Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The planned trip to New York with my son had arrived! Saturday morning on the 6th of September I was watching the news to learn what the weather may look like as we travel across the country. Didn't look good. Tropical storm Hanna had hit the coast in the Carolina's early in the morning and was racing northward. We were headed for a collision course over New York City.

The flight was uneventful until we got to the eastern half pf Pennsylvania. The clouds that were so far below had enveloped the plane in featureless white outside the window. Then the turbulence began. My heart sank when the pilot announced that LaGuardia Airport was temporarily closed and that he'd be making a series of right hand turns as he circled waiting, in the tropical storm. The passengers were bracing for the worst. The turbulence was bad enough to cause many passengers to pull out those little bags and fill them with the contents of their stomachs. Others commented that they flew a lot and this was the worst flight of their life. I reassured my son that things would be alright while I had a white knuckled grip on the seat. The pilot eventually announced that he had clearance to land and we descended towards the airport. A steady view of the ground was not encountered until we were less than 500 off of it. The plane landed and the passengers breathed a sigh of relief and broke out in applause. We were allowed to live another day.

Shaking and dropping
Twenty thousand foot plane ride
The air smells of puke

Troublesome Hanna
Our first date above New York
White knuckled affair

Window shows but white
Rain's stream drawn across the glass
Plane feels the storm's bounce

The following day my son and I borrowed my sister's car and spent the day at Smith's Point on Fire Island. The heavy rain of the night before was replaced by warm sunny skies. However, the surf was wild from the advance of Hanna up the coast, big waves lined up and breaking a quarter mile out off shore. The surfers ventured out that distance to catch a ride, everyone else going no farther than the pounding surf right along the shore. The waves approached, sucked out all the water and then curled up and pounded the sand, sending out a rush of frothed up water that carried enough sand and shell to sandblast ones legs. We brought the boogie boards and threw ourselves into the waves, riding high up onto the beach. The day was spent alternating between stays in the relatively warm water and enjoying the sun on the sand. I got a bit too much and fried my chest and parts of the back that my son missed smearing me with 15 SPF. My other sister brought over dinner that evening which we ate with a few cold ones.

Monday the 8th was a repeat of the previous day: on the beach, sunny day, less wind but the surf had mellowed only a little bit. With no lifeguards, the county police were patrolling the beach, discouraging people from entering because they had already rescued several people that morning. We stayed in the surf right along the beach, riding the boogie boards. Like yesterday, we headed home around 6 PM, stopping to have a Carvel ice cream on William Floyd Parkway, something I fondly remember doing while growing up on the Island.

Storm's waves pound the shore
Cast white foam upon the sand
Feel thunders damp spray

Green wall rises up
Curls over upon itself
Thunders frothy spray
Row upon loud row
Sun glinting off the wave crests
Feels their salty spray

Far off the sand beach
On crests of storms breaking waves
Surfer dudes on boards
Sand beach day dreaming
Different times and places
Castles in the sand

Sea green walls march in
Tumble of frothy whiteness
Shout their arrival

Flashing silver light
Reflect the afternoon sun
The sea's surface shimmers

Walls of boiling white
Row upon row they advance
Foam sheets lap the shore

After a dinner of chicken fajitas, my son found the DVD player and zoned out with that device while I walked down the road to a private beach along Lake Panamoka, a body of water that filled a depression in the sand created by a giant block of ice melting off the face of the continental ice sheet that covered the area 18,000 or so years ago. No truck this time, but I did bring the portable CD player and the BOSE headphones. Dropped in "Live Without A Net", Van Halen at the Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in New Haven ("New Halen") CT on August 27, 1986. This is a concert someone ripped from the DVD of the same name. Great sound quality, from the early days of Van "Hagar" when Sammy was new to the band. Great collection of songs off of their newly released no. 1 hit album, "5150". The band was in top-notch form that evening. I sat there on the sandy beach rocking out with cigar and flask of tequila, looking at the distant lights from homes across the lake. Stumbled back to my sisters house late, finding everyone fast asleep. I dropped into the foldout couch that turns into a bed. Just like that Seinfeld episode, this bed also has a hard board that runs across the width of the bed, right where it crosses the small of the back. Sleeping on my side helps minimize its impact on my spine.

Vast ice block's footprint
Lakes last bergs have long melted
Where turtles now swim

They wait all evening
Patient for an eruption
To hear Eddie play

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