It was… honestly not a good day at the Rype & Readi Farm Market, and it had nothing to do with the current weather.
In all honesty, it wasn’t a good day for Saint Augustine in general; not because of any one specific event or occurrence that day, but rather because the city, as a whole, had undergone a very bad week.
Hurricane Irma had swept up along the Florida coast, and in its wake it had left a veritable swath of devastation. Many towns and cities had been struck by the natural disaster, and Saint Augustine was unfortunately another casualty on that list.
The devastation was evident in all aspects of the community: electric lines had been torn down, trees and tree branches had been flung every which way, and the signs of flooding were unmistakable to all.
Due to the widespread damage that had been wrought, many of the stores in the Saint Augustine area were forced to close their doors for some time so that they could repair whatever damages had been wrought… and on that list of closed establishments was the Farm Market.
While the workers went about their business of putting the Farm Market back in working order, the animals were all left with little to nothing to do. And given how traffic was practically non-existent due to all the debris, the animals were all given tentative leave to walk through the city’s streets, provided they neither left alone, nor did anything foolish.
Hence, we find Paprika and Drake slowly making their way through the streets of the Nation’s Oldest City, picking out a safe path through the scattered debris.
“Well now…” Drake whistled in awe as he and Paprika slowly rounded a downed tree, the duck taking in the (now inactive) power line the tree had taken with it. “This is certainly quite something. I’ve… honestly never seen devastation like this before.”
Drake blinked at his compatriot in surprise. “Truly? When?”
Paprika clucked despondently, walking along a particularly large tree branch. “Hurricane Mathew.”
Drake winced in recognition. “Ah… yes, I suppose that does-”
“The last time a hurricane hit, Farmer Seb was able to buy the Farm Market’s site and actually open it,” Paprika continued solemnly. “And now yet another hurricane hits at roughly the same time the last one did…”
Drake’s eyes widened in realization. “You’re not honestly suggesting that-?”
“I… I don’t know…” Paprika hedged with an uncomfortable sigh as she shook her head. “I’m just… I’m just worried. We have a good thing here, and I’d hate if it closed, but… well, we’re animals. What can we do to change it?”
Drake clamped his beak shut uncertainly for a few minutes… but finally he nodded with finality. “I’m… sorry to say that I don’t have the perfect answer for you, but I do have a piece of advice, if you’re willing to hear it.”
Paprika glanced at her fellow fowl. “And that advice would be…?”
Drake looked forwards and strutted on with pride. “A phrase oft bandied about back in good old England, when matters were at their direst and all who resided there were devoid of both answers and options. The only option available to us, in these most dire of times…”
He grinned with firm confidence and rested a wing on his friend’s shoulder.
“Is to Keep Calm,” Drake said softly. “And Carry On.”
Paprika paused, contemplating the phrase for a few moments… before slowly offering up a soft smile of her own. “Always a light at the end of the tunnel, huh?”
“That’s the ticket!” Drake swung his wing with a confident nod. “Now, shall we continue our walk, and perhaps see if we can be of aid to anyone?”
The chicken nodded contentedly, and slowly trotted forwards. “Let’s.”
Author’s Note – The best wishes of the Rype & Readi family go out to all those affected by Hurricane Irma, and we pray for the safety of everyone whose lives were touched by this disaster. Stay warm, stay safe, never give up, and thank you for taking the time to read this.
Sincerely, Baxter Balick, Author of Bit’s and Bite’s, and all of us working at Rype & Readi