Betcha $9 if I ask you a couple of years from now just how many days was it till your power came back on after Hurricane Ike, you’ll be able to rattle off all the intricate details. How you held your breath when the power first came on … and then jumped up and down on the couch. Be sure not to leave that part out. Yep, and you will probably be able to tell me not just the number of days, but the position of the hands on the old tick tock, in hours and minutes, and what light source or electrical appliance, hollered at you, “I’m alive,” first. For us, it was a blue lamp with little naked cherubs painted on the side. Geez, I never knew how much I loved that lamp till that very moment.  I have to say at the Frantz house, it was like the San Jacinto River parted and a choir of angels decked out in long white flowing robes plucked lute and harp at precisely 7:30 in the p.m. on day 10.  The timing was perfect as I saw my normally cheerful self on day nine turn into a bit of a Krabby Patty, made famous on those annoying Sponge Bob Square Pants cartoons. Sure, we had a small generator, which certainly made life more than bearable. Still, I found that the closer it got to bedtime, also the time we turned off the generator, the grouchier I became. The thought of climbing between those damp, warm sheets and trying to doze off was a bit of a struggle. On day eight we seriously contemplated purchasing a window unit checking them out at the local hardware establishment.  “Geez, you know as soon as we purchase one of those window units, we’ll get home and the power will be on,” hubby stated, and I optimistically agreed.  We would spend the next couple of hours hangin’ in our local hardware store rolling Mimi up and down the aisles in her wheelchair enjoying the store’s air conditioning breezes till closing time. I recall lingering in the ceiling fan department just a little too long. Yep, it was probably why that night I had the most delightful dream about moving fan blades. Our large hardware purchase turned out to be a piece of screen to fix one of the torn ones on a window we used to fish a couple of extension cords through. We may not be able to vacuum our carpets, but at least the Frantz family could be proactive in the bug and critter department.   It was at night when the generator was turned off that the night seemed stickier. Geez, but I’d kick myself for returning home too early. Mimi and I came back after four days in exile north of Austin. Sure, I knew we didn’t have our electricity back home yet before I pulled out of the Wal-Mart in Georgetown, north of Austin. The family truckster was loaded with a large ice chest filled with perishable items and a full tank of precious petrol. Hubby had told me how the grocery shelves back home were pretty much empty. Still, I imagined that the lights would be shining in the window when Mimi and I pulled into our driveway several hours later.   But the lights were to stay dark for four more days. And yet we survived. So did my neighbors. Mrs. Mac didn’t even have a generator, but the next day I found her in great spirits when I brought over a cup of hot coffee and some blueberry muffins. Her daughter, a teacher at the high school, told me the funniest story. She had gone to the grocery store looking for provisions. Admitting to appearing rather scruffy in appearance, as we all looked during those days without blow dryers, she was hoping not to run into anyone she knew.  “Is that you, Mrs. Bailey?” said one of her students in the grocery store.  “No Shawn, it is not me,” she said quickly walking away.  Before I left, I inquired if they needed any ice. I had brought a couple of bags still in their solid form from Georgetown. It was at that moment that they opened their ice chests to drain the water. You should have seen their provisions floating in a couple of ice chests full of nothin’ but cool water. They never complained.   Hurricane Ike memories … we’ve all got them. I’m just hopin’ that everyone out there can now say they have pleasant memories about when the power came on at their house.   Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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