The Great Storm brings out the best

Friday, February 6, 2009

There were probably a lot of exchanges similar to this one over the past few days in the Rector area:

Rectorite 1: "You holding up okay?"

Rectorite 2: "Just barely."

Rectorite 1: "We are all tougher than we thought we are."

Rectorite 2: "Yep. Now we have a little better idea what our grandparents' lives were like."

Rectorite 1: "That's true. And I don't like it."

The reality is that many of us have indeed in recent days experienced life more like our forefathers. We have had to concentrate on the basics and also rely on help from others -- there has been a tremendous amount of the latter following the Great Ice Storm of 2009.

As for the storm itself, it was strange -- pouring down rain on the ground and ice in the trees -- it shows what a minor variance in temperature can accomplish.

"Do you want the bad news or the bad news?" That was the question asked by a city policeman at 3 a.m. last Wednesday. His point -- there was no good news.

The bad news was that the main electrical trunk running along Highway 49 in Rector had completely collapsed. We're sure it was a startling sight to people seeing it Wednesday morning, but it was especially eerie in the middle of the night in the midst of an ice storm.

We learned a lot about Rector in these recent days -- things we deep down already knew but had perhaps not fully comprehended. And that realization is that there are some really, really good people living in this town of 2,000 souls.

The way that so many people just naturally and in a seemingly effortless manner started helping one another in so many ways was indeed a blessed instance of the goodness of humanity.

In the midst of difficulty, there was hope and joy and it was something to behold.

There were so many stories of neighbors helping each other -- ranging from simply checking to see if they were okay to spending lots of time and effort helping with such tasks as setting up a generator to provide light and warmth.

The atmosphere in the community shelter was especially inspiring. The number of people served, the quality of the food and the overall camaraderie went a long way in making this trying time easier to get through.

There will be lots of other difficult tasks in the days ahead as we all work to bring our community back to a more normal condition. But the sense of purpose and the caring for one another clearly has been established, so we are confident all will go well.

One of our favorite moments in this ordeal came when our next door neighbor, a teenaged student at RHS, was asked on television why she was helping serve in the community disaster shelter and said: "Because I am a nice person." She expressed it in a calm and straightforward manner.

In those simple words, she said it all -- there are many, many nice people in Rector.