Streamline - Spring 2014 - (Page 37)
BY MICHAEL JOHNSON
Friends to Keep You Warm
out at my kitchen window just a few days ago, I watched that silver rain
falling at dusk. Some might have thought it beautiful, but not me. Having seen it before in my life, I
knew what it was. Misery, for sure, and death for some. Sure enough at midnight, those awful shattering sounds began. The trees - our friends - their limbs were breaking. Silly me, I found myself
praying for them. At daylight, the lights blinked twice and seconds later, 275,000 homes went dark.
SITTING AND STARING
In this time
of trial - this
of men we
know came to
The linemen began coming the next day - from
Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and
Kansas. More than 5,000 came within two days,
and in three more days, they no longer looked the
same. On the first day, they were young, fresh and
ready. On the fourth, they were much older with
hollow eyes, and faces full of deep fatigue.
I moved the horses to the pasture with the pond,
gave the steers hay, and Rowdy and I returned to the
farm house. My wife was on a business trip, and for
the first time since I've known her, I was glad she
wasn't here to see this. And Rowdy and I waited. He
doesn't like to play spades and I don't like to chase
rabbits, so we waited. That wait included no light
and no heat for two days. We slept together on the
couch trying to keep each other warm.
On the third day, I saw the truck coming up the
lane and I remembered how much we enjoy company when we're alone. Richard Trapp and Billy
Martel stepped out.
"How are the horses?" (First thing cowboys
"Well as can be expected I suppose," I said.
"And you and Rowdy?"
"We're okay. Other people have it much worse,"
"Somebody said it was 40 degrees in your house
last night?" Richard asked.
"Well...uh...yes, it was."
"It's gonna get better," Billy said.
"Oh, yeah, I know," I said. "Spring will come
and this will pass."
"No, not spring," Richard said. "It's gonna get
better right now."
He opened the tailgate and there sat a 5,000
You know, until that moment, I never noticed
how beautiful generators can be.
The fact that Richard was able to arrange for the
Rowdy Cow Dog and me to have lights, heat and
television has caused me to do some deep thinking
about a return gift.
And the workers kept working, the rural water
people worked through the nights - like they always
do, and one by one, the lights began blinking on.
The generator ran like a Swiss watch for three
and a half days, and then at noon on the fourth
day, stopped like a shot duck. At that moment, I
heard Rowdy say, "Uh oh." In five minutes - five
- my power came on for the first time in five days.
Surely, my little momma in heaven had something
to do with that.
Two young lineman drove up about that time.
"Your power on, sir?" they asked.
"Yes, yes," I said. "And you're coming in for
We visited for a time and I learned both were from
the Houston area, and both were ropers. The world
became smaller when we discovered a mutual friend,
James Zant, former NFR qualifier and a prince of
a man. Those young men became my friends. And
that caused me to think about all the rest.
In this time of trial - this awful storm brought so
much goodness with it. Thousands of men we didn't
even know came to help us. Richard and Billy came
in the cold, and Rowdy kept me warm.
At 5 p.m., my wife arrived home from the airport. "I've been so worried about you," she said,
hugging me. "How on earth did you endure this,
I looked out at the trees, their branches rising
more and more. The Rowdy Cow wagging his tail,
both of us so happy to see his momma, and I thought
about all those people and that dog.
"Really, it wasn't so bad," I said. "After all, I had
my friends to keep me warm."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2014
From the President
From the Executive Director
The Importance of an Immediate Response
What’s New in UV?
Proper Disposal of Pharmacy Products
Source Water Protection Notes
Ergs, Joules and Other Stuff
Establishing a Water Distribution System Flushing Program
Curtis Water Wins Big in D.C.
Throwing My Loop: Friends to Keep You Warm
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
Welcome New Members
Board of Directors
Index to Advertisers/Ad.com
Streamline - Spring 2014