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What a wonderful world in which we live

2021 is picking right up where 2020 left off. As the Chinese proverb ominously declares: May you live in interesting times.

Can anybody remember a snowstorm that left snow and ice on the streets and grounds for a full week? I am 62 and I cannot recall. My neighbor Sandra McDaniel is a bit older than me and she couldn’t recall such an event. This may be an all-time record.

I live on a cul-de-sac, Rebel Drive, in the Loho neighborhood of Jackson, just east of the new District development near I-55 and Meadowbrook.

Turns out the steep road leading from Northeast Drive down to the end of our six-house cul-de-sac makes the perfect sledding road. At one point I counted 40 parents and children standing around socializing and waiting for their turn to sled. It was a blast!

The hill was just steep enough to make it fun, but it flattened out at the bottom to allow for interesting, but safe, stops. My neighbor Nick Garrard and I used our smartphones to calculate the top speeds at around 25 mph.

The gutters on either side of the road usually straightened out errant sledders, catching them like a bowling ball alley.

The worst obstacle was my newly installed post box. Using the advice of the salesman at Revel Ace Hardware, I used an extra bag of cement to set the main pole. It was not going to give. Thank goodness nobody hit it.

For two straight days the sledding continued non-stop. The energy of youth is amazing. Ginny and I even went down. It was scarier than I thought. The bushes at the bottom cushioned my landing stop.

Our steep cul-de-sac road made sledding good, but it made exiting in a vehicle impossible with all the ice. We were stuck.

I tried to make it up our cul-de-sac hill and almost made it to the top, only to slide down again and again.
How ironic that we pick the coldest day of our entire 18-year stay on Rebel Drive to walk to the Corner Market on Northside Drive. It only took 10 minutes, all along quiet residential streets. It is a testament to how addicted we are to our automobiles.

When the water pressure dropped to a trickle, we filled up two bathtubs to have flushing water. We kept a close eye on Entergy Mississippi’s power outage website, thanking God for power.

Everything shut down because the roads were very hard to drive on. No problem in the age of Covid. We are all now experts at working at home via Zoom.

Thursday night, a sleet storm approached as the temps dropped below freezing. 

Uh-oh, I thought, remembering the big ice storm of 1994, considered the second worst in the state’s history. The state lost so many of its most beautiful trees.
I was just about to go to bed when I heard a loud crack, then a boom. There was no mistaking the sound of a heavy limb cracking off its trunk and falling to the ground. It was just a matter of time.

I woke up and reached for the light. No light. Darn. Turns out a huge limb fell off one of the five beautiful loblolly pines towering over our front yard. The limb didn’t break any lines, but bent an unanchored power pole to the point the power lines were just above the ground. It also severely bent my new mailbox.

We have gas heat, but without electricity, the system doesn’t work. Our gas log fireplace sends most of the heat up the chimney. Using a gas stove for heat, without being vented, can raise carbon monoxide to dangerous levels. House temps of 40 are cold.

Fortunately, our smartphones were working and I had backup batteries. This allowed me to continue to monitor the prodigious task of getting newspaper editions printed and distributed. Even if we could get our print personnel into the plant, we still had to get the copies trucked to the post office, which may or may not be open for delivery.

By Sunday morning, we were some of the very last homes still without power. Right on cue, four huge trucks arrived and got us going lickety split just in time for church.

It was really interesting talking to the lineman, hearing their stories and watching how they worked. Great professionals. Yet another example of the wonderful world in which we live.

Wyatt Emmerich is president of Emmerich Newspapers and publisher of the Northside Sun.

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