’s a lot of faces around here that weren’t here last time I was by.  And it’s going to get cooler over the next couple of days.  I don’t know if you’ve heard but they are warning in town that due to the problems cropping up all over there may be some interruptions in service.” 

“The electric is going to go off?  That happens all the time on this side of the lake.  Sometimes the rich people on the lodge side or up in that little vacation cabin enclave will complain about it but it usually isn’t a big deal for us on the po’ side.” 

He shrugged understanding, just like I did, that there were classes of people whether anyone wanted to admit it or not.  He also understood because we belonged in the same class, the working poor.  Zane stretched before taking another careful sip of hot coffee.  “It will matter when people can’t get their computer, tv, radio, xbox, or whatever else working that is using up their time.  It will be when people realize no power means no gas station or grocery store.  Not even the bait ‘n tackle will open … not that they have much left on their shelves anyway.  It will be when people realize no power for most people means no news and no other services either.  This may be the ‘po side but most of the folks here are still used to their modern conveniences.” 

Carefully I leaned against the kitchen counter.  “Daddy always said we couldn’t count on being able to restock our supplies like we do in normal times.  But geez … now I wish I’d gotten more fresh milk and some stuff like that.  I wish I hadn’t slept through Monday, I could use that day back … right along with my crystal ball that’s in the shop.” 

Concerned Zane asked, “You real short on anything?  I could go into town and try …” 

“Huh?!  No!  No … uh sorry for yelling … I just mean getting fresh isn’t worth spending the gas or taking a chance.  Speaking of … if you can bring up groceries I can bring up how banged up you are.” 

“Yeah … yeah I guess you can.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Chapter 30


After a few minutes he handed the phone back to me and started making phone calls on his own phone.   

“Sydney?  Are you there?” 

“Yes Sir.  I’ll have everything ready for when …” 

“Sydney, Baby, I told you it’s too late.  If we can get out later … but for now there’s no way to get Rhonda and Patrice out … and Herschel is having a hard time getting home.   I want you to know that your mother and I are so very proud of you.” 

“Don’t you dare act like this.  This is NOT the end.  It’s not.  It’s bad … but not …  You’ve always told me that attitude is half the battle.  So you shore it up Daddy.  You shore it up and believe that things are going to be ok.  Don’t you act like you are giving up.” 

I heard a watery chuckle on his end before the phone started to get crackly.  “Alrighty then, Daughter.  But you just remember, we aren’t always in control and we don’t always get what we want.  But believe me, in you your momma and I got exactly what we wanted.  You’re a fine daughter.  And if possible, I’ll call as soon as may be.  And you listen to Zane.  You hear?” 

“I will.  Is Mom there?”  But I never got an answer as the phone made this awful noise and then started singing that awful silence you get when you lose a signal. 

I stood there looking at the phone in my hand, trying to marshal my emotions before putting it in my pocket.  I sniffed back the tears that wanted to fall and then got to work.  Zane found me in the kitchen filling up the few water containers that I didn’t already keep full.  “Sydney … Syd …” 

I didn’t look at him.  “You need to go make sure your family knows what to do.  You need to get them set up.” 

“I …” 

I set the jug on the counter and then turned.  “Zane.  I know what has to be done.  In one way or the other Daddy has been training me for this or something like it my whole life.  This could turn out to be nothing but that’s not what I’m feeling right now.  And there’s not a thing you can do around here but hold my hand and that’s only going to keep me from using two hand to do what needs doing.  Go take care of Max.  Go take care of your family.  I need to do what I can so if … when … my family shows up everything will be ready for them.” 

He stepped closer and then put his hands on my shoulders.  “You’re something else you know that?  I bet no one knows either … not like I do.  Your dad may think he knows but … I’m pretty sure everyone underestimates you.  Even me.” 

“Doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.  I know.  And you know what you need to do.” 

“I’ll be back.” 

“Don’t.  Family comes first.” 

“Yes … and no.  You’re one of us now.  Don’t … don’t go crazy and try and drive off.  OK?” 

“That’s not part of the plan.” 

------------------------

Nothing.  I’ve heard nothing.  I’ve puked twice and it was nothing but foamy acid from nerves.  I’ve been glued to the tv, computer, and radio; switching from one to the other as the one goes temporarily offline.  All they’ll say is that something happened.  There is a lot of conjecture but they’re like holes in the ground … they’re all over the place and filled with different things, mostly nothing of any substance. 

The phone system goes up and down.  Zane has tried to call twice to check on me with both calls failing after we barely exchanged hellos.   I texted him and just said not to try calling anymore as it is tying up the lines for real emergencies.  I’m fine, really.  Yeah, my nerves are twanging like an old country and western song but I’m dealing with it by staying busy.  I’m just worried for my family.  If I knew what happened - what’s happening now – then maybe I could moderate my worry or send it in a specific direction and make it useful instead of letting it sit in my stomach and churn. 

The internet connection, what little there is, is slow.  Daddy and I discussed the possibility that some kind of monitoring would occur that would take servers off line that were deemed a danger to national security.  Or that traffic would just slow everything way down as servers failed.  One or the other is definitely happing.  So far the major news networks are still up but I notice a lot of blogger sites are down or so slow they seem frozen or timed out.  Some of the big media personalities’ websites are running slow and pages will go up only to turn into some kind of error when you try and click the link.  It is all very suspicious of course but I expected it so it isn’t sending me into a panic.  Satellite radio is a little better and that’s where I’m getting both the craziest and most reliable information from.  Even with that there are no real factual conclusions I can make.  Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and all of the other social media sites keep having things deleted left and right.  People are furious and panicked that anyone would dare “moderate” them and take away what they say is their freedom of speech.  It is happening internationally as well after someone high up realized people were using foreign servers to get around security protocols. 

It was some kind of accident.  OK.  Unknown whether it was a legitimate accident, intentional accident, or foreign terrorism.  OK.  Unknown the extent of the accident.  OK.  Unknown what the radius of effect is.  OK.  Unknown if there are any injuries or fatalities.  OK.  Unknown exactly how the accident is being addressed other than the fact that since it is a military base that the feds are involved.  OK. 

Basically I don’t know much more than I did when Daddy called.  Not OK. 

What have I been doing to keep myself from going crazy?  Topping off what I can top off without leaving the cabin and securing what can be secured.  Keeping the dehydrator and canner going with the green beans and apples that have been occupying most of the refrigerator space that all the excess of eggs weren’t already taking up.  Speaking of eggs, I’ve been pickling most of them in case the power gets low and the frig goes out.  I’ve also been doing laundry but instead of hanging it outside I have the clothes line running down the long breezeway that runs from the front of the house to the back and have several clothes racks set up in the kitchen to hold my personal and delicates. 

If the inside stuff wasn’t enough I also did things outdoors.  There was the mess left from this morning still to pick up, luckily it wasn’t so much that I couldn’t get rid of it in the burn barrel.  I also brought in everything that was outside or on the porch.  I don’t leave much out there to begin with but I did have some lawn chairs and a folding table.   Max had already helped me to bring up the canoe from the lake so it could be properly stored for the winter in the barn; I just added padlocks to the chain that secures it.  I also double checked all around the cabin for any damage done by the pervs.  There were a couple of cosmetic things but since the shutters had been closed and secured it really wasn’t as bad as it could have been. 

I feel alone.  Not just a little alone but a lot alone.  But I’m not.  About an hour after dark I noticed I was seeing brake lights on Lake Road.  One set, or even two, this time of year wouldn’t have caught my attention but this seemed to be another car about every five minutes.  It was almost worse than around the beginning of July when the lodge gets jacked up busy for Independence Day.  

We are on the upside of the lake and there is a pretty good view from the hall window on the second floor when the shutters are open.  I had them open on that window already so I wouldn’t break my neck up there while I was putting away my clothes.  The window is the only light in the hallway unless you light the sconces on the wall or hung a lantern.  Not even the bedrooms up there have electricity.  My grandparents thought it wasteful when they didn’t live at the cabin year round though my grandfather had until he was a young man going off to look for work.  My parents hadn’t wanted the hassle involved with all of the building codes they would have had to adhere to so it has remained the way it was when that part of the cabin was added on in the late 1880s.  The bottom floor is even older and I never have gotten a straight answer of how old it was, not even from Uncle Hershel who used to act as repository for all of the useless family factoids. 

I took my binoculars upstairs to the hall window and took me a good look … and it was worth a look and worth a worry too.  Not all of the cars stopped at the lodge or the cabins around the lake but continued on up to what passed for a subdivision in these parts.  It isn’t a gated community but it does have its own security company that patrols all of the expensive vacation “cabins” in that area.  The only thing cabin-like about those places however is the materials they appeared to be made from.  Daddy and I saw a few as they were being built back before the real estate market crashed and most of the “logs” were just facings on the outside.  The insides were done up like the most modern house you can imagine.  Mom took one look and turned her nose up saying that the kitchens were magazine pretty but next to useless and the closets in the bedrooms were bigger than the pantry.  Daddy said the septic systems would fail with year round use or if the electric went out to the pumps, the heating bill would be outrageous because the fireplaces were basically just decorative rather than efficient, and that he was not at all impressed with the materials used in some of the construction.  Oh sure, some of those places were done right but not the majority of them. 

The vehicles that were coming in were loaded down like you wouldn’t believe.  But what really got me thinking was when I watched several carloads get out and start bringing in grocery bags with them.  I saw the bags came from the food stores closest to Harmon; the logos on the sacks were pretty hard to miss.  My plan for tomorrow had been to make a grocery run and deposit some of the money that Daddy had brought, now I’m wondering if that is going to profit me anything at all. 

Looks like I need to sit down and go over those notes Daddy left for me even more closely.  Maybe he left me some instructions or ideas just in case something like this happened.