There are some things that I’ll probably never forget. Even if some day I cannot remember my name, I think I’ll always remember the ice storm in Louisiana in January, 1997. There was no ice in our forecast. Heck, we rarely even got temperatures there below freezing. I went to bed and it was probably about 11 p.m. When I looked at the weather, it was 31 and had just started to drizzle. I remember thinking . . the bridges may have ice on them tomorrow and I have to get Chad to school and myself to work but I went to bed. I had gone to sleep but I don’t know what time it was when I was awakened by the sounds of branches splitting off the trees and crashing to the ground. Within minutes, our electricity was off. Within what seemed like just a few more minutes, it was freezing in the house. I got up and put more blankets and quilts on Chad’s bed. I put socks on and threw a few more quilts on my bed and tried to go back to sleep but I was cold and the sounds outside were making me wonder if there was significant damage being done to power lines in the area or, hopefully, just in our neighborhood.
Early the next morning my parents called. They had a fireplace and said Chad and I could come to their house but the bridges were all closed and we couldn’t get to mom and dad’s without crossing a bridge. Chad had just turned 9. With no TV and no video games . . life was getting tougher by the minute. Finally, by mid afternoon, it had warmed up enough that the small bridges were open so we went to mom and dad’s. My power stayed off for 7 days. I think mom and dad’s was off a day or two longer.
Chad and one of my nephews were wild kids and ran into each other and bonked heads. Chad had a huge knot on his head. One of their neighbors was a doctor so he came over to look at Chad. He had me put the headlights on and he examined Chad’s head by the car headlights. He survived. The neighbors all cleaned out the freezers and we had a neighborhood BBS most every night. One mom knew how to make a solar oven so anyone who had brownie mix in their cabinet brought it to Karen and she made several batches of brownies that day. It actually ended up being a fun time . . but not so much fun that I’d ever want to do it again.
Obviously, we survived but it was a fairly rough 7 days.
Last night when we went out with Rita and it was still drizzling and snowing, Vince came back in and said “Oh, it’s 31°.” Immediately, all the thoughts from that night in Lake Charles ran through my head. Things are a whole lot different now. We have a gas stove and the stovetop works even when there isn’t electricity. We have a fireplace and plenty of dry wood on the porch. We have food. We have generators, which we would use only to run the well pump as needed and to keep the food in the freezers frozen.
The power stayed on. All is good. The snow has stopped. Our high today will be 50°. Just a regular day . . and sometimes, regular days are the best!