The year was 1998. The month was December. Think back with me if you will to the days just before Christmas. Remember the massive ice storm that turned northern Louisiana into props for Ice Capades?
We were unprepared at my house for the dreary bone-chilling days that followed. With no power; no source of heat other than gas logs in our fireplace, we slept on blankets before the fireplace dressed like we were going moose hunting in Minnesota.
Once this awful event came to a slowly thawing close, I decided then and there that we weren’t going to be unprepared next time; we had to have a generator. Although it was like locking the gate after the cow got out, I bought a generator so I would be ready next time when power went out.
For most of the 22 years since, I have had no use for the generator but occasionally when power was lost, Geno – that’s what I named the little fellow – was ready for the task.
Then came Laura. I watched the big pines next to my house bending and lashing under winds in the Category One range. Prayers were offered up, lots of prayers. At 8:00 Thursday morning, our power was abruptly gone. No flicker or warning – just gone.
I waited until the winds had subsided to allow enough time to go out back to the small building where Geno was kept, unwrapped the cover that kept him dust-free, brought him to the driveway, gassed him up and pulled the cranking cord. Nothing. I pulled the cord until I almost threw out my shoulder. Still nothing. So I called a friend, Joey who owns a small engines repair company (318/914-2097), he came and got Geno going. The little fellow kept my freezer, refrigerator and one fan going for a couple of days. On the afternoon of the third day without power, Geno said he’d had enough. The little fellow just laid right down and died.
Fortunately, my son in law, Ross offered his generator so he loaded it up and drove over from his home in Minden and we were back in business with the borrowed generator running full speed until our power was mercifully restored at 4:20 Monday afternoon.
No more listening to the incessant drone of the noisy but life restoring work of the borrowed generator. Lights came on, my computer came back to life and the heavenly music of our air conditioner kicking in brought sighs of relief from my wife and me. Maybe even a tear or two.
As we were once again enjoying those things like lights and cool air that we too often take for granted, I began reading about others in our town who were not so fortunate. Some had their homes demolished by huge trees, hundreds are still without power with big question marks hanging like the broken power lines that littered the streets in our town as to when their power would be restored.
I began hearing that gasoline that kept generators running was in short supply with some driving to distant towns to fill gas cans. There was a crying need for potable water; for ice to keep freezers from thawing; for electric fans to hook to generators to provide a tiny bit of relief from the August heat and humidity. All this made me even more thankful that somehow, our home and power lines had been spared from the huge pines that dot our yard only feet from our house and after only a few days, we had power and others didn’t and wouldn’t for no telling how much longer.
I know that Thanksgiving Day is still some three months away but I think it’s okay if I start it early. Although we were inconvenienced for a few days, my wife and I have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for the hard working linemen who worked and are still working long hours every day to restore power to those less fortunate than us.
I’m thankful for son in law, Ross, who provided a generator for us, for daughter Kayla and husband Keith who fed us, for the helpfulness of neighbors who came to our rescue.
I’m also thankful for little old generator who did what he could to help until his tired old carburetor gave out. Rest in peace, Geno; you’ve earned it.