The stories and pictures coming out of Hatteras Island are heartbreaking. There are scores of cars waiting for the ferry on Ocracoke, long, choked lines of cars crawling along the sandy two lane highway, headed for Nags Head. All because of an accidental severing of an underwater power line by a construction crew working on the repair of bridges taken out by violent storms a few months back. I read the stories and look at the pictures, all the while trying to imagine the hell that would have been unleashed if this unhappy accident had occurred just two short weeks ago, when 18 members of the greater Dunnevant family were on that beleaguered island for vacation. What follows is my imagination unleashed on that unthinkable prospect...
The thirteenth edition of the Dunnevant family Beach Week vacation is a mere two days old and all is well when 18 family members climb into bed on night two. Unfortunately, while they slept, electric power was severed from the entire island by a construction accident under a bridge thirty miles away. During the night, as our heros slept, the temperature inside the house rose from its perfect 71 climate controlled degrees to a stifling 82 by the time the first vacationer awoke. During that fateful night, two refrigerators full of meat, cheese, milk, eggs and a varied assortment of culinary delights now lay dead and reeking inside their stainless steel tombs.
(Uncle Doug walks into the family room and sees Matt Hawkins sitting by the window doing his devotional)
Uncle Doug: It feel a little hot in here to you?
Matt: Now that you mention it, it is a bit warm.
Uncle Doug: You better turn that lamp on. It's not good for your eyes to read without good light.
Matt turns on the switch. The click seems ominously loud, and when no light is forthcoming, a feeling of dread invades the large room with the thirty foot ceiling.
Uncle Doug: Holy Crap....
Soon it becomes clear that something is dreadfully wrong. Uncle Ron and Uncle Bill enter the room with an expression of forlorn resignation.
Uncle Bill: Ok guys, we've got a problem. Pretty soon the women in this house are going to wake up and as all of you know, they are not going to be amused.
Uncle Ron: I don't want to even think about what is going to happen to Paula when she wakes up and realizes she is already sweating. I swear to you guys, I'm a dead man!
Uncle Doug: You're a dead man?? I'm married to a woman from freaking Maine!! If the thermostat ever rises above 70 at our house, she turns into a raging psychopath.
Matt: Guys, guys!! Pull yourselves together!! Now is not the time to panic. Let's put our heads together and come up with a plan.
Uncle Doug: Yeah Matt. Great idea. A plan is what we need. Let's see...how about we have Ron here draw up some preliminary plans for building our own nuclear power plant!!
Uncle Ron: As fate would have it, I decided at the last minute not to pack my portable drafting table, so that's out.
Uncle Bill: Isn't that always the way it happens? The one thing you actually need, you never pack...
At this point, young Bennett makes an appearance, free from any worry or concern, secure in the cocoon of childhood oblivion.
Matt: Bennett, listen to Daddy. There has been an accident and there is no power, which means we have no food, there is no air conditioning, there will be no hot water, no way to charge your video games, and we will no longer be able to use the pool since the water pumps don't work...
Uncle Bill: (rolling his eyes at Doug and Ron)...Parents today...have they completely forgotten how to lie to kids??
Bennett: Uncle Doug, this is the best prank ever!!
Suddenly, Christina enters the room. This is the best of all possibilities, Christina being the only female in the house without a hair trigger temper and an instinctively violent reaction to high temperatures. Perhaps the men of the family can recruit her as an emissary to the still sleeping female contingent downstairs.
Uncle Bill: Sweetie...we have no electricity. Do you have any ideas on how we can break this news to your mother, sister and aunts without risking serious, permanent injury or death?
Christina: Dad, come on now. It won't be that bad. Sure, it's going to be a challenge, but isn't that half the fun? Just think of the stories we will be able to tell about this in our old age.
Uncle Ron: See, that's the thing that worries us...whether or not we will ever reach old age.
Christina: Oh come on now you silly gooses...
Bennett: Geese! That's silly geese. There's no such thing as gooses.
Matt: Well done, Bennett.
Christina: I'm sure the power will come back on soon. The important thing is...we will all still be together!
Uncle Doug: That's right Chrissy...we'll all be together. All 18 of us. In this ginormous house. With no air conditioning. Pretty soon it's going to smell worse than a Turkish bathhouse in here...and tonight it's our turn to make dinner!!
Uncle Ron: Don't worry about that Doug. You'll be cooking on the gas grill...
............... to be continued