A Storm and a Hero

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay.

Two weeks ago, a windstorm hit Crystal Bay. It was the first straight line wind in 45 years. At  65 mph, these winds are as ferocious as a tornado, only without a funnel. It was pretty exciting for me until I saw my lawn chairs blown from the lakeside yard all of the way back to my garage. The wind’s strength picked up a 100-pound canoe and deposited it in my neighbor’s yard.

This summer, I rented out both sides of my dock because I really need the money and don’t have a boat anyway. I’m likely the only resident of this whole lake who doesn’t have a boat. I digress, but in my divorce settlement 12 years ago, he got the boat with no dock; I got the dock with no boat.

I watched as one of my renter’s boats listing in the water like the Titanic before it went down. The other boat became partially submerged. The force of the waves pulled the iron frame beneath the largest dock section off of the lake bed. And, my neighbor’s tree fell on the roof. This was their second tree to fall on the cottage in two years.


As with every high-anxiety situation, I turn to my take-charge, grounded son, Steve. He’s learned how to catch up to my runaway panic and calm me down within five minutes. He not only seems to have all the answers, he often takes over resolving situations with ease and confidence. I doubt I’d be able to continue living here without his occasional interventions.

I made my panic call after the tree came crashing down on the roof.  Within half an hour, Steve was up on the roof with a chain saw in the dark, cutting off the canopy of branches. The next day, he came out with two of his workers, and they devised a plan for taking the largest limbs without a crane. Which is exactly what any tree service would use. The guys used ropes tied around the large logs and eased them down over the roof. Steve laughed and joked with his guys the whole time. Unique challenges have always energized him. After three hours, the job wasn’t only finished, but all of the logs and debris cleaned up.

Before he left, he nailed a rope swing platform securely, unclogged a bathroom drain, screwed in a piece of plywood over a hole in the foundation, clipped a dozen overhanging tree branches, hung a new hammock, replaced a large bulb in the lakeside socket, and calmed the dock renter’s upset about having his boat underwater.

My son is my hero, my rock when things seem to be spinning out of control.  I got a registered letter from the city yesterday notifying me that there was a complaint filed against me for renting my dock. The ordinance says that people cannot have a boat at their dock unless they own it and live on the premises. Within hours, Steve had consulted the city planners, explaining my situation. He figured out a solution that will allow my dock renter to stay. He’s also figured out a way that repairing the storm-damaged roof will get maximum dollars in an insurance claim.

Everyone needs a “Steve” in his/her life whether a good friend, a mate,  a sibling, or an adult child.  Someone who will have your back in a crisis and be a calming voice in the storm.

Who has your back?  Who is your hero?

27 thoughts on “A Storm and a Hero”

  1. Seems to me that you and your brother Steve have a ,tree falling down on your property” problem. But for your son Steve – he sounds like a keeper. Does he hire out? I have many heroes in my life, each of them playing different roles. I have two neighbors who regularly do my snow blowing in the winter without being asked and I have a best friend who will come over when I’m sick and bring me soup and sometimes a kitty (even though I already have enough kitties of my own). But it’s always nice to pet a warm fuzzy kitty when you’re sick. And I have a very good friend up in Big Lake who is my kvetching partner. We unload on each other, listen to each other’s woes and don’t try to come up with solutions – just listen. I often say that we are going to be sharing bunk beds in Hell, a joke that she loves.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Glad it came out well cb
    I have to fake it
    It creates an improved sense of being able to deal with whatever comes your way but it takes a toll
    Cudos to your son

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I love the Spider Man costume in the picture above. If only our heroes arrived at our doors, clearly marked and trustworthy. At this very moment I am awaiting a political superhero to emerge.l Surely she will wear a Wonder Woman Costume.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Right now a woman I have never met is my hero. My mom is moving from the house Dad bought in 1956 to a 2-bedroom apartment (her choice, it’s a good move – less than a mile from one place to the other). She has been working with a woman who helps you figure out how to winnow down decades of stuff, separate the emotional attachments, etc. Started Mom with a few boxes and some red/green stickers (don’t move/move). It has been soooo much easier with this woman’s process to guide Mom (and us). Today the movers come to take the boxes and furniture that will make the move. Then we take out the few things that go to my brother’s house or mine (I get the fabulous painting – his youngest gets the family piano, because she’ll actually play it) – everything else gets sold at an estate sale (also already arranged, and we don’t have to ticket or move a thing). Bittersweet. But I get the painting. 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

  5. No one has my back like Steve has yours, Crystalbay. I like to think our neighbors would come together in a crisis situation such as a storm, as I would help them in a similar situation. Thankfully, no disaster such as a storm or downed tree has “befallen” us to date. But there’s always tomorrow …

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

  6. All our various family live far away, at this point. When Joel was alive, he was already starting to help us with things on the house/property.
    When we moved into this house 2 years ago, an old friend surprised us by showing up to help unload the truck. There are a number of friends I can imagine calling for various kinds of help. And the Unitarians. 🙂

    I suppose this is one reason we’ve been actively wanting to be “in community” since we landed here.. joined lots of different groups, had a block party mid-June to get to know more neighbors, regularly volunteer to help others…


  7. Unitarians have Sunday school weekly, but rather than indoctrinate the children into only Christianity, they teach the kids about every world religion there is. I’m very impressed with this. When I first attended a “service”, I read their “Seven Principles”. I almost did a double take because they read like the Social Work Code of Ethics! Their services are more like Ted Talks. It’s really an interesting collection of people disaffected by former traditional religions. I wish so much that I’d known about Unitarianism when my kids were growing up rather than not exposing them to religion at all.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. the church in my area has a pastor, but his primary role is to coordinate speakers for services, do pastoral counseling, and pinch hit when an outside speaker isn’t available


  8. It’s usually daughters who play the role Steve has. I just realized that both Mary and Steve take on roles critical to my survival, only their “skill sets” are very different. She swoops in when I have a health crisis. Six years ago, when cancer threatened my life, she made almost daily six-hour round trips to be with me while I was hospitalized in Mayo’s St. Mary’s. Steve, on the other hand, takes charge of logistics.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. At this point we still have our children’s backs, but I can see the day when we will need their help and they will step in. Daughter always threatens to put me in an abandoned camper in the flood plain between Bismarck and Mandan. I think she is teasing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There are any number of people that I feel confident I can rely on, and I suspect there may be others who I don’t expect it from. Oftentimes, people who help aren’t the ones you might think would, but people who are simply the helpers. Not because I deserve it in any way, but simply because that’s what helpers do.

    When I had cancer in 1995, several people who I hadn’t expected to be there were. One of them was Parkey, my nasty neighbor. He knew we didn’t have air conditioning in our house, and it was a hot summer. He also knew that I was suffering awful night sweats due to medications and instant menopause. He somehow rounded up a used window air conditioner and came over and installed it for me. It was a life saver and a kindness that I have never forgotten.

    The baboon garden party in the spring after my fall was another completely unexpected kindness and huge help that I hadn’t expected.

    That said, I know my friends Helen and Sarah would be there in a flash if I asked. In fact, I wouldn’t even need to ask, they are very perceptive and have generous hearts.

    Lastly, I know that Hans would have my back. He might need a little more coaching. He’s not nearly as perceptive in that regard, but he has a good heart and will do what needs to be done if you tell him what that is. This morning I heard him on the phone trying to navigate the maze our friend, Philip, needs to navigate in order to get two hurting teeth extracted at the U of M. Hans made seven different phone calls, and never lost his patience, and succeeded in finally setting up an appointment for Philip. That’s what friends do for friends in need.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Likewise – When I went through the cancel ordeal, there were suddenly all sorts of mere acquaintances who rose up to help me. It’s said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Although going through this felt genuinely intimate for me, I later had to come to terms with this being a season with these angels.


    1. I know what you mean, CB, but I really don’t think it’s a bad thing. I know I’ve been that kind of friend. Helped when someone was in dire straits, and moved on afterwards because there really wasn’t that much of a common bond.


  12. Thought of this one, couldn’t find a video of it….

    If I ran out of gas on the Interstate
    And it’s twenty-below or maybe twenty-eight
    And it’s three a.m. or maybe quarter to four
    And I make my way to an all-night store
    And I have no money, no money at all,
    Just one quarter for a telephone call,
    And I think “Who do I know who would get in their car
    On a cold morning amd come this far
    To East 5000th Avenue?” —
    Well, you know, I’d think of you.

    (Cause you’re a)
    True Friend of Mine,
    You always were a true true friend of mine.
    Can’t think of anyone truer
    Than you and that’s for sure.
    Acquaintances may come and go
    But you’re a true true friend. Hello? Hello….Hello…..

    You say that your car ran out of gas?
    Yes, I’m out of gas on the overpass.
    On East 5000th Avenue?
    About forty-eight miles east of you.
    Have you tried calling Triple A?
    My card expired yesterday.
    Call the police, it’s an emergency.
    Can’t call the police. They’re looking for me.
    Looking for you? How come they are?
    Cause I broke out of jail and I stole this car.

    (But you’re a)
    True Friend of Mine.
    You always were a true true friend of mine.
    Can’t think of anyone truer
    Than you and that’s for sure.
    Acquaintances may come and go,
    But you’re a true true friend. Hello? Hello? Hello.

    Let’s go through this just once again.
    You stole a car when you fled the pen.
    And the car just died on a far roadside
    And you’re on the run and you need a ride
    I’m on the lam from the slammer and in a jam
    With a couple of cons named Slick and Sam.
    I need a bath and a suit of clothes,
    And stay in your pad about a month, I suppose.
    Need to borrow some bread, need a plate of chow
    Need a room and a bed — can you come right now?

    (Cause you’re a)
    True Friend of Mine.
    You always were a true true friend of mine.
    Can’t think of anyone truer
    Than you and that’s for sure.
    Acquaintances may come and go,
    But you’re a true true friend. Hello? Hello. Hello.

    What time is it? I can’t see the clock.
    Have you tried calling your brother Bob?
    Can’t call Bob cause he’s at his job.
    How about Jim?
    Same with him.
    How about Larry?
    Larry doesn’t answer.
    Larry’s worried about prostate cancer.
    He’s sitting at home, waiting for the lab test.
    How about Jack?
    Jack turned Baptist.
    Came to the Lord and he’s making amends
    And he doesn’t hang out with his old friends.
    I have to be at work at a quarter to nine,
    Got meetings to go to and papers to sign.
    I’m in management now — I can’t run around
    Rescuing people whose car broke down
    At 4 a.m. — it’s a long way to drive.
    Well, it’s not 4 a.m. it’s almost five.
    And I’m a little surprised you’re calling me—
    I haven’t seen you since 2003
    The day I saw you in district court
    When I had to sue you for child support.

    (I know but you’re a)
    True Friend of Mine.
    You always were a true true friend of mine.
    Can’t think of anyone truer
    Than you and that’s for sure.
    Acquaintances may come and go,
    But you’re a true true friend. Hello? Hello. Hello.

    My friends are gonna think I’m nuts
    To drive across town to save your butt
    After all you did to me
    The cheating, the dishonesty,
    But okay, I’ll clear the decks
    And go out of my way to help my ex
    You say you’ll come?
    I know, it’s dumb
    But I’m a fool so what can I say?
    Hey, babe, you made my day.
    I never dreamed that you’d say yes.
    Neither did I.
    You’re coming?
    I guess.
    Soon as I can get myself dressed,
    And look around for my GPS.

    Hey, babe? Let me tell you what this is about.
    I wasn’t in the pen and I didn’t break out.
    You’re not on the run? You don’t need a loan?
    No, I’m sitting at home and I picked up the phone —
    You and Sam and Slick?
    No, babes, just me.

    And you were feeling lonely at half-past three?
    Actually it’s a little past four
    And you are the woman I adore.
    And I wondered how you feel about me
    So I picked up the phone cause I had to see

    (Cause you’re a)
    True Friend of Mine.
    You always were a true true friend of mine.
    Can’t think of anyone truer
    Than you and that’s for sure.
    Acquaintances may come and go,
    But you’re a true true friend. Hello? Hello. Hello.

    – Garrison Keillor

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.