Winter Storm Offers Time to Reflect

I’m working at home today because I’m one of the lucky few that still has power in the City of Tulsa.

Jan 1st, 2008

by James Laughlin, Editor

I’m working at home today because I’m one of the lucky few that still has power in the City of Tulsa. While more than 200,000 of my neighbors are huddled in their cold, dark houses waiting for the power to be restored, I’m sitting here with the lights on, it’s comfy warm, and I have a hot mug of coffee by my side. And I feel oddly guilty that I have it so good.

Tulsa was one of the cities hard-hit by an ice storm that moved across the country back in December. The storm left more than a million people without power across the country’s mid-section. Dozens of people died and millions of trees were damaged or destroyed. Even water became an issue in Tulsa, as the city’s treatment plants lost power during the storm.

The offices of PennWell, publishers of WaterWorld, were without power for nearly a week. While I had power at my house, I did lose my Internet access and cable service. That was both a blessing and a curse.

Not having the digital distractions of the modern world does give you time to think – about the fragile nature of our existence, the importance of family and friends, and the wonderful life we live here in the United States. Yes, a storm might knock out power to your home for a few days, but we live with the security of knowing that it’s just a temporary discomfort – for most, more an adventure than catastrophe.

My heart goes out to the families that suffered true tragedy: those with family members who died, whose homes were destroyed, who lost everything just two weeks before Christmas.

For me, the storm meant I worked from home a few days. I didn’t have the Internet, but my trusty computer still worked. I didn’t have TV, but I enjoy the radio and had almost forgotten the fun of board games or simply reading a book. Several of the trees in my yard lost limbs, but I decided to look on the bright side – instead of disaster I saw free fire wood for the rest of the winter!

The response to the storm was amazing. Crews from utility companies across the south converged on Tulsa to help restore power. More than a few people I know opened their homes to family, friends and neighbors left in the dark. Across the city and the region, neighbors helped neighbors. And, thankfully, I saw a lot more Christmas spirit than Grinch-like behavior.

For my part, in the days after the storm I offered a warm bed to a cold neighbor and helped move a downed tree out of the street. And tried not to feel guilty that I was warm and safe.

I am extremely grateful that the lights stayed on at my house. Yes, life is good. The coffee’s still warm and the lights are still on -- and every five minutes I click the “refresh” key in Explorer, hoping that Google will pop up instead of this pesky “cannot find server” page.

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