Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Winter Remains

This morning, the wind chill outside my door is -5º F. I think, despite what the groundhog said a month ago, winter is still here.

More evidence of winter: last week (before I got sick), I checked my voice mail and heard this:
Hello. We are having an ice storm. The [electrical/telephone] poles on our road are all down. The tree in the yard came down and barely missed the house. The water, electricity, and heat are all out. I’m in hell. Goodbye.
This may sound weird to say but, fortunately, this was my 68-year-old mother-in-law and NOT my 76-year-old mother. Then again, my mother lives in a town where the sewer, water, and power rarely fail. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, lives in the country with a septic system and rural power. When her electricity goes out, she loses everything. Since the power loss to her home was due to the destruction of the electrical pathway, she may be without power for a while. Maybe I should retract that previous “fortunately” statement?

Winter in rural Minnesota is always interesting, but storms like this latest one remind me that, at times, it is actually life threatening. That is why I am amazed when these blizzards strike and people do extraordinary things that I don’t see here in my part of New England. For example, in the middle of this latest storm, my mother lost her heat because the vent pipe for her furnace was clogged with snow that had built up on the roof of her mobile home. She contacted her plumber to let him know what had happened. In true midwestern fashion, he came over to resolve the problem. Amidst driving wind and snow, this gentleman took a ladder, crawled up on my mother’s roof, and cleared the clogged pipe. Then, he relit my mother’s furnace.

Truly, I could not get an oil delivery to my home if I was devoid of heat in a blizzard, let alone get someone to crawl up on the roof of my house to repair a problem in the driving snow. Maybe the difference is the fact that people in my hometown realize the life threatening nature of winter weather. Here, life-threatening conditions seem to pass quickly: it may be brutally cold with snow one day and 45º F the next. Whatever the reason, living ~1400 miles away and being completely unable to help my mother through this latest crisis, I am eternally grateful to this gentleman who made certain my parent was safe and warm.

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