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Guest Writer, Bill Bailey

Sometimes, what you need can be found right at your fingertips. For instance, just a couple of weeks ago, Calhoun County was hit by severe thunderstorms that caused flooding and other damage. This occurred on Wednesday while I was updating the Chronicle’s web page. I was watching the radar to see if there was any chance I could beat the next series of storms heading our way.

I called home to get my ride on the way to town ahead of the latest deluge. Five minutes later, I got a call that a tree was across the road. No ride home. Reporter Maricia Mlynek was staffing the office and was kind enough to offer me a ride to the end of my road, which was as far as was feasible under the conditions.

Around 4 p.m., another storm hit directly on Grantsville. Lightning flashed, thunder crashed, and rain flew by sideways. I took a large garbage bag, cut a hole for my head and arms and made myself a “hillbilly raincoat.” I grabbed my hat and ran to the Chronicle office to make sure everything was okay. I was completely drenched in that 100-yard dash.

At 4:30, Maricia closed the office and I retrieved my camera bag and a small, lightweight package that had arrived that day from the Audubon Society. After placing my camera and the package in two garbage bags to keep them safe, I rode to the end of the road.

Walking down the road in the driving rain with lightning striking the ridge tops, I was made aware of the lack of protection from my homemade raincoat. I was still getting wet and since it did not allow any airflow, I was getting hot, I wished for something else.

I generally don’t mind walking in the rain, or even in a mild storm, but this one had turned the road into a river and had also dropped another tree, a Red Oak, across the road in another spot. Well, I thought, I’ll just call work when I get home and tell them I can’t come in the morning due to trees across the road. Good idea, until I saw the tree had taken the phone line and snapped it neatly in two. I climbed over the tree and continued down the road hoping for no hailstones.

When I got to the crossing in front of the house, the creek was a raging torrent and that gave me a moment’s pause. I started to set my garbage bag of goods on a log and was somewhat startled by a two-foot copperhead that was lying on top of the log trying to avoid drowning in the creek. He slithered off the log, coiled up, and I said, “Excuse me,” and moved away. After a minute of deliberation, I knew I had to cross now or the storm would keep me on the wrong side of the creek all night, in the rain, with a copperhead for company.

I made it to the other side somehow, and walked to the house proud and happy to have made it home. Jeanne handed me dry clothes, a towel and a cup of coffee, and I gave her the package she had received in the mail that day.

The sound of the package opening was followed by hysterical laughter. I stuck my head out of the bathroom to find out what could possibly be so funny about a day that seemed so bad. The package that I had carried for a mile in the driving rain wrapped in garbage bags to keep it safe and dry, contained a brand new, lightweight, hooded, fit me perfectly, complimentary raincoat.

So, no matter what is happening in your life, more than likely help is close by. You just have to look for it. It might be right at hand.

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