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Ice storm memories from our readers

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Jill Glasscock-Dean
My Papaw died during that ice storm. Half the family didn’t have electricity trying to prepare and deal with a funeral. Kevin Ford came to my parents’ house and spent the afternoon picking up and hauling off massive amounts of tree limbs and debris in the cold without being asked. It was a huge act of kindness during a very somber time.

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Amy Riney
How could I ever forget the ice storm of 2009?! It was my senior year at Marion County High School, and the storm just happened to coincide with my 18th birthday. At the time, I thought the end of the world had come. The excitement of school being cancelled soon diminished when it became apparent that our days off wouldn't be any ordinary snow days. Lack of electricity, heat, and scarce water made for a potentially dangerous situation. Luckily, my family scavenged up a kerosine heater and a couple lamps from the basement. My mom was able to cook a large pot of navy beans and some cornbread using the heater. Of course this took several hours, but the wait was well worth the hot food. I had never been so happy to eat beans and cornbread in my life! I played countless hands of cards with my dad, and we all soon adapted to waking up and going to bed with the rise and fall of the sun. Within a week our electricity had been restored. The pine trees in our backyard looked rather horrendous, but we had made it through the storm in good condition, (and dare I say it?!), I had actually enjoyed being trapped inside the house with my parents. The storm had brought us together, literally and figuratively, and made for some good, old fashioned bonding time. Barbara SpaldingDanville HighwayLebanonThe first thing that comes to my mind about the ice storm five years ago is how close my husband and I came to dying.  We were overcome with carbon monoxide, and when I couldn't get my children here in Lebanon by phone, I called my son in Greensburg, never thinking to call 911. When he got here and called 911 we were taken to the hospital. I just want to thank all the people that helped us, ambulance people, hospital staff and especially my children and grandchildren for all their help. These people kept us alive. Thanks again to good help in Marion County.

Ollie Mae Wicker
It feels like only yesterday the 2009 ice storm came through and transformed our beloved county into what appeared as a stranger to us.
I can recall sitting awake the entire night at the window and listening to the falling ice that sounded just like a steady hard rain. The pine trees in the yard bent slowly towards the ground. With the passing of the hours those big limbs began to crack. In the distance I could hear the terrible breaking of larger and older trees slowly falling to the ground with one huge and final crash. I thought of movies and shows where trees only fall like that when someone cuts them down and yells, "Timber!"
The morning light revealed what appeared to be a world encased in crystal. A magical wonderland like in a fairly tale. But, this was no fairy tale.
We had no means of contact with the outside world since the ice had knocked out the power and phone lines. My husband quickly bundled himself up and took his chain saw in the four wheel drive. It took hours for him to cut a path to the main road where he soon met up with county road crews, the National Guard, and the fire departments. They joined together the next few days attending emergency meetings, clearing roads, passing out water, taking people to shelters, and doing welfare checks on the elderly and handicapped.
When my husband left each day, I had no clue when I might see him again. The days seemed to run together. Things had to be done and no thought was given to the clock.
Our simple, country, style of living meant that we had the basic needs here at home. There was gas heat, plenty of kerosene for heaters and lamps, candles, bottled water, lots of warm blankets to snuggle up in, shelves full of books to read, board games and cards to play, and a pantry full of canned garden foods. Oh, and plenty of hot coffee! Many found their way up our hill during those days where they could stay warm, take a hot shower, and get a big bowl of chicken or vegetable soup. Destruction appeared everywhere around us but there was a mightier force living within us and among us here in Marion County. In all of the ice and cold we found love, commitment, hard work, and dedication to one another. Love for neighbors, friends, community, and strangers. A way of life where people look out and care for one another. A place where we make it through because we do it together.
My memories of the ice storm are memories that live on in the heart more than the head. Thank you Marion County.

Doug Thomas
The ice storm was not all bad. My mother-in-law spent a week at our house because Terri's parents' home was one of the last ones in the area to regain power.  I got an awesome home-cooked meal every night and even the laundry done. 
It was awkward at first, but it was a memorable time having her parents spend so much time at once with us and finally be dependent upon us for a change.

It’s a Great Life if you don’t weaken
By Martha Young
New Pioneers
Originally published Feb 23, 2009

Ice storms and economic storms have a way of jerking us out of our routine and bringing focus to the elemental basics of life. Since our life on the farm here is slowly getting back to normal, we are reflecting on the past month as a way to appreciate what we have and looking to what is important and what is extra that we could do without. A list of positives and negatives seemed to put the storm in perspective.
Positive: Neighbors sharing equipment, water, gas and groceries.
Negative: A half mile of road covered with tree limbs and ice, requiring the chain saw to get out to the highway.
Positive: Four redbirds shining in sunlight in a crystal tree.
Negative: Maple tree tops upside down in the yard, covered with ice.
Positive: Rescue of the abandoned lamb left in the snow, named “Lucky” by the grandchildren.
Negative: Dealing with feed for farm animals through downed trees and power outage for a week.
Positive: Helping hands from Steve and Shannon for the farm work, water and food.
Negative: No running hot water for showers, laundry, or toilet use.
Positive: A local merchant’s delivery truck with generators (after a fruitless search in Louisville for a generator) and the generous effort by the local store and staff to take care of everyone’s need.
Negative: Sows having pigs in the worst of the weather.
Positive: A heritage breed of hardy pigs that gave us 25 little red wriggling piglets.
Negative: Three kids cooped up for a week without TV or electronic games.
Positive: Four generations of hands around the kitchen table at grace. “Bless us O Lord”
Negative: Cooking from a power strip without blowing the generator.
Positive: Sausage, apples, blackberry jam, and country egg breakfasts.
Positive: Spaghetti, lamb and beef meatballs, and sauce from last summer’s tomato harvest.
Negative: Rooster Bob did not survive the storm and was our first animal casualty.
Positive: Wrapped in blankets telling stories by candlelight.
Positive: Great-grandmother’s riddles for the children:  “As I was going to St. Ives…”
Positive: The RECC truck lights in the early dark morning outside the house, a belated Christmas present.
Positive: Seeing the grandchildren learn about living a life without electricity or running water, and how much they enjoyed no baths for a week.As we adjust back into a life with electricity and water, we realized that if we had to get by without the TV, and without many of the other conveniences, we could survive and live on the land. Paring life down to essentials forces a discipline and creates simplicity from distractions. As the country faces economic storms ahead the lessons from the ice storm may translate into choices for the future that will make our families, communities and country stronger. “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.”