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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Hurricane Sandy Diaries, Or, How Do You Remove a Tree from a Roof? Martha Stewart Knows!

Photo of Seaside Heights roller coaster by Jack Fusco. His facebook page




Below are excerpts from emails and facebook posts I wrote during and after Hurricane Sandy's strike on New Jersey, my state. 

Paterson still has no power – at least where I live. No light, no heat, no way to cook. Our water is occasionally very dark brown. We have had bursts of hot water, a real blessing. I know others who have no water at all. Can't even flush their toilets.

I walked through intersections with no traffic lights and past downed trees entangled in live wires roped off by yellow tape and cops. I am now at the public library in Wayne. There is no bus on this route, and, in any case, many buses and trains in NJ are not running. The Wayne public library has power, though much of the rest of Wayne has none.

I live in Paterson, urban, Hispanic, African American, and Muslim. The median household income is $34,000. Wayne is 86% white. Median household income is $100,638. When I cross town borders on foot, I almost expect a border guard to stop me and ask for my papers.

I carried my computer the three miles here. Librarians had warned me, when I phoned, that their computers would probably all be taken by the time I got here. Wayne residents without power have flocked to the library to use its computers, to charge their own, to be in a heated and lighted room.

Hospital staff told me that during the radiation therapy I am receiving for cancer, I need to avoid exposure to germs and get plenty of rest. Hospital staff were correct. I am feverish. I am shaking all the time. I am exhausted just from shaking. While walking here I wanted to stop and nap every step of the way. The congestion is moving from my nose and throat to my chest. I'm so cold it's hard to sleep at night, no matter how tired I am. When I look in the mirror, I am frightened by the pale, shadowed and limp creature I see. Is this me forever or will I get any life back, any plumpness and pink, after the storm passes, meteorological or somatic?

Every seat is taken in this library. I had to walk around for about fifteen minutes before I found this spot on the floor.

Even so, you could hear a pin drop. People have furrowed brows and are hammering away at their keyboards. All typing the same words, I bet: "When will the power come back? Are you okay?"

I want to say thank you to people reading and responding here on facebook. I've had quite a year. Evacuated last year during Hurricane Irene when the Passaic River entered our building. Didn't know if I'd ever see any of my stuff again. Broken arm. Publishing "Save Send Delete" and getting no reviews from the "Christian" press. Cancer. Now Sandy. You can't imagine what dark places I am tempted to travel to. Wait – I know my facebook friends. I bet some of you can imagine the dark paces I am tempted to travel to.

I want to say thanks to people who have not offered unsolicited advice. I want to say thanks to people who have not tried to link our fate to Global Warming or any other political agenda. I need to spend one warm night again before I go back to fixing the rest of the world.

***

Went back to the library this afternoon. I'm home now.

I noticed a clump of library patrons in a corner near a window were black. Not black from Wayne, but black from Paterson. Older clothes. More worn looking. More ostentatious earrings and hairstyles. Some bodies much plumper, some much gaunter than the norm. Darker skins. Not suburban African Americans. Ghetto African Americans. "Ghetto" is now an adjective used to describe cities like the one I live in, and the people who live there, as in this sentence found on the web: "Paterson, NJ is one of the most ghetto cities in the United States."

I walked past them on my way to the ladies room. The library was crowded. There was no way to avoid physical contact. My sleeve brushed against a young, very dark skinned African American man in a wheelchair. His arms were folded against his chest. His hands flopped a bit, like seal flippers.

He looked up as I passed. "So," he asked me. "How are you weathering the storm?"

I breathed a sigh of relief.

I was a nurse's aide for many years. I worked with people who couldn't move, people who couldn't speak, people who needed me to feed them and change their diapers. I was okay with that. I'm okay with contact with people who have physical handicaps.

I don't do well with mental handicaps. If someone doesn't understand what I say, and can't respond to me with coherent speech, I feel uncomfortable. It's my failing.

So, I was relieved when this wheelchair-bound young man, so obviously physically handicapped, against whom I could not avoid brushing in this crowded library, said something coherent to me.

"Hi, thanks for asking. I've been better. How are you?" I asked him.

Before he could reply, a plump, dark skinned, African American woman stood up.

"I see you all the time," she said.

"Yeah?" I asked.

"Yeah. You're the woman who walks. We see you. That's what we call you, 'The Woman Who Walks.' I see you pass my apartment." She told me her address. I do walk past her apartment almost every day – it's one of the ones that's flush against the street. I have wondered what goes on behind its windows, so close to the heavy traffic. I've probably been inches away from her as she watched TV. This was the first time we were meeting.

"Is it a religious vow?" she asked.

"What?" I asked.

"You walking all the time."

"No, I just don't have a car," I said. "Can't afford it."

"No job?"

"I have a job. I teach in the college. That's where I'm going. I walk to work."

"And you can't afford a car?" she shook her head. "And you're a teacher. What is this world coming to?"

"Nothing good."

"I heard that." She shook her head. "You were sick for a while there," she said. "You were sick twice this year. Right? First back in winter. For a while there you didn't walk at all."

"I was in an accident," I said. "I broke my arm."

"Right, that's what I guessed," she said. "From the way you carried it. But you came out and walked as soon as you could. I admired that. It inspired me. And then in August. You were walking really slowly. I was worried about you. Thought you might be dying. But you have picked up speed since then. I guess you are not dying. I have prayed for you," she said. "Are you Christian?" she asked.

"Yes."

"Then you know. You know! 'For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!'"

I stood there, open mouthed, fighting back tears. She knew every word of that Bible verse, by heart. And she was delivering it, loudly, orchestrating it to steel me. I was humbled by her faith and her anonymous concern for me. I had no idea what to say.

"So, do you have power?" I asked.

"No," she said. "We're freezing."

I looked down at the boy in the wheelchair. Her son, I guessed. As soon as I start shivering in my cold apartment, I jump up and lift some weights, do some sit-ups, to bring some warmth back into my body. It was clear that this physically handicapped young man was not going to jump around to bring warmth back into his body.

"We took a cab here," she said. "It was expensive. Last money this month. But you gotta do what you gotta do. The Paterson library isn't open yet. No power. This building is heated. We're freezing," she said.

I nodded.

"Can you watch him for a minute?" she asked. "I need to use the restroom."

"Sure," I said.

The woman grabbed a bag that was tired to her son's wheelchair and left.

The young man in the wheelchair seemed to have trouble controlling the movement of his head. With difficulty, he turned toward me. I shimmied around in order to make it easier for him to see me. Our little corner of the library was very crowded.

"So," I said. "Isn't this something? We had Hurricane Irene last year. The Passaic River entered my building. And now this."

He gazed at me.

"Are you enjoying your time in the library?" I asked. "Have you found any good books to read? I guess a storm like this is the time to read those long novels you've been putting off reading."

His head swung to the left. That seemed hard for him to do. Or, maybe, his head was moving on its own. His head swung back.

"How are you weathering the storm?" he asked me.

"Ah, well…" I began. His head swung away.

His head swung back. "How are you weathering the storm?" he asked again.

I lightly touched his hand, folded against his chest. "Fine," I said. Fine."

I squatted down on the floor. Minutes passed. It began to feel like a long time. I looked at the young man's face. I felt alone and intimidated. I wanted to say something to him. I wondered how many people he'd talked to since the power went out. I usually see vans for handicapped people in our neighborhood. They pick people up in the morning, and bring them back in the afternoon. I imagined that they transported their handicapped passengers to publicly funded education, community, and entertainment for handicapped people. I had not seen any of the vans since the storm. This kid was probably lonely. The days without power or work or friends that were crushingly long for me probably lasted forever for him. I wanted him to feel less alone, but I had no idea what to say. I looked out the window. When would the Bible-savvy woman return?

I looked back at the young man.

And then I saw it. Life. Life as strong as a rushing river. (Cliché. Trying not to edit too much; I'm writing on battery power.) Life. Life as full of potential, as full of "in the next minute anything could happen," Life so precious, so different from not-life. A human face, so utterly different from a table or a chair or that very same face on a body that has passed over.

The young man was looking at something that made him look alive. I fell in love with him, a little bit, at that moment. I followed his eyes.

Wow. Her. Wow.

Now, see, without his eyes to italicize her, I never would have seen this young woman. Oh, I would have seen her the way you see a table or a chair. But not really *seen* her.

Tall. Slim as whip. Her long legs were like stems. Her body appeared to have suddenly burst forth from them, the way a flower bursts forth from a bud. Perfect. Flawless. This moment was the summer afternoon of her blossoming. What was she, fifteen, sixteen? She turned toward me for one moment. Sixteen going on seventeen. She was beautiful to me, yes. I had to resist the pull to stare at her. When this boy looked at her, though, her body exploded into elemental shapes and light whose movements produce audible music like Duchamp's' "Nude Descending a Staircase." She was his Eve, and he would be her Adam.

She saw me looking at her. "Hey," she said. She looked at him. "Hey, how's it going? Keeping warm?" And she kept walking.

He turned to me. "What do you think?"

"What do I think?" I asked.

"Do you think she likes me?"

"I – " I said.

"She lives in my building."

"Oh!" I said.

"I just don't know," he said. "She says hi to me in the morning. Just like she did right now. Do you think she likes me?"

"I – " I said.

"And when she says hi, I feel so, so!" he said.

"Oh," I said.

"What do you think I should say to her?"

"Um, I, I –" I said.

He went on. Her name is Shaneese. He sees her in the hallway every day. She smiles at him. When Shaneese smiles, the universe delivers its secrets. Birds sing. The heart beats with greater power. And the thing is, Shaneese doesn't have to try to make that happen. She couldn't make it not happen. She is a perfectly beautiful 16 going on 17 year old girl. Her smile to this young man hands him a hundred thousand tomorrows. Their love, their home, their children.

And, finally, "How are you weathering the storm?" he asked me. And then he repeated every last thing he had already said about Shaneese. "What do you think I should say to her?" he pleaded. He needed an answer *now.* I had to supply it, or I'd let him down.

"I – " I said, suddenly mentally handicapped, suddenly aphasic.

I hate God. God, what's your point? Why did you place this normal teen male heart into this floppy, harpooned-beached-seal body?

Shaneese will not love this boy. A man much more powerful and perfect loves her now, no doubt, and she and he will shortly begin new life with their perfect sperm and egg. And they will share the love, the home, the tomorrows, for which this wheelchair-bound boy hungers, but will never taste.

I wanted to hunt God down and assassinate him.

And I thought about paralysis. I can move, but have I moved? No matter where I go, I am always in the same location: on the outside, looking in. Like this boy, God has doomed me to weathering the storm alone.

Where's my government-issued van! I, too, am differently abled! I want a designated driver to pick us up, my people, us misfits, and transport us to government-sponsored, appropriate activities: screenings of forgotten Hollywood films, debates on how to respond to improper use of prepositions, handicrafts using items scavenged from dumpsters.

The woman came back from the restroom. She tied the bag back onto her son's wheelchair. I noticed that she was wearing different clothes than those she was wearing when she left, and she exuded a whiff of soap. Aha. No wonder she had taken so long. She had taken advantage of the heat and hot water to take a sponge bath and change clothes in the library ladies room. Why didn't I think of that?

"Thank you," she said.

"You're welcome," I said, and I moved on.

***

Jose, our super, has connected a string of ten light bulbs in the vestibule to a gas generator in the courtyard. Jose says he was on line for gas for four hours. He also has lights in his apartment. Some residents are jealous and tried to get the manager to make him give up the lights in his apartment. It's so conspicuous – the whole building is dark, and then the bright lights in Jose's windows, the bright shaft of light peeking out from the crack around his doorframe in the hall.

I am not jealous. I am grateful for the string of ten light bulbs in the vestibule. They serve no practical purpose. They serve a social purpose. Residents now linger in the lobby, and chat with each other, exchanging the day's gossip: Where can you buy food? Who is going crazy and can't take it anymore? When will the power come back?

Rumors continue to abound. Here are some I've heard:

Paterson doesn't have power because our Mayor, Jeff Jones, embezzled money after Hurricane Irene, so Gov. Christie is punishing him.

We don't have power because one wire failed and PSE&G is postponing repairs to that one wire.

We will get power in ten days ... in a week ... next month ...

"What's with the brown water?" a resident sharing the string of ten light bulbs calls out.

"Poop!" I yell.

Another resident says, "Don't say that."

I didn't drink the brown water. I did bathe in it. It was the only water to be had. It was warm for a while last night, but then it went cold. No hot water this morning.

Lying in bed too cold to sleep, get up in the dark, decide not to wash in cold water. I did this before, my last semester in grad school. Survived Indiana's worst winter without heat or hot water.

Back then I still had hope.

***

I've been living in this building for almost ten years. Have seen the residents in the vestibule, laundry room, etc. But there are apartment doors that remain forever closed. My next door neighbor, for example. Never saw that door open. Never. I knocked on it last year when a smoke alarm was going off somewhere and I was trying to locate it. No one answered the door. I sometimes play loud music. No one complains.

As we all stood in the vestibule, a very slim, thirty-something white man in baggy sweatpants and hoodie walked into the crowd – everyone else there was black, except me.

This white guy was so pale he practically glittered. I tried to make eye contact with him but his eyes just swum past me, into some lake of his own inspiration.

Never saw him speak to anyone. He appeared briefly, wafted through, and melted back into the darkness beyond Jose's string of light bulbs.

Boo Radley?

***

I am writing from the Salvation Army men's addiction treatment center. They have power. I'm recharging my computer.

Bruce, a resident, is my host. Handsome, obviously intelligent, well kempt. African American. Looks about fifteen years younger than he really is. Says he has used drugs and alcohol for thirty-six years. We chatted comfortably for over an hour.

If Bruce had been born to a comfortable WASP family, he would have been a college professor, or an MD, or an insurance salesman.

***

Went to Pakistani dollar store to buy more candles.

Pakistani dollar store cashier: "We can't hold the presidential election. New York and New Jersey are not ready. This is what we should do. The rest of the country can vote Tuesday, and New York and New Jersey can vote after that."

Me: "Okay. So, let's keep praying. You pray to Allah and I'll pray to Jesus."

PDCC: "Jesus is a Muslim prophet!"

Me: "Of course. Thank you for these candles!"

***

Walking to campus past the Halloween House. The house and all the decorations survived the storm without damage. Satan takes care of his own.

A very good looking Palestinian guy pulls over, offers me a ride. A former student, from years back.

"Hi!"

"Hello, my teacher."

He says his father is living in the cold and dark, too, but will stay there, because his mother has power, but his father and his mother don't get along.

Me? I'd put differences aside and move in.

***

I am obsessed with the physics of trees falling on houses.

On Pompton Road I saw a very large, uprooted tree laying athwart the roof of a very small house.

I'm bad at measurements. The house was the size of house a large elf might inhabit. The tree was the size of tree that a large elf would really not want falling on his house. How's that for an accurate measurement?

There is something utterly indecent about an uprooted tree. Seeing the working parts, the tendrils that suckle on the earth and in turn are fed upon, the roots that root – noun and verb and essence – flashed in your face.

Otherwise, the house appeared unscathed. The tree appeared unscathed. This was, perhaps, a polite encounter.

How much does a tree weigh?

And, Google, please don't tell me that it "depends on the kind of tree." What a coy answer. As if you knew and you were just waiting for me to provide the species. Screw you.

I'll tell you – a tree weighs *a lot.*

What does the impact itself do to the house? Are nails knocked loose? Does the house fall off its foundation?

And how do you get the tree off?

Given that I saw numerous trees on houses after Sandy, and those trees stayed exactly where they were for many days afterward, getting a tree off your house can't be an easy operation.

Where do you start sawing? If you do it wrong, would not the tree slide down off your roof, thus causing further damage?

Just googled "How to remove a tree from a roof" and – Martha Stewart to the rescue! She provides the answer on her blog.

Bradford pear trees are lovely in spring, but the trees have weak crotches and suffer in storms. 
The weak crotch of the Bradford pear equals storm damage to the trees. 

Bradford pears, while beautiful in spring, always fare badly during storms.

I expected the Bradford Pears to suffer during Hurricane Sandy.

But every species of tree suffered.

Again, I'm bad at numbers, but I guestimate that twenty percent of the trees in the areas where I walk regularly were destroyed. Not just Bradford pears, but forty-foot tall white pines, sturdy oaks, weeping willows that I thought would just sway with the wind, and not be chewed up by it, maples. Everything. Sawdust.

***

Buses started running again so I was able to make it to the Shop Rite.

The dairy section was empty. I'm guessing that the law mandates that after a given number of hours without refrigeration, supermarkets must throw their dairy products away. Me? I wish I'd been there. I am still eating cheese from the fridge that has not worked for days.

***

Mark Simone, a WABC talk radio host, the kind of guy who knows everything and everybody, says that Hurricane Sandy is being handled worse than Katrina, and the national press is not covering it to protect Obama. I have no idea if that is true.

Still no power. Please note: I live in NJ's third largest city, far from the coast.

***

No one *official* has done anything for us. No guidance. No announcements. No communication. The Salvation Army guys came by with sandwiches.

My neighbors – at least two people who live in wheelchairs. One totally incapacitated child in a wheelchair. At least one old man who has Alzheimer's. Walks up to strangers and mutters incomprehensible things. A young man with a walker who has cerebral palsy. At least three single mothers with lots of kids.

All in our building.

Across the street, a park for drug deals and deviants.

And NOBODY is doing anything for this population, not even giving us accurate information?

***

At first, we used our cell phones for light. Then candles. Then flashlights. Now residents are walking around the building looking like coal miners. They have hats with built-in flashlights. They are the new fashion one must envy.

I'll give it another day before I buy one.

***

Saw a hand-lettered sign in a neighbor's window. Cardboard, magic markers: "PSE&G! Ten Days! When?"

PSE&G: Public Service Electric and Gas

***

Ran into a neighbor last night, around sunset, in the street. Sunset has taken on a whole new meaning in public housing in a high crime neighborhood without power.

She is a single mom. Two kids, toddlers. She was dragging a wheeled suitcase. No car.

"My kids can't take it any more," She said.

"Where are you going?"

"To a hotel."

Okay, they will be warm and lit there, but they will be penned in and away from their toys and friends.

***

Fever is getting worse. Headache, nausea. While walking home from library yesterday, ran into Maria. I just said hi, nothing more. I let her move on.

I knew what I wanted, but I hate asking for favors. My little voice said, "DON'T BE AN IDIOT."

I ran back, tried to find Maria. Found her. "Listen," I said. "Our water is brown. I drank some of it and have a fever now. Don't know if the two are connected. I want to go to the A&P and buy water, but it's a three mile walk home, no bus on this route, and there is only so much I can carry in my backpack, with the computer and other household supplies in there already."

Maria waited for me in the parking lot. I bought five liters of water. She drove me home. God bless her.

***

I'm really hungry. I could eat. I won't. I'm so sick of eating cold food in the dark.

***

Painter Giovanna Cecchetti heard me griping in the vestibule about being too cold to sleep. She insisted I come up to her place and borrow some blankets. I resisted and resisted. Didn't want to borrow. She just kept insisting. I was no match for her. An Italian woman from New Jersey. Who can resist?

L-8 researcher Otto Gross bought me two flashlights: one battery operated, one crank operated. God bless him.

***

Anna Martinez got her power back yesterday. The food in my freezer is largely still frozen. I have my ways! I keep blocks of ice in there. They are keeping the freezer food cold. I'm a survivalist at heart.

Walked over to Anna's, my backpack full of my freezer food to store with Anna. She lives only a couple of miles from me, but it's a very bad part of Paterson: boarded up factories as far as you can see, men camped in rubble.

We met and embraced. I immediately saw something on the shelf in Anna's tiny apartment. It was really beautiful. I wanted it. I wanted it right then and there. I could already feel this object in my pocket. I was shocked at myself. How could I feel so covetous about something that belongs to my friend? And, worse than covetous. I wanted to steal this object! Just slip it into my pocket! I was shocked at my reaction!

Anna and I sat and chatted. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we even drew a couple of tarot cards. If nothing else, this power outage got me to kick back and spend time with a friend, which I haven't done in months.

When it was time to go, Anna said, "Wait, there is something I want to give you." And she reached – yes – for the very object I lusted after the minute I entered her apartment! It was a sky blue rosary. Sky blue is my favorite color.

There was a story behind it. Anna is a storyteller, as well as a visual artist.

Anna was at a bus stop. A fellow traveler was speaking judgmentally about a woman who had urinated in public. Anna listened to this woman but grew impatient. At first Anna was harsh in judging this judgmental woman, but they talked more. Anna came to understand her better. As their conversation drew to a close, the woman handed Anna one sky blue rosary. Then, after some moments, she handed Anna another, saying, "This is for someone else. You can give it to them."



It's been dark.

It's not just the darkening time of year. Hurricane Sandy was part of a massive storm system, and blue skies and sun have been rare around here. Clouds. Late dawns. Early evenings.

Yesterday I was teaching an afternoon class. Campus re-opened after a week without power. A good percentage of my students were absent. Snow was falling thick and the light was the dim light of dusk. I wanted to get home … realized … home meant a cold, dark room. Should I stay on campus, now lighted and heated? Nah, I'll chance it. If I waited, the snow might get deeper, travel more treacherous.

When I got back to Paterson, the light was even dimmer. About an inch of snow on the ground. And no light shone from our apartment windows. Our section of town, largely century-old, red brick textile mills, looked ghostly. OOOO well.

I quickly changed my clothes and unpacked my bags and packed myself into a wool vest, two down vests, and a jacket, and gobbled down some rice crackers and soybeans. By four it was too dark to function in the apartment. I put my brand new crank operated flashlight into my mouth, The one Otto gave me, grabbed a red pen and a pile of student papers and a sleeping bag and headed downstairs.

The vestibule was pitch black. For some reason the string of light bulbs was not lighted. A group of residents were standing around in their coats chatting, as if there were nothing unusual going on.

I wanted to get my students' papers graded so I mostly listened in rather than joining in the scuttlebutt. I plunked down on the floor, wrapped myself in the sleeping bag, shined the flashlight on the papers, and began grading.

Gossip. Rumors. Always reported as if the absolute truth. Often contradictory, so they can't all be true.

A woman said, "I actually saw a PSE&G guy."

(I have seen none. I've seen Verizon trucks, Optimum Wifi trucks, no PSE&G.)

"I actually saw a PSE&G guy. And you know what I said to him? The folks in the old folks' home, two streets down. They have had no light, no heat, for going on two weeks now. Forget about us. Take care of those poor old people!"

I was so touched. After almost two weeks without power, this woman was sincerely putting others first.

Another person: "PSE&G was here this morning! They were ready to get our power on in an hour! And then Governor Christie ordered them to stop!"

(Remember the previously reported rumor: the reason Paterson has been without power is because Mayor Jones misused funds after Hurricane Irene and Governor Christie wanted to punish him.)

Another person: "I just got an email from Mayor Jones. He is trying to get our power back."

Another person: "I spoke personally to a PSE&G man and he said that the damage has been too great and we won't get power back for another two weeks."

"The substation exploded. I saw it from my window. I thought it was lightning, or a fire. The damage is too great."

"The Red Cross was here earlier. They promised to come by tonight to bring us dinner."

I never saw the Red Cross, either. I was very excited by this announced dinner and decided to stay in the vestibule till the Red Cross arrived. They never did.

"They've brought in a generator. It's as big as a truck. So, tonight, at least we will have heat, but we won't have any light."

I wondered how this might be possible. Our heat is electric. How could the generator differentiate between one form of use and another?

Lights flickered on.

"Yeah, that's it. It's the generator."

Lights flickered off.

Lights flickered on.

The residents gathered in the vestibule just kept chatting. I admired that they were not allowing the flickering lights to interrupt their conversation.

I got up to investigate.

There was, indeed, a generator as big as a pick-up truck parked in the courtyard. I walked into my apartment. Switched on the kitchen light. But … they said that the generator would give heat and not light … I walked over to the window and watched snow fall thickly outside.

I AM WATCHING SNOW FALL OUTSIDE!!! And I am watching it by the light of a street light!

I ran downstairs. The group in the vestibule was still talking. The security guard was near the front door. I stood next to him. "That street light is on," I said.

"Yes," he said. "And the ATM is lit, also. The lights are back on."

A tall, thin, black man in what looked like a police jacket was walking towards us out of the snow and the night. "You folks have really been through it, haven't you? You've all been yelling at me a lot."

I recognized him. "I voted for you!" I said.

"I voted for you, too!" he said. He thrust his hand forward and we shook.

He met with the group in the vestibule. "I've been yelling at PSE&G on your behalf, he said.

"Will the lights stay on?" Dennis asked.

Mayor Jones lifted his hands and made a cross shape with his two index fingers. Fingers crossed.

***

Very special blessings to the Paterson Salvation Army men's addition treatment center that allowed me to charge my computer. Please send a donation to the Salvation Army:

Captain Brian Merchant
Salvation Army
31 Van Houten Street
Paterson, NJ 07505
(973) 742-1126

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