Ken’s e-Pistle

June 21, 2023

Something about the beginning of summer sets my mind on winter.  Most specifically the Great Ice Storm of January, 1973.  If you lived around here at that time, you probably remember it, too.  We were living in Atlanta at the time and I was finishing up my part time career as Senior Super Scooper at the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center.  The University of Georgia, in an irrepressible fit of optimism and generosity had accepted my application and my future was bright.

Then the storm approached.  My fundamentalist Christian neighbor crashed through the front door, all excited about the predictions of power failures, traffic snarls, the possibility of looting, and empty store shelves.  It was probably going to be the closest thing to Armageddon she would ever get to see.

We did what everybody else did.  Momma went to the A&P and laid in a good stock of white bread and sweet milk.  I never really understood why folk did that, but it seemed to be a universal response.  Even folk who never partook of white bread or sweet milk loaded their wagons.

Then it came: a couple of days of ice and fury.  Roads were covered, lines were down, phones were out and the whole city seemed to be frozen in time.  Ambulances couldn’t run, police cars were immobile and even GA Power came to a standstill.   Needless to say, schools were closed.

It was wonderful!

We lost power in our house for 10 days.  Dad made repeated trips to the basement to manually crank up the ancient boiler and heat the house to about 85 degrees before we went to bed.  We all slept in the living room, which featured a working fireplace.  We had torn down a separate garage on the property and kept warm by burning the rotted wood.  I don’t know if we ever got all of the nails out of that fireplace!

Summer is a good time to remember those days. It makes them seem distant and manageable.  For us kids, it was a marvelous adventure which we would re-live over and over.

I don’t think about it in the winter time.  Especially not when storms are coming and ice is predicted on the higher elevations, like where we live.  At least I try not to.  I just retreat into my usual practical, utilitarian self and go about my business…

Like buying plenty of sweet milk and white bread.  And keeping my old seminary Study Bible close at hand.

Old habits die hard.

I bid you peace!