Lime green bananas


By now, Hurricane Irma has dumped a deluge of rain on our fair county, filling our creeks and overflowing lakes. Or not.

The deadline for this story was six days ago so the Category 5 hurricane then was still spinning around in the Atlantic. It’s about to hit Cuba, making those high priced cigars even more so. Our thoughts go out to all who are still recovering from the storm of the century. But before the next one hits our fair town, thoughts to some serious preparations are in order. To help out with yours, here are some of The Wife’s and mine.

Even before the first raindrop fell, The Wife and I were franticly driving all around town buying the necessary provisions to sustain a family of six, along with a couple of little furry faces, for a week.

On the first visit to the grocery store, we bought water — lots and lots of water. Gallons jugs were piled on the floorboard and backseats. Cases of bottled water filled the hatchback of the SUV up to the roof. We even strapped six cases to the luggage rack. We were not going to run out of water, which meant my excuse for not shaving for a week wasn’t going to hold … uh … water.

On our second trip to the grocery store, a weeks’ worth of cat food and litter, two watermelons, six cantaloupes, a bag each of red and green apples, seven yellow pears, and two bunches of lime green bananas quickly filled up our shopping cart.

Why lime green bananas? Once, a long, long time ago on an old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo, my mom bought perfectly ripe yellow bananas. During the five-mile drive from the grocery store back home, those bananas went from perfectly ripe to perfectly rotten.

Okay, maybe not that fast, but by the next day, they were all starting to turn brown and black. Trust me, black bananas aren’t good for anything except smashing on top of your brother’s head.

On our third trip in three days to the store, The Wife and I bought 16 cans of soup, three gallons of milk, two loaves of white bread and enough batteries for 10 flashlights.

I remember while growing up on Flamingo, threatening weather meant Mom bought milk and bread. It also meant Dad bought some emergency supplies of his own, like toilet paper and charcoal for the grill. Don’t actually know how anyone can cook on a grill during a hurricane, but since we have a gas grill, we stopped off at the local gas station for two canisters of propane and also filled up our cars.

The next day we made our final trip to the grocery store and bought the most important items. After a quick search of the house, we couldn’t find any flashlights, so we bought four along with some lime green bananas. The other ones ripened really fast and were starting to turn brownish black.

I also filled two coolers with dry ice. If the power went out, we’d have a way to keep all the food cold. If it didn’t, then I’d add a little water and scary white clouds will cover our front yard. Never too soon to work on those eerie yard decorations for Halloween.

As The Wife went down the candy aisle, I made my way to the adult beverages. She came back with bags full of expensive dark chocolate. I came back with two bottles of something pink with bubbles and was greeted with a smile of approval. The last items we bought were puzzles and board games for the kids to keep them from getting bored. If the storm rages outside they could be pent up inside for days.

Food, water, pink adult beverage with bubbles, chocolate, toilet paper, games for the kids and lime green bananas: these essential survival items should get us through the worst of the storm.

And if it completely misses us and not a single drop of rain falls on our fair county, then I’m sure none of them will go to waste, even if the lime green bananas turn black overnight.

I’ll just have to invite Big Brother James over. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind a few smashed over his head for old times’ sake.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog:]