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The Blizzard

middle of the two rows of cars, blocking anyone from leaving their space.  It was a Coast Guard vehicle and the driver (some recruit from Iowa?) was furiously trying to back up in eighteen inches of snow. We shoveled out our cars but the truck was stuck. It could not be moved. All we had accomplished was create a vulnerable path for the seawater to course through and flood our vehicles. I looked at my Volvo sedan and shut my eyes. We went back to the boat.

   We checked on our cars every half-hour. The incoming sea-flood flirted with the tops of our rubber boots. On one inspectional tour, we saw that the VW Rabbit was floating and starting to bang into not only my Volvo but the car on the other side. My fiancé looked grim, and with the help of the Marina team, tied a line around his car and the other cars to hold it in position with special hitches until the tide receded.  It looked like a total loss - all the electronics on the Rabbit were on the underside.

   We checked in at the Office for the latest report. We wanted to save our battery on the boat, so listened to a radio in the marine electronics store. There was a ship floundering outside Salem Harbor; the oil tanker that had been ordered out the night before. It was in trouble, running aground. We walked back to the boat through drifts and tried to look out toward open water, but we could not even see our own dock. We followed our dog - now our “Guide Dog” -down the gangplank which, all of a sudden, we noticed was “less down” and more level.

   Some hours later, the crew came by and said they had towed the Coast Guard truck out and we could move our cars - if we could get them started. My partner’s car did not start so, with the help of my Volvo and the Yard Crew, we pushed the Rabbit to the uphill fence. I drove my car up to the street and parked it as best I could. Not too many of the residents on this point of land had driveways - the street was half-full of parked cars. I walked through the Arctic-dull glow of the sodium streetlights and struggled back to our sailboat.

   We were eating our dinner when the first blow came. There was a rhythmic

banging against our hull, as though the waves had turned to metal. We went out and from the finger float, examined the transom of the sailboat. Caught under our stern was an oil drum. We freed it but could not lift it - it had contents. We looked out and saw other oil drums floating around everyone’s boat. We were glad we had wooden planks and not fiberglass, but the situation was still menacing - one of the planks in our hull, just above the water line, had been stove-in. A dent about a foot long. We heard screams as others realized the danger and fended off the drums. Later, we learned the drums had been swept off the docks in Salem Harbor and the tide brought them down the Coast to menace us.


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