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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: She could do what she could do

© Another Day in the Country

I’m sure that over 15 years of storytelling in this column that I’ve mentioned my sister’s first memory verse that she learned. It was the Bible text that spoke of Mary, “She hath done what she could.”

A short verse, well suited to a 2-year-old, and Jess memorized it finally after hours and hours of repetition.

When she arrived at church, she was asked to repeat her verse along with the other little kids in her class so that she could get a “sticker” on her chart. What came out of Jessica’s toddler mouth was “She could do what she could do!”

She got her sticker and we got a bi-line in our family.

What I could do this week was stay put with an inch of ice coating everything in sight. It was actually quite beautiful, in a sinister sort of way.

There was ice on the roses that were still blooming, ice on the pumpkin in the fall wheelbarrow display, ice on the tomato cages, and ice on the trees. You could hear the rifle-bark of cracking limbs as the burden of ice became too heavy.

It was because of the threat of ice that we cut our Thanksgiving celebration in Lawrence to a quick close and drove home Thursday afternoon in a deluge of rain. Oh, it felt good to get home!

We arrived just in time — as the ice was beginning to form on the roads at sunset. Snuggled down in a warm house, we waited to see what Mother Nature had in store.

On the first day, there was an inch of ice on the ground —everywhere like wet glass. And then drop by drop the ice began to accumulate on every other surface.

My family called from California with concern in their voices, “Are you staying put?” I assured them that I was.

On the second day of icy conditions, the electricity blinked, blinked again, and went off.

“Oh dear,” I said to myself, “better get ready for a siege without electricity.”

I found the extra flashlights, calculated how many hours until dark (three), found the candles for light, laid out bread, cheese, and an apple for supper. (It was easier to do some of these things while you could see.)

Then I settled down to read a book while there was still light. I was ready! “She could do what she could do!”

As native Kansans are prone to do, I remembered the last big ice storm that robbed us of power — 2007, according to my calculations and we were in the dark for 10 days.

“Shall we have Art start the generator?” my sister wanted to know. I suggested we wait for 24 hours in hopes the electricity would come back on. It actually came back on after an hour.

We silently gave thanks to Westar and rejoiced in the glow of light and the sound of the furnace kicking back on. How grateful I am for these comforts of life that we take for granted.

It wasn’t until Monday that I ventured forth with my camera to record the fairyland of ice sculptures in my yard and up and down the country roads.

It was breathtakingly beautiful with every leaf, every blade of grass encrusted in ice. Walking across my lawn was like treading on crystalline toothpicks and safer than the sidewalk.

Even though the sun was not out, the weather was warming by slow degrees. The ice covering the stop sign at the corner began to slip — a perfect replica of “STOP” in its familiar shape going sideways slowly but surely, until it gave away and broke on the ground.

The ice on the ash tree on the corner suddenly losing part of its covering as ice shards fall off the branches, causing more and more ice to fall like someone had dumped a giant ice bucket overhead.

I stayed away from under the trees, walking middle ground down the road, my camera clicking. I can see on the ground a perfect long, line-up of two-inch tubing in sections where the ice coating fell straight down from a power line.

Yes, there is damage. As the weather warms this week, we will all be picking up limbs and trimming trees.

Our hunter friends, here from Canada, unable to hunt pheasant because of all this ice, said, “Do you have a chain saw? We’ve got to have something to do!”

It is another day in the country and tomorrow they head home.

Last modified Dec. 2, 2015

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