1/6/07

Hope for hard-hit rural Nebraska

Driving south on I-35 near the Kansas-Oklahoma border we saw a big convoy of cherry-picker utility trucks headed the opposite direction. The trucks all had lights flashing. Some were towing trailers where workers might sleep between extended shifts. My sons and I hope the trucks are on the move to bring more repair crews to the parts of Nebraska still suffering without electricity since last weekend's severe ice storm.

It's good to get a slushy snowball smack of perspective upside the head! We take electricity for granted. We expect thermostats to respond to our hot-flashy whims. Microwaves exist to nuke fattening diet entrees. We consider the snow-covered landscape in terms of "winter recreation opportunities"*. Kids pout if they aren't entertained by a variety of electronic devices around the clock. How would we survive without refrigerators, homogenized and pasteurized milk, USDA graded beef, email, and rechargeable defibrillators? Some of us get cranky without computers, glue guns, and fruit smoothie blenders.

Imagine how crabby we could get without heat for a week, and without ways to keep our livestock fed and watered. Nebraskans help their neighbors. They remain stoic about the economic losses. Whole towns collaborate to keep old residents warm, and young residents in dry diapers. I have in my lap a photostat of my great-great grandfather's handwritten memoir of homesteading in the Republican River valley in April of 1873. Being stoic is good while sheltering your babies, wife, horses, and oxen in a roofless log shanty. I'm thankful great-great grandparents, August and Dorothea Sasse, kept their children alive in the cold. I'm glad the cherry-pickers are heading north. We wish the residents and the repair crews a quick, safe resolution to their problems.


*A game of shuffleboard to decide between hot cocoa and hot cider is my idea of winter recreation.

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

As a fellow (ex-) Nebraskan, you may find these photos of the Nebraska ice storm interesting. I hope you had an uneventful trip and that your dad is doing as well as can be expected!

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