This weekend we weathered the big snowstorm here on the east coast of New Jersey. We endured blizzard conditions with driving snow and high winds all day Saturday and try as we might, could not shake that “Hurricane Sandy” feeling left over from the fall of 2012.
Back then it was the wind that did the most damage where we lived, toppling trees and downing power lines all over Ocean County. When the power finally went out it did not come back on for 6 days…the first time! Then it was another 4 days without power after that.
And as we sat and watched the storm raging outside on this cold and snowy Saturday in January we felt certain that the power would go once again. But this time it was mid winter and not mid autumn. During Hurricane Sandy folks in the neighborhood had to eventually evacuate because the cold autumn nights grew colder. Without power there was no heat for most households and the nights became too cold to stay in a dark and frigid home.
But here in 2016, it was January not October and already too cold to stay in a house without power. So what would we do if the lights went out? We looked towards the driveway and our car and knew that we could not even drive to safety this time because we were not only snowed in…but plowed in too!
Just about the only people to be seen on the streets during this storm were those who were diligently working the snow plows. But with the cold and wind and wet snow our driveways were now completely sealed off by mini ice damns created by the plows that had been moving up and down our streets…And then, as fate would have it… the power went!
It was nearing dark and my wife and I looked at each other and decided that we had to go out and shovel and clear the car and break up that ice damn in case the power didn’t return within a few hours. We called the power company for reassurance but there were no human voices to ease our fears…only a computerized facsimile that promised that power would be restored to our area by 9pm on the 24th of January…but this was Saturday the 23rd!
So we called the police station to see if they had any information about the power grid to help calm our Sandy worn nerves, and alas were fortunate enough to reach an actual human being! But only to hear her terse and obviously Ad-nauseam and oft repeated message, “We’re the Police Station…not the Electric company.”
So out we went into the blizzard with our shovels and frazzled nerves and began to dig, just in case an emergency evacuation towards safety and warmth would be needed. And we weren’t alone… for as we glanced up and down the street it soon became obvious that everyone on the block was thinking the same thing. Shovels and snow blowers were everywhere, digging and digging, pushing and blowing, and moving up and down the street to assist one another as each driveway’s ice blockade slowly and steadily was broken down.
It was now dark, but fortunately the full moon behind the blowing clouds, provided an eerie illumination to the road and our combined handiwork. Our hard shoveling had paid off and our driveways were cleared to the road. We could take a breath and relax, and even though we were warm now from our hearty exertion, we knew that soon when that warmth wore off we would feel the cold again, and though retreating inside would warm us for a while, if the power did not return, we would have to leave our homes soon thereafter…But at least we now had a means of escape!
And so we all went back into our homes…and then we heard it… The distant rumble. And then we felt it…the vibrations in the street. And then we saw them…and their relentlessly glowing lights. They were the vigilant and the restless…and they were coming once again! The only life forms besides ourselves and our neighbors who would dare to venture down our street on this cold January night of Blizzard Jonas…and they had returned…
And then they plowed us all right back into our driveways!
(Fortunately the power returned 2 hours later)