Batten down the hatches it’s coming! Oh sure, it’s calm in Shady Pines right now. But if the folks who forecast the weather are right, later this evening the small Southern town could be dealing with a hurricane.

‘Ole Tropical Storm Isaias is battering the Florida coast and heading this way. It’s expected to pick up steam and get even stronger by the time it arrives.

Living in the South means you get used to dealing with strong storms. When you live anywhere close to the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season, it’s stomething you learn to expect from June ’til the end of November.

But this year, with a pandemic and all, it’s just the kind of thing no one needs.

Over on Dogwood Drive across from Copy Cat Lane, Edna Sanders is getting ready. She’s already put all the back and front porch furniture into the garage so they won’t blow away.

Next, she makes sure to pick up the planters with thier beautiful flowers and bring them inside, too.

“I sure don’t want to see anything happen to them,” says Edna to herself.” It  seems like this Isaias fellow is something we need to take seriously.”

While she’s doing all this, her Australian Shepherd dog, Boomerang, follows her around.

“Boom, are trying to help?

At the sound of his name, the sweet dog drops he bone he’d been carrying around and looks right at her. He wags his bobbed tail.

“Ruff!”

Edna laughs. “That’s what I thought. She reaches down and gives him a big hug. “You are the best helper a gal could ever want. What do you say we go into the kitchen? I need to make a list of the food, water, and other supplies we’re going to need.”

As Edna and her faithful companion enter the kitchen, Edna looks around. “Boomer, where’s Halley? I don’t think I’ve seen her in hours.” Just then, a silver and white cat jumps down from her window seat and strolls across the room. Halley’s Comet rubs against Edna’s leg, a sure sign she wants some attention. Edna picks her up and hugs and kisses her.

“There you are,” says Edna. “I knew you had to be around here somewhere.”

Boomer growls gently.

“Oh, keep quiet you overgrown furball,” says Halley.

“Halley, you are such a pain. Mom and I have been working to get ready for the storm. And what have you done to help? Nothing.”

“Boomer, you know darn well that I will pitch in when the time comes.”

“And what time will that be, exactly?” asks Boomer.

“When it’s the right time.” says Halley.

Edna’s husband, Harold, owns the Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware store on Main Street downtown. He left for work early this morning knowing it would be busy with people grabbing last-minute items.

They’ll nee flash lights, batteries, coolers for ice, that sort of thing.

The phone rings at the counter. One of the guys who works there picks it up. “Hey Harold, it’s for you. Edna’s calling.”

Harold is busy stocking shelves. “OK. I’ll be right there, George.”

Harold puts the last extension chord on the shelf and walks over to the phone. “Hi, honey. Everything all right?”

Normally, Edna doesn’t call on days when she knows he’s really busy. So Harold is a little bit worried.

“Everything’s fine, sweetie. I’m just finishing getting dressed and I thought I’d drop by for a minute. I’ve put together a list of things I’d like for you to bring home from the store,” says Edna.

Harold is relieved. “Oh, sure. That’s fine. I’ll see you when I see you.”

“Harold, I was planning to leave Boomer with you while I take Halley grocery shopping with me. Is that all right?” asks Edna.

Harold smiles. “Of course it is. You know how much I love to have my buddy with me at the store. He’ll be a nice distraction for all the customers who are getting a bit anxious about this storm,” says Harold.

“He does have a way of calming people down, doesn’t he?”

“Edna, I have to go. Someone needs me. I’ll see you when you get here.”

“See you in a bit,” says Edna.

And with that, Edna heads out to the garage where her car, Sweet Pea, is waiting for them. She has Halley in her travelling crate. She puts that in the back seat and secures it with a seatbelt. Next, she guides Boomer to sit on the floor in front of the passenger seat. With both animals safe and in their places, they’re ready to go.

“All right kids,” says Edna. “Our first stop is the hardware store, then to Fred’s Corner Grocer.”

For a moment, Edna pauses. Did she bring her list? Edna always has lists of one thing or another. But on a day like this, she wants to be extra sure.

“Oh, good here it is. All the things we’ll need to get before the storm hits. Here we go!”

Want to see what’s on Edna’s list and know what you need to prepare for a large storm? This is even more complete than Edna’s:  Hurricane Guide

***We’ll have more on what happens after the storm next time. Stay Tuned.