Enduring on the Lake

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.


  1. Thank you and yes would be a scary time, especially being alone.

  2. Great story Kathy Thanks