It was the last day of school before Christmas break, 2013. Our school staff Christmas party was Friday night, and we had a blast, knowing we wouldn’t be back for two weeks.
Weather forecasters were telling us an ice storm was coming. Yeah, right. It’s going to be bad, they said. Yeah right. Get those generators ready, they said. Be sure not to run them in your house, they said. Whatever.
Saturday morning it started raining. By noon it was freezing. I went to the store to get salt. There was a new generator for sale at the hardware. I looked at it and said out loud, “I wouldn’t even know what to do with it if I bought it.” I purchased salt and went home.
At eight o’clock that night, the power went off, and did not come back on for eight days.
I brought the kerosene heater in the house, and we used it to heat the tea kettle. Everything we ate was cold.
It was eerie driving through town at night and not being able to tell where we were. I couldn’t remember ever seeing darkness like that before.
When Christmas Day came, we were still without power. Our family gathered at my sister’s house because she had a gas stove and fireplace.
We had plans to leave for Florida on December 26th, and even though we still had no power, we decided to go anyway. Our son-in-law went to our house and ran the kerosene heater for a couple hours each day to keep the pipes from freezing. We were in sunny Florida for two days before the power was finally restored at home.
Within a short time, we had the house wired for a generator. As I thought would probably happen, we used the generator once or twice for a few hours over the next four years. We moved to a new house a few years later, and the first thing we did was to have the house wired for a generator.
Fast forward nine years. December 2022. The grass wasn’t green, but it wasn’t covered with snow, either. Christmas is just a few days away. I heard rumors there was a storm coming and we would have a white Christmas. Yeah, right. The storm is huge! There’s going to be power outages! Blizzard conditions will cover half the country! Michigan is going to be pounded! Look out, here it comes, they said. Yeah right.
It may not be 1978, or 1967, or even 1919, but the wind is blowing hard and at times, it’s difficult to see across the street. At eleven o’clock this morning, the lights went out. We were in the middle of making chocolate chip cookies. We waited an hour to see if the power would come back on.
I decided it was time to hook up the generator. I first had to plow a drift away from the garage door. I pulled the generator through the snow around to the back of the house and fired it up. What a miracle! It powers the whole house, and we baked our cookies like nothing happened.
A few hours later, the power came back on, thanks to a huge number of dedicated, hard-working, family-leaving, fearless, tireless line workers who aren’t afraid of heights, wind, or snow.
As for Blizzardus Maximus 2022, I’m not going to stop making fun of some of the weather talkers standing out in the blowing snow with their microphones and rulers.
“We’re here near the intersection of 12th and Main, and you can see the snow falling right down! It’s coming down and landing all around us! You can see the cars behind me are driving very slowly, due to the snow falling! Now, I’ll walk right over here, and I’ll put this ruler down through the snow, you can see right here! Seven inches of snow! Now, right here, you can see it, as the snow continues to fall right down, seven inches! Now, it’s very important, if you’re going to be out, drive safely! Take your time! Remember, it’s snowing! You can see right behind me, it’s snowing, and it continues to fall. But for now, we’re here, watching the snow fall right down. This is Jacque Tirskidoy for WREK, back to you in the studio!”
Stay warm everyone.