I Wuz Just Thinking: Surviving Bad Weather

Photo: WGAL

When bad thunderstorms blast their way through town, it can leave us all living in the dark.

Big bad thunderstorms hit our area of East Texas Thursday night and Friday morning, a week ago.  It hit our town with tornado force winds taking down many trees.

Some reported grapefruit size hail that destroyed automobiles…not just busting windshields, but the whole cars and everything left outside.  One of my friends had four automobiles destroyed, each of the parents cars and their two teenagers.

The wind, as well as fallen trees, took out power-lines.  I’m told that about seven-hundred in my county was without electricity, and 237,000 in all the area counties combined went dark.

We are told it may be Friday by 10 p.m. …a week…before all customers will have power.

We are blessed that we have a generator since here in Kilgore, Rusk county side of town, lost electrical power.  We can connect the kitchen refrigerator/freezer as well as our cell phones, and Jimmy’s breathing and oxygen equipment.

We did lose one freezer on the back patio that was filled with venison and hog meat from Jimmy’s hunting.  The light was still on the freezer and we thought all was well.  Well, when daughter-in-law went with her husband to the back to pour gas in generator, she smelled something and lifted the lid.  She immediately came into the house while holding her nose and informed me.

Betty Mahurin Baker

No one volunteered for the job of cleaning it out…so, I guess I was self-appointed.

Double bagged everything and placed in garbage can for city to pick up and take to land field.  Even doubled bagged, it stunk.

A neighbor brought me some fresh cucumbers from his garden and he was polite enough to drag the garbage can to the street for pickup.  I so appreciated him as it was way to heavy for me or Jimmy to do.

Thursday morning about seven o’clock is when the truck normally comes.  It did not, I called and was told a new driver for my route and he was twenty-four hours. behind.

The poor postman had to smell that stink for two days, as the can was placed near the mailbox.  Finally, the trash was picked up Friday morning.  So grateful to have that gone.  I left the lid open, it rained, now the can does not smell bad.

It was quite comfortable in the house until the generator ran out of gasoline.  Fortunately, our son, who lives close, was able to get more gasoline from the Brookshires station here in town.

Most of the businesses and day cares were closed due to lack of electrical power.

Some of our relatives and friends have the Generac type of generator that runs on natural gas and able to furnish their full homes with power.

Jimmy and I were thinking back to when we were kids.  Summer time meant hot weather and hot it was.  Only cooling we had was our hoping for a bit of cool breeze blowing our way while sitting beneath the China-berry tree.

We did not have air-conditioning – never knew what it was except for the very cold refrigerated air we experienced when we attended the local movie theaters, the Texan and the Crim.

We spent hours in the movie house on Saturdays along with most of the town’s kids.

At the Texan, tickets cost nine cents each.  We asked our Daddy for a quarter, dime, and a penny as it cost us four siblings thirty-six cents to attend. The cost at the Crim was twenty-five cents each.

My family did not have a refrigerator but we had an ice box when I was very young.  I remember seeing the man carrying a large block of frozen ice over his shoulder and placing it inside the ice box in the kitchen.  I remember, if mother did not have very much money, she would only order a ten or twelve pound block of ice.

Mother used an ice pick to chip enough ice for each glass for Southern sweet tea for noon lunch and ice water for supper.  The cool drink at meal time was enjoyable. When we played outside, we would take our drinks from the water hose. Sometimes that water was hot.

Sometimes on a hot Sunday afternoon, mother would cook up makings of scalded milk to go with the junket, sugar, and other ingredients for home-made ice cream.

Daddy would get out the old churn. After mother filled the container with the milky ingredients and place it in the churn, Daddy would chip the ice to place around it, adding salt to make the ice colder, at least that is what I was told.

He laid a towel over the top of the churn and I sat on it while he and others took turns turning the crank.  They would turn and turn the crank until it would go no further and then we knew the cream was frozen.

Chairs had been set up for the adults and the kids sat on blankets on the ground under the Chinaberry tree.

Some of our aunts and uncles sat patiently with their spoons and bowls for their portion of the cold sweet fresh peach ice cream.

I was just thinking how we took the heat just as it came.  We did not panic because that was what we knew and the way we lived.  We had no vision of an electric refrigerator or a house cooled by electric refrigerated air.

A few years later we did get a refrigerator and a water cooled fan…then years later window air conditioners, and even later, central air conditioning.

Today, Sunday evening, the electrical power returned.

We are so blessed . . .as I wuz jus thinking.



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