Did I feel the big East Coast Earthquake of 2011? I’m not sure.
My dad, a niece, a nephew and I were picking green beans. A lot of green beans. You know those reusable groceries bags? We filled six. I would pick for a while, and then I’d have to stand up because my legs were killing me. I’d try to work the knots out of my legs, then I’d go back and pick some more. At one point I was taking a break in the Gator (basically, a four wheeler with a small bed) drinking some water, when I felt it rocking. The rocking was strong enough that I knew it was the Gator moving, but it wasn’t much stronger than the “am I just going wobbly” feeling from … sun stroke or something. Anyway, I was about to jokingly ask if there had just been an earthquake when I looked down and saw that our dog was lying in the shade under the Gator panting. I figured, Oh, he’s just rubbing the Gator, that’s why it’s rocking. I went back to picking beans.
Thirty or forty minutes later, my mom, my niece, my nephew and I were surrounded by bags of beans and pans as we prepared them for canning. The phone rang. My mom said that instead of everybody having to move to get to the phone, we’d just let the answering machine get it. So the answering machine picks up and it’s my sister (and mother to that niece and nephew) asking if we had felt the earthquake. I figured she had to be joking. But a few hours later – after the final bean had been cut – I turned on the news and heard them talking about the East Coast Earthquake.
Now part of me – born in my testosterone filled adolescence, but since taken over by the writer in me – would like to live through a tornado or be a bystander at a shootout or something, just for the experience. Living through an earthquake was on that list as well, but if that was the earthquake I felt rocking the Gator, I’ll have to revise it to living through an earthquake I wouldn’t mistake for a panting dog.