After all the chaos here on the East Coast from the hurricane, I thought I might as well make some blog material out of it!
I left the Priests for Life office Friday evening; our office was ‘smack dab’ in the middle of the mandatory evacuation zone! I headed home with puppy Georgio, making sure I had plenty of bottled water, flashlights, batteries, etc. I put all my patio furniture in the garage and prepared to ‘hunker down.’
The rain started around noon on Saturday and didn’t stop for another 24 hours. It poured like a faucet on full strength, and the wind was loud and fierce. I thought that would be the extent of it,
but at about 3 am, I woke up to a loud crash just in time to see the sky literally light up. Seconds later, the power was out. I knew the drama had begun, starting with a nonfunctioning basement pump…! I made my good faith effort at keeping up with the water as a one-woman bucket brigade, but it was useless, and I finally decided to go back to bed and face the disaster in the morning…
The next morning, I learned that 90% of my town was without power – and my basement had 7 inches of water… And that loud crash from the night before? It was a giant oak tree – roots 3 yards in diameter – that had fallen *two doors* away from my house and taken all the power lines, a car, and a transformer with it!
So now I had no power and there was water, water everywhere! What was I to do? Well, when the going gets tough, the tough go to Church!
I went over to noon Mass at St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen. Even the Cathedral had no power; it was truly like stepping back in time: No electricity, no speakers, just dozens of candles and the souls of the faithful! It was actually a very beautiful experience. The priest asked us in our homily to take advantage of this opportunity to slow down with our normal routine and bring our focus back to Christ and to assist our neighbors in need. It’s amazing how God has the power to bring us back to the basics through these forces of nature! It was a really uplifting message to hear when things looked so bleak!
As if in answer to my prayers at Mass, three chivalrous gentlemen from Priests for Life (Mark Valonzo, his brother, Val, and Ruben Obregon) came all the way from Staten Island to help me with my pump. We walked over to the fallen oak tree and couldn’t believe the damage. I thought I wouldn’t get power back for a week. But thanks be to God, the next morning we did it back. I felt like the characters in the Poseidon Adventure (You Baby Boomers know that film reference! You younger readers might have to look it up!)
It was a noisy day today – Walking around the neighborhood, I couldn’t help but think of that beautiful Christmas song, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – “With generators running and chainsaws buzzing…!”) Let’s just hope this isn’t an annual occurrence…