When I returned to Tennessee in mid October I was disappointed that my absentee ballot had not been in my P.O. Box in Georgia. Back in Nashville it was sunny and warm. I was surprised when I moved my big garbage bin to find some bright flowers behind it. I was not sure what type they were but after some research found out they are called Spider Lily. I had never seen them before against the wall behind the bin. They were not in a nice area, I wonder if I could move them and when?
From my kitchen window I looked toward the backyard to see if there were more flowers, but no, just flowering weeds. But as I looked I saw a strange bird at a distance. It was medium in size but seemed different somehow. I kept watching it and it flew to my neighbor's tree. Then it landed and climbed up the tree - it was a squirrel. I had heard of flying squirrels but never seen one before. I found out that they are called Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomy volans) and are common in Tennessee. They do not have wings but "patagium." The patagium is an extended fold of skin from the wrist to the ankle that enables them to glide rather than fly. They are usually nocturnal. Another visitor to the backyard is an albino or white squirrel. Kenton, a small city in Tennessee west of Nashville toward Kentucky, is home to a large population of albino or white squirrels, and so much so that they have a yearly White Squirrel Festival in July. There is also a winery in the area that adopted the white squirrel name.
Belmont University is about 1/2 mile from my house. Actually my house is equidistant between Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities. I read that Belmont U had applied to host the debates back in 2018. It was chosen out of six finalists that included the University of Michigan and University of Notre Dame. The Belmont mansion was built in 1853. It later became Belmont University. I had planned to visit the mansion on Belmont but now will have to wait. When I can go back there I'll take more pictures and have a post on its history. Belmont Mansion is shown on top left below.
Several days later it was time to drive back to Georgia to see if my ballot had arrived. I left Nashville early last Wednesday October 28th. It was raining during the whole trip. Around the mountains the fog was so thick and rain so heavy that I could hardly see where I was driving. I decided to follow a slow moving large fuel truck as it had numerous bright red tail lights; at time though I could hardly see them. I followed it for at least a good hour, hoping it would not get off an exit to a small Tennessee hill town as I would have followed it there. By the time I reached my usual traveler rest stop the fog had subsided somewhat. I ate my lunch snack in the car as it was still raining. Behind the trees the lake looked sombre.
Reaching my house in Greater Atlanta by 3:00 pm I hurriedly unpacked the car so I could hasten to the post office. Unfortunately my absentee ballot was not in my P. O. Box, still. It had been mailed on September 18 and here we were October 28 or almost 6 weeks later, and it had not been delivered yet. I drove then to the Voter Registration Office. I had to fill an affidavit that I had not received my absentee ballot, and had to fill another authorization form to obtain an early voting ballot. Then I could join the about 100 people waiting in line to vote. Luckily in Georgia if you are an elder you can go to the front of the line ... so I did. Finally I was able to vote after driving twice to Georgia, or 1000 miles. I went home happy and ready to relax (not knowing that I would not ...) The top photo is an earlier one from days ago when voters had to stand for hours, even in the parking lot. The bottom photo shows the way it was last Wednesday.
Wednesday evening I was looking forward to go and relax in bed with a good British mystery, which I did until midnight. Then at about 4:00 am I was suddenly awaken by a loud noise. I guess heavy branches were falling on the roof. Debris was constantly hurled against the windows and walls. The house was creaking and almost shaking. But the worse was the wind. It was not a wind but a violent storm unlike one I had ever heard. It was howling as heard in some action films, with everything flying around. It lasted a good two hours, and it was frightful, indeed. The next morning I had no television, no Wi-Fi or internet. They came back on at 8:00 pm that evening. Later I found out that Hurricane Zeta now a Post-tropical cyclone had crossed through Georgia with wind gusts up to 75 miles per hour for more than two hours along with sustained winds of 40 mph for five hours straight. Below is a view of the weather program I never saw because I had no TV access.
Millions were without power. Habersham County, north of us, had 498 down trees, 249 of them were on the roadways and the other 249 were embedded within power lines. Marietta City had advised people not to drive, but since I had no television or internet I was unaware of this and did drive to Toyota to get my car serviced. First I had to move large branches out of the driveway. I was surprised to see few motorists. The traffic lights were not working and the roads and sidewalks looked like they had been mulched with pine straw and leaves. My Toyota associate told me that he had lost 8 large pine tres in his backyard. His little street in his subdivision had lost 27 trees. He was from Kansas and told me he had lived through many tornadoes there but never heard a wind as violent as this sub-tropical cyclone. Three miles away, in Acworth, a man had been killed. It seems I find myself often in Georgia when there is inclement and dangerous weather condition.
By the time my car was ready it was still a bit windy but the weather had improved considerably and the sunset was lovely.
It is still sunny and a bit cooler today but safer for kids to go trick or treating tonight. It will not be a usual Halloween though with the coronavirus hovering over us.
This Halloween night will be lighted by a full moon, and a rare blue moon at that. There has not been a full moon on Halloween night since 1944!
Now for the sake of cultural diversity, I offer below various spooky skeleton specimen from all walks of life.