I would not have made a good pioneer living on the prairie in the late 1800’s. To survive, you had to hunt and grow your own food. You had to build your own living quarters and all the other challenges. Plus, they did not have electricity! How did they do it?
When you don’t have electricity for a few days it really makes you appreciate how it makes your life easier. Thursday, May 12th will be remembered for a long time by many of us. 94 mph winds in Madison toppled many trees and tore roofs off homes and destroyed many farm buildings. I had a friend text me from Brookings telling me that 100 mph winds just went through there and it was headed my way. I saw social media posts from friends in Brookings and Gary, South Dakota. I kept looking at the radar on my phone and knew this wasn’t going to be good for Madison around 6pm. I called my wife and warned her, she got our patio furniture and grill in the garage. I was at the radio station with Maynard preparing and waiting for the storm to hit.
Maynard and I went outside and looked around the corner and saw this dark wall cloud approaching Madison. The clouds were very low and moving fast. We both started taking pictures and videos with our phones. The clouds were on us and the first thing I noticed was the sound of the wind. It was a deep roaring sound, I backed up around the corner of the building shielding myself from the wind. I started my video again just as the wind started destroying things. I noticed debris blowing by me at a high rate of speed, driving rain and a loud sound. Mother nature was putting on a show. I posted that video on my Facebook page and as of Sunday it had over 140 shares and 12,000 views.
The power went out around 6pm Thursday. I arrived home about 11pm that night. Roxie had a few candles burning to give some light in the house. To make a long story short, Roxie and I learned a valuable lesson in all this. We were not prepared for an emergency such as what was happening to us. We had no electricity for about 30 hours! This is what we learned. We need to buy a generator, we had to throw some of the food we had in our refrigerator out. We put some food in our largest cooler with ice and that helped. Our sump pump wasn’t working, so we had a little water in our basement. Our internet was down, so no television. For a while cell phones were down and we couldn’t communicate.
Roxie went and sat in her car to charge her cell phone. I heard a lot of people were doing that. We had no working flashlights and didn’t want to use the flashlight on our phones because it drained the battery too fast. We didn’t even have a battery radio in the house, so we could get information. I know a lot of people had it worse than us, especially out on the farms, but what an inconvenience for a few days. I can guarantee you this, I will be buying a generator this week, a battery radio, flashlights with extra batteries, emergency kits and anything else I can think of.
A few years ago, I interviewed 105 year old Lyla Strand from Milan. I asked her what was the biggest change in her life. She answered “Electricity!” She went on to say how she remembered when electricity came to her family farm and how it made their life easier. She said electricity changed everything. I agree with Lyla. I was overjoyed when the power came back on in our house at 11:20pm Friday. I shouted out loud “Thank you God” I will be thinking about electricity every time I throw on a light switch, make toast, pop popcorn on my electric stove, sit at the computer, or turn on the tv and I will be saying every time, “Thank you God”. Every time!