12 Feb 2013

Prepared on Nantucket

Prepared on Nantucket

My husband Dan, the Eagle Scout, has never forgotten the Boy Scout motto – “Be Prepared.” As the weather people began forecasting an “Epic” storm for New England last week, we initiated an inventory of what we might need in the event the storm behaved as badly as predicted. Unlike his sometimes Nervous Nellie wife (that would be me), Dan is a non-alarmist and a sunshine and roses optimist. He generally believes that things turn out well and good can come from any adversity. However, even an optimistic Boy Scout knows, you still need to be prepared….and so we began getting ready for Nemo.

The Stop and Shop last Thursday looked like a scene from a Saturday afternoon in August – complete with the crazed parking lot and bare shelves. Joining hundreds of Nantucket friends and neighbors filling their carts with provisions, we chided each other in the check-out line as we took stock of the “essentials” each of us needed to survive. “Really – 3 packages of Oreos?” I quizzed my neighbor. He grinned and assured me it was the breakfast of champions – and Nantucketers in a storm.

As Nemo began to find his legs early Friday afternoon, our office staff perused our preparedness checklist: cupboards stocked, check. Wood pile moved into the garage, check. Flashlights, candles, batteries, radio, check. My colleague, Liza Ottani mentioned that her husband had filled their bathtub with water in the event we lost power…at which point my husband Dan grabbed his coat and bolted from our office. This was strange because he had just returned from some household preparation only moments before. It wasn’t until he reappeared 30 minutes later that he confessed he too had decided to fill our large Jacuzzi bathtub with water in preparation for the storm…but in his haste to check off the other things on his list forgot it was running and returned to the office. Imagine his relief when he raced into our bathroom to discover that the water was less than an inch from the tubs edge! It never hurts to be prepared – but some days it doesn’t hurt to have Lady Luck on your side too.

We found ample reasons to be grateful as the storm raged on for 2 days. Our electricity was intermittent, but stayed on during the worst of the storm…which frankly seems like an epic miracle given the blizzard’s intensity. We had high winds and several inches of ice and snow, but nothing compared to our neighbors on the mainland. Trees were downed and many areas in Brant Point were flooded, but no lives were lost and no one injured. With the boats, planes and most businesses cancelled, no internet, phone or cable tv, there was little to do but throw more wood on the fire, hunker down with a few good books and wait for Mother Nature to get it all out of her system. Ample time for contemplation, reflection and yes, gratitude, for the opportunity to live on an island where even a historic winter storm can’t dampen our spirits.


Shellie Dunlap

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