90. Stuck


The slow moving storm has closed my coffee shop. Now it’s on. A coffee shop is exactly where one is supposed to be during inclement weather. Just ask someone from Seattle or Amsterdam or Helsinki.  I’ve never been to any of these cities, but I imagine there are folks hunkered down in coffee shops during historic storms all the time, working on their laptops, chatting, playing chess, and smoking pipes. I hate to be whiney and self serving in the middle of an historic meteorological event; however, I am missing the warmth and camaraderie that usually exists there.  Who will temper my grandiosity? I fear for my family’s sanity if I have to be trapped with them for two or three days without power.

Years ago in 1996 my family and I were snowed in by a late February snowstorm that dumped 30″ on our house. The first day or two were fun. We baked, played a few games, played in the snow, etc. Then we did a 3-D jigsaw puzzle of an elaborate house. It took time and the cleverness of my wife and oldest daughter to figure out the intricacies of the interlocking pieces. Then time began to drag. My wife was getting unusually grumpy. We did not know that she had a surprise getaway weekend planned for my 40th birthday. It was that much of a surprise.

My daughters and I decided to change the atmosphere and hold a beach party in our large dining room. We moved plants into the room, removed furniture, wore Hawaiian shirts and put down towels. We played summer music and put on sunscreen for the smell and that powerful association with hot sunny days. It was  a fun time in late winter, and my wife finally coughed up the reason for her consternation while dancing to Good Vibrations. We did eventually go on that getaway and it was memorable in the other direction.

Another adjustment to the weather occurred in January 1993. Again it was unbelievable amounts of snow. It was the only time in my life that I have ever shoveled snow off my roof. However, the weather folks on television were warning us to do so in order to avert roof colllapse from the excessive weight. It was another week or so being stuck in the house. On Sunday we could not get out to church so we decided to hold a service in our living room with my oldest playing hymns on the piano. We read a couple of Bible passages and prayed. Then my daughter Grace, ever the pragmatist, came around with a plate for the collection. I didn’t see that coming at all, but I put something in the plate. It’s funny what constitutes the essential elements of worship to a six year old.

Last night we had some drippage in that same dining room where we had danced 16 years ago, apparently caused by a backed up gutter not a lightning strike. All told we have averted structural, familial and societal collapse as the Epic Storm of 2012 moves north. No loss of power, water, life or limb. I realize others were not so fortunate, which is why I count my blessings this morning.

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