It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
Borrowing heavily from Charles Dickens, this was the sentiment expressed in the wake of winter storm Riley, the nor’easter that barreled through our area on March 2nd. Bringing heavy wind, rain and a powerful storm surge, Riley truly embodied the old adage “March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.” With the second nor’easter in a week in our rearview mirror, I can tell you that lamb can’t come soon enough.
There were those of us who experienced Riley’s “best of times.” We lost power for only an hour, staying safe and warm and cozy in our homes. We didn’t lose cable or internet. Our sumps continued to pump, keeping our basements dry. When the skies cleared the next day and the temperature rose to 40 degrees, you could almost believe that spring was waiting just around the corner.
And then there were those who experienced the “worst of times”. Folks who lost power for days on end. Whose basements flooded up to the bottom of the steps. Who had trees fall on their driveway or their car or their power lines. These are the folks who had to bundle up in multiple sweaters and socks, who, if they were lucky enough to own a generator, traveled like nomads from station to station in search of gas. Entire towns like Duxbury, Scituate and Norwell remained in the dark for days.
My family was one of the lucky ones this time around, or as one tongue-in-cheek post Facebook post called us, The Beautiful People. How well I remember a winter storm several years ago that knocked out power in a number of neighborhoods, including mine, only to have the temperature plummet to single digits. For those three frigid days we cooked on our gas grill, shoved all our food into a cooler out on the porch and sent the kids to bed with hot water bottles. When a friend asked us over for a hot meal, we accepted without hesitation. She invited us to bunk down in her warm house for the night and we were just about to accept when, lo and behold, our power was restored. It took days to shake that chilled-to-the-bone feeling. I was thankful to avoid that experience again, this time.
Experiences like this bring out both the worst and the best in us. For every incident of someone getting into a fistfight at the gas station, there were several other instances of people lending a sump pump, a generator or a chainsaw to a neighbor in need. For every complaint about long waits and slow service at the one restaurant in town that was open for business, there were diners who were simply grateful for a warm place to sit and a hot meal. For every grumbling post on social media about having to endure 72 hours without power, there was someone else offering perspective, citing our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, some of whom still have not had power restored months after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s infrastructure. My husband’s family went a month without water, several more without power. Even now, they experience regular blackouts.
While some groused about how long it was taking for utility workers to restore power, many more chose instead to sing the praises of those brave workers, many of whom came from out of state and even Canada, working around the clock to bring whole communities back on line. The most beautiful sight in town became those orange signs saying, “Utility Work Ahead”, and those wonderful, marvelous cherry pickers parked alongside the road.
That same social media post about the “beautiful people” jokingly referred to those without power as”…living on Walton’s Mountain”. I’m guessing the post’s author was referring to the way in which this television family barely scraped by, wearing hand-me-downs and living hand to mouth. I can imagine after a few days without a hot shower or a warm bed, eating peanut butter sandwiches and tuna from a can, you might feel like one of the Waltons. And yet, it was those same Waltons who, though they didn’t have much, were more than willing to share it with their friends, neighbors and loved ones. This seemed to be the case with many of our friends and neighbors in town. Those with power reached out to those without, offering food, tools, a hot shower or a meal. Flooded basements were dried out, firewood was delivered and nearly everyone offered words of support to the discouraged. The vibe in town post-storm was very much like an episode of “The Waltons” one in which everyone in town pulls together to help each other out of a jam. The vibe post-storm echoed another running theme of “The Waltons”: Love thy neighbor.
Though we may not be out of the woods yet when it comes to winter weather, it’s nice to know that, come what may, we’re a community that cares enough to look out for each other, through the best of times and the worst of times.
John Boy would approve.
The Pajama Game
2018 marks the 11th year of the Boston Bruins Pajama Drive. Working in partnership with Cradles to Crayons, the Department of Children and Families and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the drive collects new pajamas for local children living in low income and homeless situations. This year, Hanover High School’s Be Better Club will be participating in the pajama drive. New children’s pajamas can be donated to drop boxes located at each of the Hanover schools as well as the Salmond School. The drive runs through March 15. The Bruins have set of goal of collecting 15,000 pairs of pajamas this year. Let’s help them meet their goal.
Who Loves Pancakes?
And speaking of Lions…did you know that Lions make the best pancakes? The Hanover Lions Club, that is. Mark your calendar for the club’s annual All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast. This year’s event will be held this Sunday, March 18 from 8-11 a.m. at the Hanover Senior Center, 665 Center St., Hanover. In addition to pancakes, enjoy eggs, sausage, coffee and juice. Adults are $7, Seniors and children age 6-12 are $5 and kids under 6 eat free. A family of four or more is just $22. All proceeds to benefit local Lions supported charities.
That’s all for this week. Please send me your birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements, military news, honor roll and other important accomplishments. You can reach me at email@example.com or call me at 781-826-5958.