There’s nothing like a disaster to bring out the spirit of cooperation and the chainsaws.
On Monday morning, crumpled parts of once beautiful trees blocked five of the six roads leading out of my neighborhood east of the
Oklahoma campus in
Norman. One block in particular was a jumble of limbs, some as thick around as an oil drum. There, residents, at least one with a chainsaw, joined forces, working most of the day to untangle and clear their street.
On another street, I saw several people trying to clear the road of limbs with handsaws. I knew then that my chainsaw — that screeching two-stroker that had just helped clear my driveway and that of a neighbor of fallen oak tree limbs — must do its part. Returning with the saw after the others who were here had left, I hacked at the limbs blocking the street. Before I was halfway through moving them, another guy driving a pickup pulled up and began helping haul them to the side. Turns out he was considering buying a home in the neighborhood and had been just passing through that morning.
Most residents in this heavily wooded addition had their own adventures with falling limbs. Limbs landed on my roof, on the neighbor’s roof and on power lines connected to each of our houses. I helped the neighbor clear limbs from her power line and propped up supports beneath a giant cracked limb that had stretched but not severed my home’s power line. With each limb that leaped to its death, there were the same sounds. First there was the sharp, echoing pop that reminded me of cracking ice of glaciers in
Alaska, followed by the sound of falling ice and debris and the thud of whatever it landed on.
In my backyard, that was almost me. As I stood in front of a storage shed, a 35-foot cedar tree gave way and, fortunately, landed across the top of the shed instead of my head. My shivering at that point had little to do with the ice that showered down on me.
David Zizzo, Staff Writer
A cold night without electricity turned into a fun adventure for my grandsons, Chandler Walker, 14, and his brothers, Calvin, 9, and Cole, who turns 7 today. When the electricity went out in their Norman home and there was no dinner, my daughter Michelle Walker cooked a “campfire” dinner in the fireplace.
She used a cast iron skillet to make spaghetti, ground beef, and sauce.
The kids bundled up in extra clothes, and after dinner they roasted marshmallows on the fire.
“We had fun doing this, and the kids just loved it,” Michelle said. “We made a memory with this. We put batteries in the radio and listened to Christmas music.”
It was a relaxing family night, and they appreciated the quiet in a way they didn’t expect. A bath by candlelight was another adventure for the kids.
I learned about 5:30 p.m. Monday that the electricity was off at the home of my 79-year-old mother in
Tulsa. She cannot see well enough to drive after dark, the roads were too slick for her to get out of her home to go elsewhere, and officials were predicting the power could be off for a week or more. So my wife and I decided to take the chance on the threat of icy roads and drive to Tulsa to “rescue” Mom and bring her back to
Oklahoma City, where our home still had power.
We saw a half-dozen salt trucks keeping the Turner Turnpike drivable during our trip. But the darkness and fog along the 90-mile stretch was eerie. All of the turnpike’s rest areas were dark, with only the parking lights of semi-trucks marking their locations. News accounts had indicated about 70 percent of
Tulsa was without electrical service, and the temperature was holding near freezing. Entering the outskirts of
Tulsa, pockets of light accented the darkened city. But most striking to me was that upon arriving at the edge of the city, heavy in the air was the smell of burning wood — it was as if all the residential fireplaces in
Tulsa must have been in use at the same time!
Don P. Brown, Features copy editor