I had planned on August being my favorite month this year. How could it not be — the month started with seven-days at the beach, the middle of the month brought the youngest Burton’s birthday and we were to end the month with a roadtrip to Baltimore to watch our beloved New York Yankees in a double header against the Orioles.08-31-11-publishers\'-notes.jpg

Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as planned.

Oh, I went to the beach, and the fi rst four days were all that I had hoped for. I spent most of those days with my toes in the sand or in the water; not a telephone or computer in sight. I did plow through a number of books — about 10 — and basked in the joy of doing nothing but being with my family.

Day five altered things dramatically. I decided to spend the day on the water with my husband and son on the boat — they had been fi shing most of the week on the Intracoastal Waterway. The morning was beautiful — not a cloud in the sky. It was shaping up to be a perfect day until a big yacht with an irresponsible driver put a dent into it.

Suffice it to say, we ended the day in an urgent care, and for about eight weeks, I am sporting a hot-pink cast as a result of a broken right wrist.

I’ve learned a lot about how the body adapts when you lose the use of a limb. I am now a pretty quick one-hand typist. I can write with my left hand. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done.I’ve also learned to depend a little more on other people — something I’m not very good at. In leaning a little on others, I’ve been blessed to see the remarkable kindness in those I know — and complete strangers, too.

And while this break is causing me some challenges, it is only temporary. That is not the case with many in our society who have lost limbs in war. Their challenges are immense and they are long-lasting. Thinking of them helps me put my frustrations in perspective.

The week of the youngest Burtons’ birthday was challenging. I spent the week at Camp Mackall watching the immense organization of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School optimize to run efficiently. The whole command was charged with finding ways to do things more efficiently and to put people and resources where they would provide the most bang for the buck. This was led from the bottom up. The staff got together and found ways to do things better.

Wouldn’t it be great if they did that in Washington? Let’s just say they brought in common sense people like you and me and actually listened to what we said. I’m pretty sure I could fi nd several trillon in savings, and no one would even feel the loss.

Couldn’t you?

Earlier this week, quite a few of us got our first taste of an earthquake. Most of us didn’t like it. I watched as west coast citizens mocked the response to the earthquake by their east coast neighbors. What is commonplace to them isn’t quite so common here. Let’s see them stand up to a Carolina summer and then see who complains.

As school began on Thursday, I wonder if our county’s teachers saw the earthquake and the approaching storms as omens of the year to come. I wish them smooth sailing.

As I write this column, I should be packing for my roadtrip. Instead, I’m watching the news like countless others along the east coast wondering what damage Irene will really bring.

In the interest of safety, we have elected not to go to Baltimore for the ballgame. Even though we are diehard Yankee fans, it’s just not worth putting ourselves in harm’s way.

We will lose some money by not going, but it’s a pittance compared to what the overall loss will be once Irene stomps up the coast. Experts are expecting great losses to property and are expecting losses in lives as well. Hopefully, people will take the warnings to heart and seek shelter in a safe place. But as we have seen in past storms, there will be those who don’t listen, and who will pay the price.

As for the Burtons, we plan to ride out this rainy, windy weekend in the comfort of our home.

It’s been a wild, wild month — September is looking pretty good.

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