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Blizzard Warnings

February 26 , 2015  |  Cathy Finn

Blizzard warnings. Storm of the season. Prepare to be indoors for a few days. Stay safe and warm.

It was the talk of the town, the blizzard bearing down on Cape Cod. 

Duffy Health Center notified us early Monday morning that we would be closed Tuesday, and the staff was busy rescheduling patients whose appointments had to be cancelled, and getting those in need prescriptions and advice. As always, they rose to the challenge and were doing their best to make it easier for our patients to get through the weather emergency.

That morning I turned the corner into the Behavioral Health waiting room on the second floor and saw an old friend.

It’s someone that, if you travel around Hyannis, you would recognize. He’s a unique individual, the kind of guy who, shall I say, stands out in a crowd. He was sitting quietly in a chair waiting for his appointment with his therapist. I skidded to a stop.

“How are you doing?” I did the Case Manager Glance. He looked well feed, warmly dressed, had warm hat and gloves and his feet were warmly clad. He was in no immediate need. “Are you still living out?” Last summer he had decided shelter living wasn’t for him and the last thing I knew he was in the woods.  I was assuming that was still the case, as he was filling the waiting room with the aroma of wood smoke; always a dead giveaway.

“Yes.” He sat quietly, just looking at me. He has a gentle smile; he gave it away to me for a second.

“You know there’s a big snowstorm coming?”

“I heard that.” Again, he just sat quietly.

I started to fill him in on his options; no way was I going to let this man go into a blizzard unprepared.

“You can go to the (NOAH) shelter; they’ll make room for people tonight.” Silence. I could assume that wouldn’t happen.

“You can go to the Red Cross shelter they’re setting up at the Intermediate School.” That caught his interest. Maybe that was the answer for him. He asked me where it was, he wanted to know how he would get there. This was fairly early in the day so I didn’t have all the answers, so I sort of made them up. I wasn’t going to let this fish off the hook and see him go back into the woods.

“I bet you could hop on a CCRTA bus and they would get you there, I bet you could even get there for free”

“Yeah, I could do that.”

“Or maybe you could go to the police substation or the fire station and ask them how you could get there.” The police and rescue know this gentleman; I didn’t think there was any way those kind people would turn him away from getting to safe shelter.

“Ask the police?” He laughed.  “Gee, I never thought of them that way, helping me. Isn’t that funny?” For the first time he broke into the wide grin that I knew. The thought made him laugh.

There was little more to say, so I went on; all I could do was hope he would take my advice and find safety from the storm.

Did he? I don’t know; like so many little stories at the Duffy Health Center sometimes there is no way to get the end of the story, see if the little seed that was planted did any good. But I hope so; after all, that’s why we’re here, to plant those seeds in the winter storm, that hopefully will lead to a greener spring.