Lightning strikes twice.

Seventeen years ago — the same week in August 1991 that there was a coup in the Soviet Union and rioting in Crown Heights — Alan and I went backpacking on Isle Royale for something like 10 days. We learned of these events upon our emergence from the backcountry, and considered turning around and going back in.

But that was only two-thirds of the bad news. Our friends J.C. and Sammy’s house was destroyed by a tree that fell from the front yard onto their house in Atlanta. All wasn’t lost. They were unharmed, and the enormous insurance check allowed them to rebuild the house and convert an attic into a second floor.

Which was a very nice second floor, until yesterday:


In case you’re wondering, I was only the 35th person to say, “What are the odds?” upon hearing this. Deb was the 36th. Courage, friends.

Posted at 4:43 pm in Uncategorized |

16 responses to “Lightning strikes twice.”

  1. brian stouder said on May 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Maybe it’s just the after-effects from reading the last post, but all those logs on JC’s house makes me think it’s starring in a Cialis commercial!

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  2. whitebeard said on May 12, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I have a maple by the side of the house that we plan on having cut down; this photo adds more urgency to the plan. Also our dooryard maple, more than three stories high, has a dead limb in the center; that too should be cut away, although there are a dozen cables reinforcing the rest of the huge limbs in the event of high winds. Maple makes great firewood for the wood stove. I heard something fascinating (not awesome) on the weekend; when you burn birch logs the smoke smells like root beer.

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  3. Dexter said on May 12, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Be strong, J.C. & Sammy. Ten years ago a huge maple cracked my house in two, much like a cracked egg. We, too got enough insurance to remodel , but what a pain!
    We, too, have more trees nearby and it’s like waiting for the other shoe to fall. If they were my trees I’d have had them cut years ago, but they ain’t.
    Oh well…China just had a 30-year earthquake and 10,000 are dead…so it could be worse.

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  4. LAMary said on May 12, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Shhh. Don’t mention earthquakes.

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  5. Dexter said on May 12, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    LAM: As you know,Monterey isn’t far from Hollister…when I lived near Monterey I was amazed at the movement the earth makes even in “harmless” quakes.
    At least some aid is getting into Myanmar/Burma…but now the starvation begins…it’s horrible as people are so hungry and homeless….

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  6. caliban said on May 12, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Whitebeard. Mine’s gray and red these days, so no matter how much I despise shaving, I’m forbidden to let nature take its course. Fortunately, I’m encouraged in other matters of nature, and even sometimes the unnatural. I apologize for being snide, but I won’t get over Guv Dean’s abandonment of Kerry when the lying jackal Swiftboaters struck. His response was a guerilla raid on Democrat central with the implied message that the Presidential race didn’t really matter all that much. Edwards was no better. Isn’t the job description for a VP nominee pitbull, to eat purveyors of scurrilous attacks alive? And wasn’t Kenneth Blackwell empowered to game Cuyahoga County by the retreat to Naderist omphaloskopsis by lots of the same people that have gotten holier than thou these days and rebranded as “progressives”?

    Know what, if you won’t stand up to these bullys, you’re just one of them.

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  7. caliban said on May 12, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    What is this progressive horsheshit, These people are maling up crap.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 12, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Hello — Time magazine says invade Burma? I’m in topsy-turvy world here . . .,8599,1739053,00.html

    snip — “The trouble is that the Burmese haven’t shown the ability or willingness to deploy the kind of assets needed to deal with a calamity of this scale — and the longer Burma resists offers of help, the more likely it is that the disaster will devolve beyond anyone’s control. “We’re in 2008, not 1908,” says Jan Egeland, the former U.N. emergency relief coordinator. “A lot is at stake here. If we let them get away with murder we may set a very dangerous precedent.””

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  9. joodyb said on May 12, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    that is just not fair. so sorry, J.C.&Sammy. i live in relative fear of creaky rotting elms.
    your house is pretty, though!

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  10. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 12, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    OK, try this now for the Time/Burma article —,8599,1739053,00.html

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  11. John c said on May 13, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Dang! Best of luck JC and Sammy.

    We just lost a huge elm and were feeling pretty bad about it. Probably for the best, of course.

    I lived through a bad apartment fire about 20 years ago. My roommate lost everything and I lost a lot. I also lost the ability to breathe for a moment as I was calling 911 – a vivid reminder that it could have been worse. The feeling of gratitude that I was alive and well, and that all I’d lost was “stuff,” was striking. Glad you’re well. Hope you didn’t lose any stuff that mattered.

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  12. brian stouder said on May 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I found this article, about some of the racists encountered by Obama campaigners out on the trail, upsetting. It features several unpleasant (and a few criminal) incidents from right here in Indiana, as well as the antics of blockheads in the Keystone state

    But then, after I thought about it, it occurred to me that I have heard some pretty appalling sexism just in casual conversation amongst people I know, directed against Senator Clinton. One can only guess what HER campaigners are weathering, out there

    That realization put the WaPo article into perspective….although the overall effect is somewhat depressing and deflating

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  13. Jolene said on May 13, 2008 at 9:00 am

    I saw that article too, Brian. Very disheartening.

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  14. whitebeard said on May 13, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I just read that Washington Post article and it hit home, seeing as we are raising our grandson who is a combination of Canadian Indian and African-American and born in the USA. When he was told by another young lad at summer camp that his (white) “people” saved my grandson’s “people” from slavery, I politely countered with the fact that our grandson’s “people” were standing on shore watching the first Europeans land. That young lad became our grandson’s staunchest defender for the rest of the summer. One conversion at a time in my lily-white section of America.

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  15. whitebeard said on May 13, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Re invading Burma, I wonder how many countries considered a humanitarian military invasion after El Presidente refused countless offers of financial and material aid to the stricken people of New Orleans (yes, New Orleans, one of the most beautiful cities in North America). His reasoning was that “we” can handle it, the handling being to award the lucrative mortuary contract to a Texas pal to stack the victims’ bodies days before the infamous “Brownie” could even get his act together and get FEMA fully on the scene. New Orleans is still waiting for the “handling” to be completed as promised. Don’t get me started.
    And, Caliban, the “progressive horseshit” you mentioned, I have always believed that the English language’s so-called leading example of an oxymoron being the phrase “military intelligence” was easily trumped by the Canadian political party known as the Progressive Conservative Party.

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  16. jcburns said on May 14, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the good thoughts. We’re blue tarp people now, and will be for a long, long while. We’ve got some amazing pictures…will put them up somewhere.

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