Wednesday, February 04, 2009

the great ice storm of 2009 (cont.)

day four

Dorothy was able to return to work on Friday. She was late going in because I had to jump the dead battery in her car. I had inadvertently left the parking lights on the night before. That was the second mistake I made. It took 2-1/2 hours to scrape the ice from my truck and move it into position close enough to connect the jumper cables (note to myself: buy longer jumper cables). There was still a lot of ice on the ground so we had to throw rock salt, twigs, and even dry cat food under the tires to get some traction.

The sun was shining so the trees soon began to drip and the ice lost its grip and fell to the ground in piles of frozen diamonds. I went into town to buy more kerosene, that precious commodity that stood between us and freezing. Some of our neighbors bought generators that could operate one or two appliances at a time. A generator large enough to operate our central heating unit would be prohibitively expensive so we kept relatively warm with the kerosene and the burners on the kitchen stove. We didn't miss the television. Sitting in the light of an oil lamp listening to a battery operated radio was rather nice for Dorothy and I. We reminisced about old times or just enjoyed each others company.

While I was out I learned that our neighbor, Mike Wolf, a volunteer fire fighter, was injured while patrolling the roads in a fire truck on the first day of the storm. A limb fell from a tree and into the window of the truck he was driving seriously injuring him. I went to the hospital to visit him. The people who are working to restore our power are true American heroes. Most of the fire fighters that cleared the roads of fallen trees are unpaid volunteers. Yet, they didn't hesitate to respond to the emergency at great risk to themselves. And the electric utility workers are working 14 hour days in overlapping shifts round the clock to repair the damage. Let's not forget the letter carriers who had to break an inch of ice off the mail boxes to deliver our utility bills. Neighbors are helping neighbors and sharing their resources to make sure everyone in the community is taken care of.

That night I went outside to retrieve a bottle of Foster's (for me) and a bottle of Merlot (for Dorothy) that I had buried in a pile of ice shards. A little stress relief for the old folks. I was startled by the blackness of the sky and multitude of bright stars. Without the impediment of light pollution I could see the sky as it actually is -- an incredible wonder. I have never seen that many stars. Like Charlie Brown once said, there must have been a hundred of them.


Steven said...

Thanks for all of your posts through this...

Lorna said...

You really have a knack for evoking pictures.