The next Chappy Community Center potluck dinner will be hosted by Marvene and Bob O’Rourke on Wednesday evening, March 21. Appetizers and conversation from 6 to 6:30 p.m.. Dinner and dessert from 6:30 to 8 p.m.. Please bring a dish of your choice to serve six. Potlucks are scheduled for the first and third Wednesdays of the month through the first Wednesday of June. Hosts are needed for the next five dinners. Sign up with Lynn at the CCC by calling 508-627-8222 or by writing your name in the potluck host book next time that you are there. The previous potluck scheduled for March 7 was cancelled due to the threat of heavy weather.

By the time that you read this column, the northeast storm of Tuesday will be just one of the latest bunch of wild winter gales to batter the Islands. I know that we’re all supposed to stay off of the roads during a big storm so that we don’t end up needing rescuing and so that the plows can get their job done without us getting in their way. But I had a really good reason to be out on the road. Even though the roads were basically deserted at the height of the storm, the vehicles that I did see were all occupied with setting things right or going somewhere to help someone.

The police were guarding menacing downed wires and stressed out utility poles. The fire department was checking on detectors going off, funny burning smells in cellars and exploding electric transformers. The ambulance was making its way down nearly inaccessible roads to render aid, reassurance and maybe even a ride to the hospital. A wrecker truck was pulling a van out of the woods at a very slippery spot along the state highway. Boom trucks from the electric company were splicing fallen wires back together and cutting smoldering evergreen boughs off of sagging just-about-to-break overhead wires. On nearly every road I could see that a snowplow had either been there earlier or was making a pass at that moment.

All of this while snow continued to fill the air and the wind continued to howl. Pretty unpleasant conditions to be outdoors or even out on the roads. But there they were, doing their jobs regardless. You might not be able to fully appreciate what goes on between the time your power went out and the moment that the lights flicker back on and the furnace starts to hum again. All that you can know was that you and your house were cooling down as the hours ticked by. When you hear a plow rattle past, you can only guess how much of the Island that driver has already seen four times today. In several spots alongside the road there were big piles of broken branches and in the middle of the road small evenly spaced piles of chainsaw dust where somebody had gone to the trouble of clearing an obstacle in the midst of the tempest.

Twice that morning the wind gusted to 65 mph at the Chappy ferry. Who knows what the wind blew in the afternoon as our anemometer got so packed with snow that it stopped twirling. It’s funny that the weather station read-out reported WINDS CALM with a straight face while the building shook. Luckily the temperature hovered just above freezing and the snow melted off. We like to marvel at the maximum gust speed, but it often doesn’t indicate the ferocity of a storm. It’s the relentless steady pressure of 40 mph hour winds that overcome the holding power of tree roots in wet ground or loosen the edge of an asphalt shingle enough to peel off a whole roof.

It’s hard to believe that the vernal equinox is next Tuesday. The sun will be right over the equator at noon time on its apparent migration northward into our hemisphere. It won’t feel much like Spring as the forecast for that day predicts snow flurries with the wind out of the northeast. I’m counting on March to obey the old adage and go out like a lamb.

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