Winona Lockerbie clucked her tongue as she watched through the front window, watched the storm approach. She knew from the weather reports what was going to happen so when the first drops of rain began to patter on the window glass she fell back deeper into the house for shelter. This house was new. There was no cellar but Winona took her old Tom cat, Mr. Stitches, and went into her linen closet. She knew that was her best chance. She removed the lower shelf, tucked sheets and towels around herself, got comfortable, and listened to the storm. She was worried about her car, parked on the street in front of the house.
It felt as though an eternity passed while she was cocooned in the dark closet. Miraculously, she even slept off and on, when she woke it was with a start. She hugged Mr. Stitches and listened to the ominous silence. The cat purred softly against her breast and she thought that if he was this calm then the storm must be over so she reached up and slowly turned the knob to open the closet door. Just an inch, at first, and she peered through the crack. Her hall stretched back towards the bedroom and seemed to be intact with no visible damage.
Encouraged, Winona pushed the door open a bit further and stuck her head out into the hall. Mr. Stitches leaped from her arms and scampered down the hallway, in the direction of the kitchen, no doubt looking for his food bowl. Winona noted the sunlight and crawled from the closet. She stood slowly in the middle of the hall and began making her way towards the front room. She heard a thump from outside and hurried to the window just in time to see the paper boy pedal his bicycle around the corner. On her porch sat her morning paper, just like always. She scanned the street; her neighbor’s houses were all intact, the trees still stood where they had been before the storm. Everything seemed normal until she looked at her car, parked next to the curb. At least it was still there but she could see, even from the porch, the damage that had been done. It looked horrible.
The beautiful deep burgundy paint job was mottled and streaked. The rain had done its damage. She would have to fix it and there was no time like the present. Back in the house she got a bucket and mixed detergent with warm water. She got a large sponge a soft washing mitt and a chamois. Back outside she pulled the hose from where it was coiled beneath the faucet and squirted down her beautiful car. She hoped it could be saved. Surprisingly, it cleaned up well and relatively easy, as there had been only enough wind to deposit a thin layer of dust followed by enough rain to make her car look dirty and nasty.
As she was polishing the last of the chrome she saw Mr. Peterson, from next door step out onto his porch to collect the paper. He wore light blue pajamas with darker blue piping and brown slippers. A steaming mug of coffee was clutched in his hand. She waved to him and he smiled.
“Hi, Mr. Peterson, pretty rough storm last night huh? I can help you with your clean up, if you’d like.” She said and pointed at his blue Thunderbird parked in front of his house. “Looks like your car got pretty dirty too. I hope your family’s OK.”
Mr. Peterson looked at her and shook his head ever so slightly, “Yes, yes – my family is fine; and thank you very much, Ms Lockerbie but I don’t think you need to clean my car. I’ll just take it to the car wash later this week.”
“OK, Mr. Peterson, I’ll put this equipment away then. I’m going to rake the leaves that came down in my yard next. I’ll be happy to rake your lawn at the same time.” She looked at him expectantly and waited.
“That would be wonderful Ms Lockerbie. I would appreciate that.”
“My pleasure, neighbors need to pull together after a rough storm like that one. I’m happy to help out. All for one and one for all you know.”