Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stumps

So, last week we had a horrible wind storm.  The 70 mph winds they predicted actually came in between 80-112 mph last Thursday.   Category 2 Hurricane-like winds.  Not everyone in the valley got hit hard, but Davis County did, and especially South Davis County, where I live.

We were without power and heat, and unlike some of my neighbors who went without for 55 hours, I was only out of power from 6:30 am Thursday morning until 10:30 pm Thursday night. And while I was "lucky" that a tree didn't fall on my house (sadly, like many other neighbors), a lot of branches came down and I lost several shingles off my already needing-replaced roof.  (Now, if I could just get the landlord to call me back!)

The superintendent of the school district didn't see a particular reason to cancel school (he's a "stump").  Even though driving conditions were dangerous (flying debris, heavy winds) and that meant tons of inexperienced teenage drivers were on the road.  It also mean that students were sitting in dark, cold classrooms, with already wet hair because they couldn't blow dry it that morning. Finally, a neighboring city in South Davis declared a state of emergency and THEY made the executive decision to shut down all of their schools in that city.  Finally, the schools in my town decided to follow suite.  I heard one mother say that up at her daughter's school, the fire alarm went off and the kids had to stand outside in the freezing, harsh winds (with wet hair, mind you) for 45 minutes until a fire truck could be pulled from other tragedies (like downed power lines, overturned gas trucks on the freeway, etc.) to come and clear the school.  Finally THAT principal decided, enough was enough and he was shutting his school down.  In the meantime, the school district switchboard was lit up with steaming mad parents demanding the district close.  Nevertheless, the emergency weather line continued to play with the same message, "Today is December 1st. At this time there are no weather-related issues.  Davis School District is open and all schools are in session."  I think it must boil down to politics and money?  Who knows?  I certainly didn't understand.  The district got so many complaints, they proactively closed school for Friday, which was good, because there were still several schools without power/heat and many also had broken glass to contend with.

So -- after my kids were retrieved from their schools (after their principals decided to override the district's decision), I farmed them out to warm places and I drove up to another office to work because my clients still expected their money and their home sales to close on time.  :)    During my dangerous and extremely slow drive (took me 90 minutes to drive 15 miles) I saw down power lines, over-turned semi after over-turned semi, a twisted up trampoline flying through the air and landing in a field of cows, a mobile home sliced in half by the chain link fence it landed on, lawn chairs and trash bins rolling with ease like they were merely tumbleweeds and the trash from inside tossed all over the place.  Lights were out at nearly every intersection and I witnessed some very impatient drivers taking risks causing fender-benders all over town.

Needless to say, the kidlets stayed farmed out for the night to be sure to have something to eat and to sleep in warm beds and I found a place for myself.  I am not kidding when I say a long hot bath never felt so good.

The next three days in our town was spent cleaning up the after-math, especially because there were threats of another imminent wind storm.   I was cold and sore and tired, but soooo grateful for the help from the local scouts and their leaders who came and lent a hand Saturday afternoon.  Just as they left some more friends showed up to help me get the back tree mess manageable.

In all of the chaos, I felt gratitude and joy in how the community came together to help each other out.  Churches were canceled on Sunday and many others conducted abbreviated services so that the community could work together to clean up before the next possible storm (fear was that the lying branches and debris would damage more homes, posing more health threats).  The National Guard was deployed to help with the clean up as well and I still saw several of their trucks and soldiers around town this morning.

Sunday, a boy from church - who was also one of the local scouts that was assisting in the clean-up made a comment.  He said (paraphrasing):

We went to help [a neighbor] remove a fallen pine tree from her back yard.  But it was so big, we had to cut it down into chunks small enough to roll between the gate out to the front of the house, so it could then be hauled away.  As my leader and I were rolling one of the big stumps he said to me something I will never forget.  He said, "You can't stop rolling.  Even if you hit a rough patch or a bump, you have to roll on through.  Because once you stop, it is much harder to get it started again."  I have thought about that all night and thought how that applies in life too.  When we hit rough patches or bumps in our lives, we have to just keep on going.  Because if we stop, it will be harder to pick ourselves up again and get going.

Smart kid, huh?  Not only did his message bring tears to my eyes because such profound words from such a young man touched my heart, but because I realized that these boys are learning more than service and hard work; they are learning life lessons -- they are building character.  These boys will never forget the after math of that storm, nor will they ever forget the service they rendered and they are better for it.

Moral:  Just keep on rolling along!

Some teenagers in my neighborhood went around town during and after the storm capturing footage...

2 comments:

Du and MJ said...

Great post Emma. It was a crazy couple of days and the scouts and their leaders did so, so much. I saw them out in the morning, when the winds were still blowing, checking in with the elderly people on my street. With their power out, I was worried about them too. I'll never forget all the offers made to us when our power was still out Thurs night. Thanks to everyone that helped out!

Erika's Site said...

You have a knack for content and expression, Emma. You are one of the most clever writers I know. This is another great post. My folks mentioned the storm and they live in Saratoga Springs, Ut.