Like many of you, I will never hear the word “ice” in a weather forecast without having memories of the 2009 history-making storm come rushing back. And although it’s been categorized as the worst natural disaster in Kentucky’s modern history, a decade later my memories aren’t all bad.
We had just enough of what we needed to keep us out of harm’s way.
Of course, I remember being cold as I watched the thermostat in my home inch down into the low 30s as hours turned into days with no power to run the heat. Just as the cold became almost unbearable, someone brought us a heater and my husband drove to Clarksville, Tennessee to buy kerosene to fuel it. And while I recall the foul odor of the kerosene, it provided just enough heat to warm our home.
I remember being inconvenienced as communication devices became useless. With no phones, no computers and no television, we turned to a transistor radio powered by AA batteries (that we amazingly had on hand). It stayed tuned to either WCBL or a radio frequency that at that time provided audio of WPSD Television broadcasts. We had just enough connection to events to keep us informed.
Because of the kindness of others neither me or my family ever became hungry. We had very little food in the house when the storm hit, but we never missed a meal.
We enjoyed homecooked meals with friends at our church, prepared on a gas stove, with whatever was available. With flashlights to illuminate store shelves, we shopped the dark aisles of King Brother’s in Draffenville, paying with cash borrowed from friends. We bought junk food and instant coffee prepared with water heated on our outdoor grill. I haven’t had instant coffee since 2009, but at the time it was just enough.
We had offers of a warm place to sleep, but we chose to stay in our home. We had just enough warm blankets and layers of clothing to find warmth at night.
Unlike many, we were able to maintain personal hygiene thanks to a gas water heater. Hairdryers, makeup and other beauty routines were unimportant. The warm water of the shower in a candle-lit bathroom was just enough at the time.
As the gas tanks in our vehicles inched toward empty, we began to limit trips. I laugh every time I travel the horseshoe loop on Hwy. 62 from Gilbertsville to Calvert City as I recall a challenging trip on that stretch of roadway. I had heard a gas shipment had arrived at Love’s Truck Stop and decided to go wait in line for fuel. Just as I got to the end of the loop, I met a large tree over the road and was forced to drive in reverse out of that circle. I’m sure if anyone happened to be watching it provided comic relief. Backing is not one of my best driving skills but they were just enough to get me out of that bind.
As we remember where we were, how we survived and lessons we learned ten years ago, I hope you, too, can agree that sometimes just enough is all we really need.