There is nothing like not having something to make you appreciate when you do have it, as well as those responsible for providing it to you.
One of the hazards of living in the Deep South is the normal occurrence of summertime thunderstorms. In fact, they are so commonplace here that meteorologists are seemingly every day warning us about the dangers associated with them. In truth, many of us take them as just something we must endure and do not give the warnings and preparation the attention it truly deserves.
So, first, let me give a shout of praise for those weathermen and women who provide us with the early warnings about dangerous storms, knowing full well so many of us don’t take them as seriously as we should. And we shouldn’t blame them if they sometimes get it wrong, and err on the side of caution. Weather forecasting for the next 24 hours is really just an educated guess, let alone making predictions for the next 7-14 days.
These people put in long, grueling hours of constantly talking to us on the air, watching radar and storm tracking equipment, and grabbing short naps during breaks in the activity. It is not uncommon for them to spend 24-36 hour stretches at the studio, all making sure we can be made aware of impending storms. We can cut them a little slack if they over-react on occasion, because if they save just one person from harm or death, it was worth a little inconvenience to us.
Next, the local municipality utility crews, who venture out into the teeth of the storm as it is still raging to restore power and light services to the citizens. Just this morning, the power at my house went off after a lightning strike, and the city workers, who probably had not even arrived for work today at the time of the strike, were out in force within the hour. I could see them from the safety and relative comfort of my living room, as they lifted the buckets up into the air to repair whatever damage had been done on the utility poles.
It was raining hard and there were flashes of lightning still going on around the area, but these dedicated individuals and teams continued their efforts, and my power was restored in less than two hours from the strike. They could have waited until the storm passed to make repairs, but bravely faced the conditions, because they also know how we have come to rely on electrical services to get us ready for work, cook our meals and enjoy our air conditioning. They deserve our grateful thanks.
Coincidentally, my water stopped working at the same time as the lightning strike. If you think you rely on electrical service, just try getting by without water for a while! Fortunately for me, I had made my morning coffee before the storm hit or I may have been a little more agitated! I managed to melt a few ice cubes on the warmer from my coffee pot to get enough water to brush my teeth, but it looks as if the shower will have to wait a bit.
Still, by the time I realized the water was not functioning and called to report it to my city utility department, a pleasant-sounding young lady informed me the lightning strike had hit a water main near my house, and the city water crews were already on the scene making repairs. Again, the storm was still in progress as the crews were on the job, early in the morning hours.
The local cable television truck just passed by, so I know they are on the job as well, and will soon have services restored.
Sometimes we take such services for granted. An occasional outage can make us appreciate the reliability and functionality of the power, water, gas and cable services the municipalities and companies provide.
Also, we sometimes take for granted those hard-working women and men of the utility departments. Those workers who jumped out of bed while we hid under the covers to restore lost services to their customers deserve a round of applause. My hat is certainly off to them.
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