Happy Summer, farmgirls! I’m enjoying a morning cup of coffee in my favorite Wonder Woman mug, in my vintage camper, my chihuahua in my lap. I had a post idea all ready to write for June, but that changed when, a few weeks ago, something unimaginable happened here in New England!
It was a beautiful day. Hot and humid, it was a welcome change to the cold, drizzly days we’d been experiencing for what seemed like forever. My husband and I had a day off, and decided on lunch near the coast as we were picking up a present for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. We’d planned to do our “big” grocery shopping at a nearby Costco, and mentioned to my daughter we might be a few minutes late picking her up from school. She had a project to work on at the library anyway.
We soon changed our minds when a robocall came from school announcing after school activities were cancelled due to impending bad weather. We picked our daughter up, and since there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, went for ice cream before heading home.
We had just sat down with a cool drink when the next phone alert came through: a loud alarm with a message – TORNADO WARNING IN YOUR AREA TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.
The sky turned green. We barely had enough time to make it to the basement with all our pets. Glancing back before heading down basement stairs, I saw our windows – the glass panes were solid debris, leaves “glued” to the glass. The sound was deafening, and fear set in. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Connecticut.
We lost electricity quickly. There we sat in our tiny, dark storage room – three humans, two big dogs, one chihuahua, two cats, and a pet snake. (My husband is deathly afraid of snakes. I think he might’ve rather faced a tornado head on than risk that the lid on the Tupperware the snake was in would hold).
We heard what sounded like explosions, realizing something hit the house, maybe hit the camper…what was waiting up above we didn’t know.
A “macroburst” and tornadoes pelted the region. It didn’t last that long, but it felt like forever. It was later reported that winds were over 100 mph, stronger than Superstorm Sandy.
When it was over, three GIANT trees had fallen in the driveway, blocking us in. One tree hit the house, landing on the living/dining room with such force that a heavy rocker sitting on the carpet was thrown across the room, pieces of the ceiling strewn about and frames knocked from the walls. One tree missed our Glamper by mere feet! We were so very lucky. We didn’t lose our lives, or our house or cars (things were damaged, yes, but all can be fixed).
The days that followed were difficult. Our neighborhood, like many others, looked like Armageddon. Homes and cars damaged or trashed, trees down, wires fallen everywhere, and we had no electricity for about a week. On our property debris a foot thick covered everywhere. I got poison ivy on my legs and arms from cleaning up the yard. Also happening that week, we rushed my chihuahua to the canine ER and to our vet several times, as he he had a flare of pancreatitis. On the rainy, cold Saturday following the storm, with my husband at work, the few lights we had on at home went out – though my generator kept running. Our roads through our neighborhood were blocked; if it caught fire, I don’t think help could’ve gotten to us that day. My daughter’s friend from school and his father left a movie to head to our house to help. Heroes to us that day! The generator had, in fact, shorted out! Sunday morning at 7:00 AM I had to buy a new one, another unexpected expense I didn’t need. On the bright side, we didn’t lose all our frozen food. It could always be worse…
But this isn’t a blog of doom and gloom. I thought of my favorite quote by one of the most amazing humans that ever graced the planet.
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers
Through it all, we saw neighbors helping neighbors. Heroes! The workers we saw dangling from power lines in cold and wet, leaving their families behind to come here from all over the United States, working day and night to restore power to the state…heroes! The server at the local diner (one of the only places in town open at first) with damage to her home and no electricity, weary herself but serving food with a smile and upbeat attitude…a hero! While we had no power, my friend Valerie had electricity. She works a full time job and has a family, yet all week she made my family hot dinners, amazing breakfasts, and insisted we do our laundry at her house. I’ll never forget her kindness and comfort! (Girlfriend, you know you really are Wonder Woman!) The vet tech who opened the office to meet me on a day they were closed, to get my pup medicine – my hero! The police and firefighters working endless hours during the aftermath- heroes- everyday, in fact.
Losing power, losing the internet, having to replant my garden, having unexpected expenses, having damage to property, having school open until the end of June…all of it’s just “irritations”. Sure, there’s been tears, exhaustion, and frustration! Still, we were so lucky. Lives were lost in our state, and there could’ve been many more. Seeing so many people helping each other, well, that’s the good part.
My husband was off work on Memorial Day weekend. We’d had enough stress with the storm aftermath and worry with loved ones in the hospital in another state, and with our sick little dog (today, Pip is having a good day, thankfully). We snuck off for a few hours to see “Fleet Week” in NYC. It was jaw dropping, boarding the HUGE vessels that protect our country. All the troops looked so crisp in their uniforms. I must be getting old, because I kept thinking, “I sure hope they call their mamas often.” These men and women put their lives on the line, and the spouses and families they leave behind while on duty are also heroes!
Sometimes the news we see is horrific. Things in the world today are not always rosy, by far. But look around because the great human spirit is there. There’s still so much good, kindness and bravery to be found.
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole