She ate pimento cheese.
When she was younger, the family raved over her homemade pimento cheese. But at age 85, her hands couldn't work the mixer; her fingers were stiff from arthritis. So she ate store-bought pimento cheese.
No matter. She still ate pimento cheese every day for lunch. That's what was important.
The wind moaned outside. She gazed out the window, but didn't see any black clouds, so she didn't think much of it. She had been outside earlier, to look at the ivy creeping toward the bedroom end of the house. "Gotta get that taken care of." She put down the knife and scribbled a note to herself, then went back to making her sandwich.
With one piece of bread covered with the cheesy spread, she paused for a sip of coffee. "Ick. Cold." She reached for the coffee pot, and was just about to refresh her cup, when...
The rumble startled her. "What was that?" The room suddenly looked darker than before, so she walked to the hallway and dialed her neighbor's house.
"Gerry? Something just happened over here, but I don't know what."
Walking back into the kitchen, she didn't notice the leaves and branches totally covering the sliding glass doors that led from the dining room to the deck out back. Her mind was focused on fixing and eating her sandwich.
"She's in there! She's in there! Somebody get her out! Quick!" Gerry stood on her porch, pointing at the terrifying site before her. The gnarled mess of limbs and leaves was so thick, the entire end of Joyce's house could not be seen.
"I saw it fall! Oh my gosh, that was powerful!" Steve ran across the street from his porch to Joyce's house, meeting his neighbor Dan at the mailbox.
Dan quickly scanned the situation. "I don't see a way to get in! The tree's got the front door blocked!"
"Oh, Dan, this is bad. This is SO bad..." Steve looked up the street and saw more neighbors running toward the scene.
"Steve, run home and call 911! Hurry!" Steve bolted for his house, as Dan started down the driveway.
"Dan! She's in there! I just spoke to her! Please, get her out! I can't leave my house, I've got kids here!"
"Gerry, it's okay! I'll find a way in! Calm down!" Dan peeked through the branches. Can't get in through the basement, I don't think. Maybe the deck? Making his way to the back yard via Gerry's driveway, he intercepted two more neighbors who had come to help. "Barbara, be on the lookout for ambulances and fire trucks. Steve's called 911. Rhonda, you can help, too." As they ran up the drive, Dan called out, "Tell them she's elderly! We don't know if she's injured or not!"
The paramedics arrived and jumped from their vehicle. Dan met them halfway up the drive.
"It's no use. The deck doors and front door are blocked. There's a basement door, but it's under all that mess."
"It's all right, sir. We'll take it from here." The paramedic motioned to his partner to follow his lead. "What do you think, George? Basement door?"
"Yep. Maybe we can worm our way under the branches to get to it."
Meanwhile, Joyce had heard the shouts and then the sirens and wondered what the commotion was about. Looking up from the counter, her eyes locked on the dining room window. Why is the pecan tree covering up that window? She gazed at it, confused. Does the pecan tree come over that far? I don't remember...
The basement door swung open, and two men appeared at the kitchen doorway. "Ma'am, we need to go," the paramedic reached for Joyce's hand, but she didn't move.
"Who are you??"
"Ma'am, a tree has fallen on your house, and we need to get you out of here."
"What?? A tree?!?"
"A whole tree??"
George smiled. "Yes, a large oak tree. Now, we really need to get you out of here."
"Oh... alright..." Joyce slowly stepped toward the paramedic, not really grasping what was going on. "Oh, wait." She turned back toward the counter. "Can't forget this."
George couldn't help but chuckle this time. "No, ma'am. I guess we'd better not forget that." He then took her free hand, and helped her down the steps, making sure that she didn't drop the rest of her pimento cheese sandwich.
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