Archived Story

Life in the dark during a severe T-storm

Published 9:27am Monday, June 17, 2013

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

Here I am handwriting my column again. This time, trying to get it done, so as soon as the electricity comes back on, I can put it in the computer and whisk it away into cyberspace.

Julie Seedorf
Julie Seedorf

As usual I was procrastinating. What do I write about? Then Mother Nature took it out of my hands. The winds blew, the electricity powered off and golf-ball-size hail hit the windows and toppled trees.

The house is now quiet, amazingly quiet. There are no refrigerators or motors running, no beeps reminding us of phone calls and no computers or monitors whirring away. The television sits silent. The only noise is coming from outside and it is the sound of chain saws and emergency vehicles working hard to help the people of my community.

My husband lights the old-fashioned oil lamp that came from my grandmother’s house. Her memory lives on in the storm along with my mom because they kept this wonderful invention and now in these fast electronic times that oil lamp still has its use. I used it to keep on editing “Fuchsia, Minnesota,” which I had started rereading and marking up before the power went off.

Yes, my life could go on.

The ribs that we had in the crock pot got finished by manually lighting the burners on my gas stove, and we were able to fill our stomachs and have light at the same time.

Walking around the neighborhood and helping those who have worse damage than us reminded me of the heart part of living in a small town, the people, who in times of crisis band together to help one another.

I go to bed in a dark, quiet house.

It is 3 a.m., and I am awake. I think my body is not used to such quiet. There were no red lights beaming through the night lighting my way. I decide to sit in the window seat. Natasha and Borris join me and look out into the beautiful night. The stars seem brighter tonight but that is because there are no lights to dim their brightness. How beautiful they are, and how sad it is that we don’t see them as they should be seen in town, night after night, because of our modern conveniences. We seem to think dark streets are scary and eerie.

Life seems richer because of the stars. I wonder if perhaps we should get rid of the TV, turn out all the lights and turn everything off once in awhile to sit in the quiet with our oil lamp and enjoy the peacefulness of no machines.

All of a sudden there is a click. The kitchen light comes on, the refrigerator starts running, the subtle noises that are always in the background because of our modern conveniences again take over the night. The little red lights on the appliances are on. Our phones are on and life as we now know it can go on.

We were lucky, we didn’t have much damage but our community got hit pretty good. I was able to enjoy the peacefulness but others were out working all night to repair services that were needed and to repair buildings that were damaged. That is also part of living in a small town.

Thank you to the people from the utility companies who got our power back on and had to work in nasty weather and blackness, which I am sure caused danger to you. Thank you to the street department that worked long and hard to clean our streets.

Thank you to all the emergency crews that were out there helping. The fire department and the police were out in force helping. We don’t value these emergency crews enough. Thank you to everyone that helped each other in this time of emergency. They are the real heroes today and every day. Tell your kids that heroes aren’t only on the television and movie screens. Tell your kids that they live among heroes every single day.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at