A Theo-Cane

The wind howled and growled. Moaned and groaned. Shouted and pouted. Talk about a strong wind.

Hurricane Ida was upon us. Out here in Central Pennsylvania. You thought they got it bad in Louisiana? You should see my backyard in Pennsylvania Furnace.

Branches scattered around the yard. Severed limbs. I’m writing about trees. Not arms and legs, you sicko.

Worst of all? An enormous branch had finally collapsed. The tree split, and a bough that had been dangling for a month came down in the middle of the yard.

The word bough is poetic.

“What happened out there, Dad?” Samson asked. We were standing in our sunroom, surveying the damage.

“That, my son, is what happens during a Theo-Cane.”

Samson’s eyes got wide.


My sons Solomon and Samson were mesmerized by footage of Hurricane Ida. Their eyes were fixed on the TV when it hit the Gulf Coast. They asked question after question about hurricanes.

“How fast does the wind blow?”

“What is the eye of a hurricane?”

“What is the difference between a tornado and a hurricane?”

And so forth.

I’m not much of a meteorologist. And Katie is better at answering questions like this than I am. She’s an elementary teacher through and through.

I was able to address this question from Samson:

“Do we get hurricanes in Pennsylvania?”

“No,” I said very seriously. “But we do get Theo-canes.”

Theo is the name of our orange cat.

Samson looked at me suspiciously.

“What’s a Theo-Cane?”

“That’s when hundred of Theo’s fall out of the sky and fly around scratching everything.”

Samson’s eyes got wide. Then he did what he always does when I say something that a sane person might describe as insane. He turned to his mother.

“Is that true, Mom?”

“No, Samson. Daddy’s just joking.”

I looked Samson in the eye.

“Am I?”

Samson shuddered.


I’m no good with a chainsaw. So I’ll need to make some calls. Get some help removing the debris from my backyard. The bough.

It’s a forest back there. And many of the trees have grown too big for their own good. I’d have them all cut down, but I don’t have a spare $100,000 sitting around.

I did schedule an appointment for an arborist to come out and do some trimming. Arborist is a fun word. The arborist gave me a quote that was reasonable. We set up a date in June. He hasn’t made it out yet. Reasonable rates. Unreasonable follow-through.

So I guess I’m waiting for one of the monsters back there to come down on the house. So insurance can cover the tree removal. And maybe replace my roof. Get a new window or two out of the deal. I don’t know. I’m always on a budget, baby. And tree removal pushes the needle in the wrong way.

Samson eventually figured out that, in fact, a Theo-Cane hadn’t come through our backyard. Just a residual rainstorm from a hurricane that slammed the Gulf Coast. A rainstorm that broke my bough.

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