Last Friday, I called my boss about a project that would have been due at the end of this week. We came to a conclusion Iím sure many of you have come to understand since that big winter storm hit two weeks ago. We were behind, but so was everybody else.
Later that day, I threw on a scarf and mittens on my way out the door. I was headed to The Aud to cover a city meeting that had been rescheduled twice because of the severe weather. Gazing at the street beyond our driveway, I freaked out a little bit. There was still so much snow on the ground, and Iím not exactly a seasoned winter traveler. I hadnít turned my car on in more than a week, so it was a relief when everything rattled to life as it always does.
Then I took off, slow but sure, crossing my fingers and toes the whole way through Mundell Road. Eventually I made it to 187, then 62 West. It took nearly 45 minutes to get to downtown Eureka Springs, but I did it. I was so proud of myself that I asked Gideon to pat me on the back when I got home.
The meeting lasted twice as long as I expected, par for the course considering how many times it had been postponed. Talking with some local folks in The Aud, I found a bit of camaraderie. The winter storm threw all of us off. It was the first meeting in The Aud in 11 days. Some folks couldnít leave their home for a week, but fortunately they had plenty of supplies to get through the big freeze.
On my way home, I couldnít help but think of the folks who didnít have the supplies. I thought of those who faced frozen pipes and power outages. We didnít have too much of that in Carroll County, but Texans werenít so lucky. My mom lives in Texarkana, just on the Texas and Arkansas state line. I kept up with her throughout the storm ó luckily, she never lost power.
Then I saw stories of all the Texans who did lose power and water during the storm. It was so bad that some people froze to death in their homes. I spoke with a friend whose sister slept under a mountain of blankets with her six children just to stay warm. It struck me that these people arenít just a week behind at work ó they experienced the kind of trauma it takes years and years to overcome.
As the ice and snow fell, I kept up with our local Facebook support groups for information on power outages. Thatís where I saw so many random acts of kindness. One local lady couldnít flush the toilet or brush her teeth because her pipes froze, so her neighbors brought her buckets of water every day. Local hotels took in people who got stuck or couldnít get home. Linemen with Carroll Electric braved freezing temperatures to get everyoneís power back on ó not once, but twice.
I realized that Iíd read similar stories throughout the region. Itís always nice to know you arenít alone, but thatís especially true when weíre talking about good deeds. To see everyone come together in a time of uncertainty proved that we still love our neighbors, despite how divisive our country can sometimes seem.
This week, most of us are back at work and back on the roads. Some of us are making up for lost time. Some of us are just making it. No matter what youíre doing, know that itís OK to be a little bit behind. Itís OK to be frustrated if your pipes are still frozen. Itís OK to feel stressed out by extra work.
Just remember that weíll get through this together, the way we always have.