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Joy in the Journey

April 18, 2013

by Linda Beerman
I"m wondering how you are all doing at this point with all that happened in our area LAST WEEK with the horrific ice storm and tremendous damage to so many beautiful trees, property, etc! Wow, what a storm it was. As I am writing this on Sunday evening, we are still without power at our farm. And I know many others are sharing that hardship too. All I can say is God Bless those wonderful men and women who continue to work extremely hard and with long hours to get the electrical power back to many who are waiting. It has to be an exhausting job!

Because we have dairy cattle, we have had a generator for many years for such events as this. Therefore, we have not suffered being cold or not being able to cook, flush the toilets, get water, and all of the other daily luxuries that we have grown accustomed to over the years. Even taken for granted...until something like this occurs. Then we realize how much we depend on those switches and plug-ins on the wall. Our tractor is running the generator twice a day for milking, at which time our house warms up and I try to get needed chores accomplished. Then we shut it off to give it a rest and also to save some of the fuel expense.

We are thankful that this was a spring storm, so the temperatures outside are not below zero. Fortunately when the sun does come out, it begins to melt quite quickly. Already the mud is appearing wherever a vehicle or farm machine has traveled. And the ice is slowly dropping and dripping from the wires, trees, and fences. One has to be careful where you walk, or you may just get hit on the head! I have been chuckling at the cows in the lot near our farmyard. They reach up to the ice covered branches and lick the ice. I guess it is a new way to get a drink!

Last Tuesday, when we woke up and saw the winterland of ice covering everything outside, my fear was that the lines would be too heavy and we would soon lose our electricity. Because there wasn't much wind that day, it seemed maybe we would not have to worry about it after all. About 8:30 that evening, it was another story. Everything went black and the house was deathly quiet. And boy does it get black out here in the countryside! As we peered out the windows, it seemed we were in the middle of a deep chasm. Darkness was all around us.

Since it was still quite early in the evening, we decided to play a game of Wahoo, a marble game that we used to play for hours with our kids. With two flashlights and two candles to light our wooden board, we shook the dice and played away. We reminisced about all the times we had played together with not only our own kids, but the grandkids too. I think I was talking more than concentrating on the game because Dan beat me three games in a row. We played one more, and I finally got a win.

It was now about 10:30, and we decided it was probably bed time. Just as we put the marbles away, we heard a loud crash. Nearing the window and shining the flashlight towards the outside, we could see that the overhead wires had come loose as the insulator had pulled out of the wall of the house. Amazingly a few wires were still attached to the house, so when we did fire up the generator Wednesday morning, we could still get power to our home. YEA!!! We sure are glad that it has held thus far.

The problem with these hanging wires is that they draped over the complete driveway. It did not block the milk truck from entering the next day, but when we had to leave the farm on Thursday Dan had to figure out a way to lift the wires up on one end. He used a twenty foot two by four with a staple in the end to prop the wires up in the air. The other end of the board is wedged between the fuel tank to secure it as we weave in and out, to come and go. It looks a little "redneck", but it works! "It is what it is", as the saying goes.

Even when life gets hard, as it has for so many this past week, humor can bring us some reprieve. On Thursday night we got a phone call from our two granddaughters, Abbi and Lexi, from West DesMoines, Iowa. Abbi, who is six, talked with me first. Then Lexi, age 9, chatted with me awhile about the storm, if we were O.K., and had several questions. Soon she said she needed to go as it was time for bed. I told her grandpa was coming up to the house for the night, but he reported that Duke, our wandering dog, had disappeared again. She said good bye and we hung up.

About ten minutes later I received a text from her brother, Taylor, age twelve. He asked, " Did Grandpa run away?" I immediately text back and said, "What??" Just seconds later my phone rang and it was our daughter, Melissa, their mother. She said, "Mom, we are all laughing so hard, we can hardly breathe!" After Lexi had hung up from talking with me, she told them that Grandpa had run away. Taylor reported, "Grandpa doesn't even run! " (Little does Taylor know that when you have a heard of cows or calves, that sometimes you HAVE to run! )

I told Dan that after almost forty-five years of marriage, I have worried about many things, but never that he was going to run away. Just a wonderful light-hearted moment to brighten the otherwise long and tedious week. the way, Duke was found lying on the hay pile, and he didn't make a run for it until Saturday!! (We found him when the neighbors called this morning to say he was at their house.)

Another enjoyable time in the past week was the community play at the Fulda Elementary School. I went on Friday night to see the first performance, and it was very entertaining. Great job done! I commend all of the performers as it had to be hard to put finishing touches on a play rehearsed in a week between power outages! Good for you. It is on my bucket list to be in one of those plays some year, maybe when they need an old lady that doesn't sing!

May spring show up real soon for all of us. Good blessings this week as you watch the snow melt, and hopefully some green spears and flowers will appear beneath the wet stuff very soon!

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