Gustav, the storm we anticipated last weekend, bypassed our corner of Florida and hit the coast of Louisana instead. He stirred up a few sensational looking waves, though, before heading west.
Once when he was a little boy, grandpapa had gone with his parents to see [a] festivity...There were many shields to be seen; a hundred rooms might have been filled with pictures, if they had been hung up inside and outside. At the tailor's were pictures of all kinds of clothing, to show that he could stitch up people from the coarsest to the finest; at the tobacco manufacturer's were pictures of the most charming little boys, smoking cigars, just as they do in reality; there were signs with painted butter and herrings, clerical collars, and coffins, and inscriptions and announcements into the bargain. A person could walk up and down for a whole day through the streets and tire himself out with looking at the pictures; and then he would know all about what people lived in the houses, for they had hung out their shields or signs; and, as grandfather said, it was a very instructive thing, in a great town, to know at once who the inhabitants were...
--from "The Storm Shakes the Shield" by Hans Christian Andersen--
We flew back home last Saturday for a short visit and to secure the homestead ahead of the storm which never really materialized here. On Sunday we decided to visit the beach because we were not sure whether the storm would shift its anticipated track and perhaps cause some major beach erosion on Monday. It's clear from this picture (click on it to read more clearly) that hell or high water can't keep the advertisers for some local entertainment from their appointed rounds. Sammy's apparently offers free rides to the establishment but probably not while there.
All kinds of appetite can be stimulated by the signs in the sky. McGuire's Irish Pub is one of our favorite restaurants in Pensacola, but we wanted some time on the beach with our family, including our grandson Micah. The fishing pier now has a casual, open air restaurant that offers simple but satisfying fare.
Micah found these curly fries to his liking and sat still for a few minutes to enjoy them.
Grandpa found this trip to his liking but had to leave yesterday to return to Illinois and work. Grandma is staying in Florida for a few more weeks, just in case the next storms queuing up in the Atlantic decide to pay us a visit. The storm shutters are close at hand to be put up if need be, and the pantry shelves are stocked with necessary supplies in case of a power outage.
Sunday evening Sarah and I fixed homemade pizza, and we had a little party to celebrate Sarah's, my, and Alan's birthdays, all of which occur in late August and September. I guess winter was a fertile time for some people in our family.
Sarah is already teaching Micah some basic chords on the guitar. He seems fascinated by what some strings on a piece of wood can do.
Grandma Martha helps Micah follow in his daddy's footsteps.
After everybody went home for the evening, Grandpa relaxed on the floor with Miss Kitty and Peanut. They miss him already. We all do.
And this is what happened with these shields, when grandpapa came to the town. He told it me himself, and he hadn't "a rogue on his back," as mother used to tell me he had when he wanted to make me believe something outrageous, for now he looked quite trustworthy. The first night after he came to the town had been signalized by the most terrible gale ever recorded in the newspapers, a gale such as none of the inhabitants had ever before experienced. The air was dark with flying tiles; old wood-work crashed and fell; and a wheelbarrow ran up the street all alone, only to get out of the way. There was a groaning in the air, and a howling and a shrieking, and altogether it was a terrible storm...The barber's shield, the great brazen dish, was carried away, and hurled straight into the embrasure of the councillor of justice; and the whole neighborhood said this looked almost like malice, inasmuch as they, and nearly all the friends of the councillor's wife, used to call that lady "the Razor," for she was so sharp that she knew more about other people's business than they knew about it themselves...The inscription "Institution for Superior Education" was found near the billiard club, which place of resort was further adorned with the words "Children brought up by hand." Now, this was not at all witty; but, you see, the storm had done it, and no one has any control over that...The poor people in the town, and still more the strangers, were continually making mistakes in the people they wanted to see; nor was this to be avoided, when they went according to the shields that were hung up. Thus, for instance, some who wanted to go to a very grave assembly of elderly men, where important affairs were to be discussed, found themselves in a noisy boys' school, where all of the company were leaping over the chairs and tables. There were also people who made a mistake between the church and the theatre, and that was terrible indeed! Such a storm we have never witnessed in our day; for that only happened in grandpapa's time, when he was quite a little boy. Perhaps we shall never experience a storm of the kind, but our grandchildren may; and we can only hope and pray that all may stay at home while the storm is moving the shields.