It may be a cliche, but isn’t it funny how it can take a crisis like the massive snowstormÂ to bring neighbors together. In Merriman Park–whereÂ our houseÂ lost power once for two hours,Â again for 24 hoursÂ andÂ a third timeÂ for eight more–tree limbs were falling everywhere (photo by SweetCharity). Then Matt, a guy from one street over I hadn’t talked to in a year,Â arrived on the scene with aÂ chainsaw and startedÂ cuttingÂ up limbs and piling them on the sidewalks all up and down the street. (Why’d he do it, I asked? “Hero complex,”Â heÂ said wryly.)
When power on our side of the street flickered back on for awhile, David, from two doors down, ran a power cord into another neighbor’s place that was still dark. Then he started loading everybody’s hacked brush into hisÂ pickup, bound for the dump. (I hadn’t talked withÂ him in probablyÂ five years.)
We loaned Gene across the street a tall ladder, took in neighborÂ Gary and Dee’sÂ dog whileÂ Dee went to a friend’s house with their baby, brought folks back Cafe Express burgers and fries and opened the (50-degrees and dropping) houseÂ to ’em with a fire in the gas fireplace.
Besides the value of community, Texan-style, anotherÂ big lesson reinforcedÂ by this storm: the importance of electricity, how vulnerable we all are without it. (Note to Bin Laden and crew: Forget the tall buildings; just go for the grid.) Most of us don’t even know how the stuff is produced, much less anything about surviving in its absence.
And, while the electronic-dependent flailed in the dark, some special kudosÂ are owed toÂ three “dinosaur” institutions.Â Despite the war-torn look of our streets, the Dallas Morning News carrier plopped a paper in the drive each morning, right on time. The U.S. mailmanÂ deliveredÂ every afternoon. And Oncor did an outstanding job restoringÂ juice to tens of thousands of homesÂ underÂ crisis conditions. Those of us who are warm again salute you.