No storm is going to stop this trip


The breeze this morning, blowing gently from the southwest, brings the hint of an early fall.

School buses are back out on their daily route, and children stand waiting for their ride at the end of long driveways. I see them as I make my way in to work early each morning, many of them looking like stunned mannequins who simply cannot believe that summer is gone.

My daughter and I, taking our wonderful turn at a mother-daughter vacation, hadn’t wanted to wish summer away, but have looked so forward to our trip together in September.

Last trip

Knowing Caroline would have one week off from her grueling pace of both work and studies, I long ago asked, “What could I give you or do for you to make that week off enjoyable?”

She didn’t skip a beat. She said she wanted to go to the beach. That has always been our favorite getaway throughout her childhood years.

As the day for our leaving grew closer, the news carried nonstop coverage of the biggest storm in many years.
Hurricane Irene seemed about to blast our vacation dreams away, and perhaps even the beach house we had long ago reserved would be damaged right along with it.

I watched the weather channels with that feeling of having held my breath for far too long. Projections of the path of the storm looked frightening with intensity, bearing down on that little dot in North Carolina that has become our favorite place to go. It seemed our plans laid out so long ago were going to be swept to sea.

I didn’t say a word out loud, not wanting to jinx things.

Friday before the storm, I felt a glimmer of hope that perhaps the storm was weakening a bit, and taking a turn more northward.

Summer bonfire

To keep ourselves preoccupied, we planned a big end-of-summer bonfire here at our farm, inviting life-long friends of both Cort and Caroline before everyone scattered and headed back to colleges or careers. As the sun went down, the stars put on a great show.

I heard several comments about how city life ruins star gazing, how appreciative we should be for the open peacefulness of this farm.

It was a perfect night for a campfire gathering, sweatshirts pulled from the back of closets. The evening was filled with laughter as old memories were shared and new memories made.

And, in the morning, we learned our beach house vacation was still on, as the strength of Hurricane Irene had punched coastal towns north of our dream destination.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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