When this guy comes to town, you know shit’s gonna get real.
True story: while I was still living in North Carolina, we were keeping an eye on a hurricane out in the Atlantic. When it approached the coast, Jim Cantore was dispatched to none other than my home town. The poor guy got off the plane and was promptly booed at the airport. I’m not kidding.
It looks like New Bern got the worst of Florence. It made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, but it was only a category one storm. The main concern now is flooding, as Florence seems to be trying to stall out over the coast. It’s already dropped a lot of rain in the area; getting more will only exacerbate the problem. There are a lot of people without electricity and quite a few in New Bern had to be evacuated. So if you’re in that area and you’re reading this but need to get out, stay where you are. There are rescue teams out and they will get to you. Don’t risk your life trying to leave on your own.
File this under “Things I Didn’t Know Existed”: Pepsi has a diet version of Wild Cherry Pepsi. And the stuff is damn tasty. Why was I not told?!
Another thing that I didn’t know existed was Chef Boyardee throwback recipes. There are three of them: Beefaroni, Lasagna, and Ravioli. I just had the Lasagna and it tasted exactly as I remembered it. I’m not kidding; the original recipe Lasagna had a very richly flavored sauce that was a step above the other Chef Boyardee meat sauces. When I had this as a kid, it felt like a special occasion. The Lasagna ranked as number two on my list of Chef Boyardee favorites. (Number one was the Spaghetti and Meatballs, natch.) But in the Nineties, ConAgra foods changed the recipe, switching over to a chunky, but extremely bland, tomato sauce. I’ll never forget it: I managed two bites out of that particular bowl then gave the rest to the dog. I was severely disappointed. So if you’re like me and want to relive your childhood, look for the Chef Boyardee cans with a yellow label. They’ll run you anywhere from 50¢ to 80¢ more than the regular pasta, but they are worth it. Now if only Chef Boyardee will make a throwback Spaghetti and Meatballs, my life will be complete.
Canned pasta during a hurricane. That was a bit of a thing in my youth. I can remember having dinner at my great-grandmother’s apartment when we were riding out Gloria and having a bowl of Smurf pasta. It’s amazing the things that could keep you calm as a kid. A bowl of hot pasta and I didn’t feel quite so worried.
I remember that hurricane well; Gloria looked bad and my parents said there was no way we could stay in our trailer. So we had to pack up and leave. I can remember having to decide which plush animals I wanted to take, as I couldn’t take them all. The lucky ones were stuffed into an old bag–I didn’t have any real luggage other than an ancient purse my mother had used–while I said goodbye to the others. We had to leave my cat behind. That screwed me up in ways I can’t even begin to describe. (The cat lived, as Gloria only really skirted the coast. However, when we dealt with Hugo years later, we had a sturdy house and I insisted that my cats stay inside during the storm. I refused to take any more chances. I’m not sure they appreciated it, though.)
I no longer have to worry about hurricanes. If we get anything in Wisconsin, it’s little more than a weakened low pressure system. Sure, we deal with snow, but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as the hurricanes back home. I’ll take the snow over a category four hurricane any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
I wouldn’t mind a hot bowl of Smurf pasta, though. I rather miss that.