Traveling Dog Lady: spencer, massachusetts

Saturday, May 26, 2007

spencer, massachusetts

In the month-plus since my birthday, life has been unbelievably crazy. Crazier than I can ever remember. I live in the tiny towns of Spencer and Eastham, Massachusetts. The happenings in these two remote villages have been staggering this last month.

I posted last about the nor'easter that ruined the stairs at Nauset Light Beach. I visited Eastham that week and took photos, which I haven't had time to post here. I went back a couple weeks later, to find, to my delight, stairs with several landings at various intervals. Not only are they easier to maneuver (particularly going UP) but will be infinitely better to navigate with two hounds, if I ever get up the courage to do so.

Tomorrow, I venture forth to Eastham again. On my way there, I will take on a new challenge. I'm going to visit my friend Sue, in Bourne, with both dogs accompanying me. She also lives across the road from a dog-friendly beach. This will be interesting! I will report back after it's all said and done.

On to my primary residence in Spencer. Let's see. First, there was the contaminated water. That one made national news headlines. Spencer, Massachusetts was the #2 story on The Today Show. Wow! Spencer's town water supply became tainted with unsafe levels of lye. Lye is used in the water treatment under normal circumstances, but something malfunctioned. The result being that 100 people were burned by taking showers or washing their hands or faces, and some drank it. Thankfully, I live in such a remote part of town that we have private well water. But our office is located right on Main Street. The number of ambulances that day, you would've thought we were in the big city! Interestingly enough, nobody ever contacted our place of business to tell us about the water. We heard about it through the grapevine. But that's another story, for another day. I wrote a letter to the town a few days after the water contamination, but never sent it.

Shortly thereafter, we had a (possible) murder-suicide in Spencer, and the wife who was allegedly murdered has not yet been found. They're declaring her "missing" still, and we sure hope she is alive. We made the news again.

The third thing that happened, and we made the local papers on this one, was that the house across the street from mine got struck by lightning and burned beyond repair. Its occupant, a dear, dear friend of ours, lost just about everything he owned.

It was one of the most horrific things I've ever witnessed in my whole life. The storm came out of nowhere. I was downstairs at my house, doing laundry of all things. Thank goodness our friend was not home when this happened, so no one was in that building when it went up. I thought it was a tornado, it came up that fast, and the wind was howling, and then BLAM! a wicked strike of lightning! I yelled (to the dogs) "WHOA! That HIT something!" I ran outside in the middle of the storm because I was sure it had hit my house. I smelled burning plastic (which I would later find out was the cable TV wire from the pole to my house). I walked around outside and inside my house, crawling under the deck in the back, trying to see if and where it hit. All the other neighbors were doing the same. Because the strike hit the back of Mike's house, we didn't see it. We all went back inside, and about 10 minutes later, I see Steve -- he's running. Steve doesn't run, so I knew something was wrong. I hollered out my door, "Steve! What's the matter?"

"Mike's house is on fire!"

I asked him if he called 9-1-1, he had. And then, for good measure, I called myself.

The fire was really nothing at that point. We could hear the trucks coming, a crowd had gathered, and we were saying to each other, "It's gonna be OK. It's nothing." Then, within ONE second, BLAM! something caught and the thing erupted into an inferno. The kitchen went up in one second flat. The huge picture windows in the room that got hit by lightning blew right out of the building.

We were so scared, and there was nothing we could do but stand there and watch, my hands "Home Alone" style. Turns out the trucks (7 of them) came from three towns other than Spencer. There was talk afterwards that some got mis-directed and went up the wrong dirt road, there are so many on the lake.

Even though I didn't live in that house, we spent a lot of time there, and the fact that "but for the grace of God" Mike wasn't home that afternoon, and it didn't hit my house, well, it is just too scary for words. I cried on and off for two days. It was just awful. It was one of the most frightening things I've ever witnessed in my life.

A chapter ended, and lots of memories, both good and bad, for all of us.

I'm hoping Spencer stays out of the news for a while.