The National Weather Service blurted out: “Get ready for a hurricane, Jacksonville, a Category 5 storm named Dorian, is creeping up the coast.” It was September 2, 2019, and any day now I was awaiting the delivery of 16 cartons of books, my memoir.
The skies looked ominous, by turns sunny and scary. Like the storm, a fearful haiku formed in my mind.
Laughing and crying by turns
Keeping our guard up!
Hour by hour, we heard weather broadcasts from WJXT, our local station. Tuesday brought more dire reports of the impending storm.
We waited for the onslaught of Dorian. Squalls came, wind gusts and then sheets of rain pelted our north and east-facing windows. Intermittently, moments of silence punctuated the howling gales.
Then, on September 4, UPS sent me a message, “I have a delivery for Marian Beaman, then enunciating our address. We want to make sure you are home.” Home!
Home? Where else would I be in this weather. Though the storm had been downgraded from a Category 5 to a 2, the weather was still treacherous.
And so, on Wednesday afternoon, a rain-slicked/wind-dried brown truck pulled up to our address. Waiting and watching at my desk facing the street, I dashed to the door, imagining wet boxes. Or at least a drenched driver. But no, he opened the back hatch and began to unload. By the time he got to the hallway where I’ve rolled out a tarp on the floor in case the boxes got wet, he paused. I expected him to say, “Well, that was easier than I thought.”
Instead, I noticed he was trembling, “I had to hang onto the steering wheel to stay in my lane on the bridge. The wind gusts were terrible! I even had to keep the van door partly open to stay upright!” I offered him spring water—pure water contained in a bottle, refreshing—the least I could do.
That was the first week of September, two years ago. Thanks to the UPS delivery, it was great to have print books to sell at my book launch and at book signings on my tour. Along the way, I have noticed some book-sellers acquire books directly from the publisher, so no need for stocking extra books.
These days I carry a few books in a box on my back seat, so that I have one available, like for the woman in the doctor’s office waiting room who likes Christian fiction but bought my memoir, “I like true stories too,” she smiled.
Since then, I have noticed a shift. Many readers still like a book to hold in their hands, but e-books are gaining ground. They are often much less expensive and even more portable than paperbacks if one has a Kindle. I wonder which you prefer.
The sun smiled on the afternoon of September 14, Launch Day, though Hurricane Humberto had hummed by in the morning. At this moment, we have no imminent storm threat though that could change in the coming days.
Do pray for the people of Louisiana and other states who have been affected by Hurricane Ida. Find a church or charity that has organized relief efforts.
Tell us about your experience with scary weather: a hurricane, a tornado, or another storm.
Do you prefer paperbacks or e-books?
* * *