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Goodbye Sandy

By David Collins

Publication: The Day

Published October 31. 2012 4:00AM

On a Sandy reconnaissance Monday night, with the hurricane at its peak, I spotted, from a distance, big waves pummeling the tip of Stonington's Latimer Point.

OK, I thought, those little houses on the end of the point are done for.

Nasty, ocean-sized, white-topped waves were rolling down Fishers Island Sound, fueled by all that howling wind, sending up big spirals of white water as they hit Latimer Point, arcs of spray two to three times as tall as any of the buildings there.

There was no way to drive out for a look, since the entrance to the road to the point was underwater.

And so I was relieved Tuesday morning, when I finally could head out there, to encounter Nancy Wilcox, a resident of one of the Latimer houses, assessing a thick new layer of sand across her road.

Yes, they had decided to weather the storm at home, a decision they questioned a bit, she admitted, when the first big waves began to shoot up off the rocks in front. But in the end, she said, most houses at Latimer fared OK. One lost a lot of roof.

My conversation with Nancy Wilcox made me think of one of the truisms of storms at sea: It has to end sometime, whether you end up afloat or not.

Indeed, I was reminded of some other old storm truisms, and some new ones, as I surveyed the Sandy aftermath Tuesday.

Here are a few:

• If you own a coffee shop, open up the morning after a hurricane, especially when most people still don't have power. It could be your best day of business ever.

A woman behind the counter at Wide World of Bagels in Mystic told me Tuesday morning the shop never loses power, even when everyone around them does.

The long line beginning to form at the door Tuesday seemed testament to this post-storm tradition.

• High tides always fall.

• Generator envy is an ugly thing. Try to focus on the insensitive noise pollution your neighbors are creating.

• Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy won't let a hurricane stop them from harassing Connecticut voters. It was only when the power went out that the dueling Senate campaign television ads, punctuating storm coverage, blessedly came to an end.

• Apparently, it takes a storm landfall in New Jersey to make Gov. Chris Christie say nice things about President Obama. Christie, after talking to the president three times about response to the storm, concluded in a national television interview Tuesday morning: "He deserves great credit."

Wow. And I thought the rarest Sandy-related encounter for me would be seeing waves crashing over buildings.

• Storms always look worse before they arrive, no matter how big or destructive they may turn out to be.

I wonder if Gov. Malloy questions what he said Monday about an approaching Sandy:

"I'm not going to mince words," the governor said. "This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes."

That seemed like a bit of bloated rhetoric when I first read it. I know it was meant to warn people to seek safety.

But I might still come to agree with the governor, if my power doesn't come on today.

This is the opinion of David Collins

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