Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Ice Storm Attempts to Interrupt Christmas

Ice Storm Dec. 19th, 2008 Fort Wayne

So where have I been? I certainly had a lot I wanted to blog about. I wanted to blog about the Third Sunday of Advent or Rose Advent. I spent it at a Croatian Church in Joliet Illinois. I wanted to talk about the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I have been busy. I drove to Joliet for a Christmas family gathering. The next Monday I was in Bluffton for a site visit. I went with Cathi and we walked around this beautiful town in a heavy snow. It was perfect Christmas weather. Two days later we were in Lagrange Indiana for another site visit. Afterwords we went over to Shipshewana, an Amish town. So, I had so much to blog about. That is not even mentioning world events. So, what happened? Well…

On Dec. 19th Fort Wayne was hit with an ice storm. 124,000 people in the greater metro area lost power, 58,000 in Fort Wayne lost power. We were one of those folks. Our entire neighborhood was without electricity. However a limb from our neighbor’s tree fell into our yard and also took out our power lines and cable. That meant when our area got power we didn’t.

So... for five days Cathi and I lived at home using our wood burner for the first time. The house was freezing, we could see our breath and cat food froze solid. However, we stayed put trying to keep some warmth in our house so our pipes would not burst. We were successful. A friend of mine did not stay in their house and they had burst pipes and flooding in every floor of their house.

The city looked like a combination of magical beauty and devastation. Ice covered everything so when fire trucks rushed by the block sparkled in red, when police rushed by the trees reflected blue ice. However, trees were down everywhere. The sound of crashing trees broke the silence over and over again. Everywhere there was police tape preventing you from walking into unsafe areas. Our campus looks horrible. One day it is a beautiful Franciscan park in the city the next day it looks like it was hit by a hurricane.

Our life was dictated by the sun. By 9:00 A.M. our house was bright and we had to move quickly to do whatever chores we had to do. By 4:30 PM we had to gather our candles, by 5:30 P.M. we had 16 to 28 candles going as we lived in our living room and blocked off all other rooms. We made one pot meals. We slept on the floor with our animals. Cathi knitted, I read and wrote. It was so quiet and by 8:30 PM it felt like we had been awake for 24 hours.

At 2 P.M. Christmas Eve we got our power back. The house warmed up and we got to see what a mess we had made living in the cold dark. That night I went to Mass and reflected on a very unique Christmas season. Christmas Day evening I worked 12 hours at our local American Red Cross shelter for the folks who still had no power.

First we had freezing weather, than rain, ice, snow, wind (cold as in 1 degree with wind-chill of-25 degrees) and then two days ago it was 60 degrees out. We are now facing possible flooding, what a winter!

It was only this morning that we finally got phone, television and internet. I know 2 weeks without these modern “necessities” is not a trauma. I am watching the Middle East, Congo, and Wall Street. I know this was just an inconvenience. However, it has made for one of the most unusual holiday seasons of our life. And now it is time to read my e-mails, blog, respond to e-mails, watch the news, watch Animal Planet, and remember candle lights glowing and the power of silence.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years from boring old Fort Wayne!

Ice Storm in Fort Wayne View From a Car
(There is actually a brief drive by the University of Saint Francis on the drivers side near the end of the clip)


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