Eight hours & thirty minutes

I signed off yesterday with news that power had gone out at Second Chance Ranch. A band of severe thunderstorms blew through here just before 5pm, and embedded within that was a quick burst of straight-line winds that reportedly did considerable damage throughout the area.

Directly behind our house a large limb came down and landed on the lines that supply us with power, snapping a pole. Two doors down a big ol’ tulip poplar tree uprooted and brought down the feeder line to that pole. It was a double-whammy virtually guaranteeing that we’d be without electricity for quite some time.

Why? Because that power line serves only our home and two others. In the past we’ve always benefited from our spot between City Hall and the township garage, but this was an isolated outage on a small residential spur, so we were certain that we’d be at the bottom of the restoration list.

We were surprised, then, when two power-company trucks rolled up our driveway shortly before 8pm, looking for the best way to get through to the downed lines behind our lot. I asked one of the workers if they were there simply to clear the lines or if they planned to restore power.

“Oh, we’re gonna restore,” he said with a smile.

“No kidding? Would that have anything to do with the fact that the widow of the former police chief lives right there?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Maybe.”

Whatever the reason, they set to work quickly. Deb, the dogs and I kept watch on them as darkness fell and more trucks arrived to attack the problem. They brought out portable lighting and a bunch of electric power tools, extricating the lines from bent and broken trees.

Eventually we went to bed in our quiet and stuffy house, the only sound an auger digging a hole for the pole to replace the one that had snapped in two.

When Scout and Dipstick woke me up at 4:15am this morning the first thing I noticed was that I was cold. Then I heard the whoosh of the HVAC fan and the hum of the air conditioner outside our bedroom window. We had power again.

According to our security system, it was restored around 1:30am.

We know we’re fortunate to have been without power for just eight-and-a-half hours. Many of our neighbors have suffered far worse, not only yesterday but over the last few weeks (to say nothing of rolling blackouts prompted by high demand and maddening energy policy).

I walked out back this morning to survey what the crews accomplished last night. There were ruts in the soft ground from where the trucks had been, naturally, but these guys did a remarkable job of cleaning up the mess — and they did it in the dark after a long day that probably wasn’t over when they left here.

To wrap this up today, I want to point out that Second Chance Ranch isn’t served by AEP, a publicly traded company which boasts 5.5 million customers in 11 states. Our utility is South Central Power Company, an electric cooperative with 120,000 customers in 24 Ohio counties. Because SCPC is a co-op, we’re not just consumers of power — we’re shareholders in the enterprise that supplies it.

That makes a big difference, by the way, in the service we receive. If you know, you know.

One year ago today, we drove Ernie from Lubbock to Amarillo, detouring for diesel and a visit to Cadillac Ranch. The temp was 103°F with a “wind chill” of 102°F.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

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