Grab a cup of tea, folks and have a seat. The weather over the last month and the arrival of syrup season has gotten me wandering down memory lane. Tell me if you have heard this one before….. Twenty years ago, mid-January 1998, Mother Nature decided that she was going to give us something to complain about and walloped our area with an ice storm the likes of which you have never seen. I sincerely hope that in my lifetime we’ll never see the likes again. Oh? You’ve heard about this? Well, it’s all about the stories within the stories so sit back down and sip that tea.
This is my story.
For 5 days we watched an endless amount of rain fall and form into ice, coating the world until it looked like everything was encased in glass. It was beautiful. And absolutely, devastatingly treacherous. The powers that be cancelled the school buses and closed the schools. The only choice for most of us was to hunker down and wait it out.
The power went out on day 2 and a state of emergency was declared shortly thereafter. It seemed there was no end in sight to the weather and certainly no guesses as to when life was going to go back to normal. For us, in the sticks, we wouldn’t see electricity for two weeks. This certainly changes the family dynamic. My goodness could you imagine that happening now?!!? No internet, no video games! Families forced to have conversations with *gasp*…..EACH OTHER!? As a parent, I shudder to think.
I digress. Two weeks of reading by candlelight after dark, playing cards or board games. Oddly enough, I don’t recall bickering with my siblings much during this time period. I would have to ask dad. That said, the last four days we had a generator. I have no idea where it came from as generators were in very short supply. I know we weren’t able to rent one. But I’m sure it offset the bickering that I’m sure Dad would confirm did in fact happen.
For heat, we had an old cookstove in the kitchen that pumped out enough to warm the first floor sufficiently for us all. My grandmother, who was still mourning my grandfather’s passing just a little over a year before, had to bounce between my aunt’s place and my uncle’s because her furnace ran on electricity. We shut the doors to every room that we didn’t absolutely need, and dragged the mattresses from upstairs down to the living room where we all camped out for the duration. Cool! Indoor camping!
Nope. The novelty wore off about a week in.
The damage it caused us was staggering. Trees downed, lines broken…..Our family maple syrup business came to a screeching halt and has stayed that way for 20 years now. Every year, my dad says that this will be the year he gets it up running again. At some point, he’ll get it done but 20 years is a long time to wait. He retired this year, so maybe next spring? I won’t hold my breath.
In 1998, I was just two years away from graduating high school. If you believe in omens and symbols, the Ice Storm of 1998 was the start of a weird period of instability in my life. Some day, I’ll share that one with you, as they say another story for another time. It was just three years later that I met HockeyDad and we started dating. And it would take all of those three years and then some to see some of that instability smooth out.
My point is sometimes it takes those great big storms in our lives to help us appreciate the easy parts. Despite a schedule that makes my eye twitch and my head hurt, this is an easy part.
It’ll be interesting to see where the next 20 years finds me. For the next few years, one thing is for certain….
I’ll see you at the rink