OUR EXPERIENCE WITH HURRICANE IVAN REMINDS ME OF THE TALE I READ MANY YEARS AGO AS A FOREWORD TO JOHN O’HARA’S BOOK “APPOINTMENT IN SAMARA”. THE TALE IS AS FOLLOWS:
A certain merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market to buy some provisions. A little while later, the servant returned looking white in the face. In a trembling voice he said, “Just now in the market place I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Mr. Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Please lend me your horse, because I want to go to Samara where Mr. Death will not be able to find me.”
The merchant agreed and lent the scared man his horse. The servant mounted the horse and rode away as fast as the animal could gallop. Later that day, the merchant went down to the market place and saw Mr. Death standing in the crowd. He approached him and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”
“That was not a threatening gesture,” said Mr. Death. “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara.”
ELLIE, CLEO (our cat) AND I DECIDED TO GET OUT OF IVAN’S WAY BY VISITING OUR DAUGHTER’S FAMILY IN CHRISTIANSBURG VIRGINIA. THE STORM MISSED DELAND BY HUNDREDS OF MILES BUT IVAN’S RAIN AND WINDS FOUND US IN SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA. OBVIOUSLY WE HAD AN APPOINTMENT IN CHRISTIANSBURG.