I’ll pass on the bread and milk

By 10 a.m. Monday morning, the bread and milk aisles at local stores were emptier than a politician’s promises.

At least the good milk, not skim. Apparently nobody wants skim milk even in perceived emergency situations.
I personally have never understood the compulsion to stock up on bread and milk when a potential “winter weather event” – that seems to be the popular word among meteorologist these days – is forecast.

Joel McNeece

If I thought I were going to be snowed in, iced in, or trapped in my home for any other reason, I’d want something more appetizing and less perishable than bread and milk. My shopping list would likely include lots of coffee, plenty of nabs, a couple dozen doughnuts and some more coffee.

Whatever the reason, both items had flown off the shelves by the time I hit the grocery stores on Monday, and as happens 99% of the time with snow predictions for our area, it was mostly all for naught.
Twenty years ago this week it was a different story. The ice storm of 1994 is largely considered the biggest winter weather catastrophe in this area.

I flipped back through the old issues of The Journal to see some of the coverage from the storm and read it required nearly two weeks for some Calhoun Countians to get power restored.
PEPA had to restore power to Bruce Hospital, now Bruce Community Living Center, nine separate times. PEPA, Natchez Trace, Supervisors, and city maintenance crews worked around the clock for more than a week to get things back on line.

My late father-in-law Gale Denley’s column noted that he bumped into PEPA employee Gordon Cook and both his thumbs were wrapped with black electrical tape because he had worn the skin off from operating the controls on a bucket-truck non-stop.
The same column noted that extension cords were running in all directions out of the newspaper office  to neighbors’ deep freezers and refrigerators.

The following week there were more stories of some of the hardships of many and some lighter stories submitted by power company employees regarding their visitors to the office as they worked to get power back on.
One man, whose power had been turned back on came in and asked if it could be turned back off.

“My wife has been sleeping in another bedroom  with her electric blanket for years,” the man explained. “But, while the power was off she came in and slept with me.”
Another man urged for the power company to get his mother’s power restored as fast as possible, fearful she might move in with him.

“If she does, I’ll never let you forget it,” he told the power company.
There was a picture of Curt Brasher using a pair of mules to haul fallen trees out of Spratlin subdivision and several others of trees on top of houses and across roads.

My father-in-law also noted that he visited Weeks’ Big Star with a flashlight where they were operating in the dark with a generator running two cash registers. His shopping list didn’t include any bread and milk, but several tins of viennas, sliced cheese and a couple boxes of crackers. He also stopped on the way home at Spearman’s Food King BBQ for some Polish sausage.

That’s how you survive an ice storm.

Email Joel McNeece at joelmcneece@gmail.com & follow him on Twitter @joelmcneece