Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christmas week without power

A large limb crushed the DeWall Senior Center sign, as well as part of the roof.

Christmas week of 2009 proved to be more memorable than even we could have imagined. The power went out on the Friday before Christmas (one week) and stayed off until late Wednesday evening. The few people left at the Red Bird campus huddled together in a few heated rooms in the only building on a generator: the clinic & old hospital. Alan & I slept at the house—snuggled deeply under a sleeping bag in 42 degrees. He worked on generators during the day & I was about the normal work at the clinic. The group took common meals cooked in microwaves and on a camping grill. My kettle of corn chowder cooked on the grill turned out nicely for the group too. Food, blankets, and emergency supplies were delivered to some of Red Bird’s frailest clients. One 90 year old man was brought from his home to our shelter so that we could care for him. A winter blizzard had blanketed the area with snow & ice, breaking limbs & uprooting trees, knocking out power & contaminating water. A tree fell on our senior center & one of our garages collapsed. We were beginning to wonder if we would be cold through Christmas, but it was not to be. Everybody cheered when lights flickered on, hot water heaters kicked on, and furnaces began blowing warm air. Having electricity, being in our homes again, taking showers, being warm, having water…we had every good gift we needed.

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