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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

Sept. 8, 2004


Any Bob Dylan fans out there are familiar with that song title. It was one of many tracks that made Blood On The Tracks one of the best albums of the Seventies. The past week has sent millions of people seeking the promise of that song.

Here on the Boca Raton campus of FAU, and in the neighborhood I call home, the major problem was downed trees and the loss of power for three or four days. We were lucky. There wasn't any major structural damage and, more importantly, it appears that people in this area were unhurt.

My family's battle plan was to ride out the storm in the local Embassy Suites. I had reserved a room early in the week when I heard Frances' winds were in the 140mph range. I don't trust a twenty five year old house that much.

When the hurricane stalled and lost strength, we decided to hunker down and stay in our house. My daughter Maggie was so disappointed in my decision that she vowed to "run away and find some parents who would take her to a hotel!" Sorry Mags.

My neighbors across the street settled in with a hurricane party, while my next store neighbor left with his wife at 10 pm as she went into labor. The good news is the baby is fine and they got a few nights of air conditioning.

As the first day passed with just some wind and rain, we all were getting impatient and tired of being shuttered inside the house. But that night the winds picked up and things got a little scarier.

MB and I stood at the door at 11 pm watching the trees bending, the wind howling, and the rain pounding down in horizontal sheets. We decided to move Luke and Maggie from their bedrooms on the west side of the house to ours on the east side. Frances was north of us which brought the winds from the west.

We have two big oak trees on the kids' side of the houses and we were concerned for their stability as the winds grew stronger. MB said she wanted to look at the trees because she could hear branches on the roof over Maggie's room. So we bundled up, went outside and looked at the bigger of the two leaning against the side and on the roof of Maggie's bedroom. Luckily for us it must have slowly fallen as it became uprooted. There were some tiles broken, but no leaks.

After a fitful night of sleep, we awoke to a street full of overturned trees and no electricity.

Everyone pitched in to clear fallen trees and the resultant debris. It was a tough way to get better acquainted with your neighbors, but it was nice to see the good side of so many people.

Our campus is a mess and school is closed until Monday. My office has power, but much of the school is still in the dark.

Life goes on for us, but the northern part of the county is a mess. People are still out of their homes, there are still thousands of people with no power. The one fortunate thing is the lack of human casualty.

We can replace a roof or a porch, but not a son or a daughter. KC



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