A Tribute to the Linemen Diligently Working to Return our Power
Please forgive the blurry nature of these photos, but these are some of the most beautiful sights that I have ever seen. So beautiful in fact, that I sat at the window at 2 a.m. and for an hour I simply watched. I watched and I prayed in thanks and I prayed for the safety of the men that you really can't see in these photos.
Let's go back in time.
Just like so many others across East Texas, we lost our power Wednesday morning. I was at the Brookshire Brothers in Hudson when the lights started to flicker and eventually went off. I wasn't surprised. With the amount of freezing rain that we had, I knew that it basically was a matter of when the power was going to go out, and not if.
When I got home, I was not shocked that the power was out. However, I was stunned by what I saw. Falling limbs had taken down two utility poles on our property. Here's one of them.
I knew that this was very bad news. Oncor would first need to address the bigger issue of getting power back to the many in the Hudson area before they even thought about the few customers that were affected by the downed poles in my yard. Several folks told us replacing poles and then getting them rigged up with lines and a transformer could take weeks.
Weeks? Fourteen days or more?
In 1969, it took astronauts 8 days to go round trip to the moon. Heck, they even had time to hit a few golf balls while they were up there. Our family started laying out whatever contingency plans we could think of.
On Thursday morning, Oncor came out to take a look. The young man was down from Texoma. I greeted him and told him about the downed poles. He viewed the damage, took his work hat off and rubbed his forehead...twice. I guessed that each forehead rub probably meant one week each. I thanked him and his co-workers for their diligence and dedication.
On Friday, a flurry of activities happened. Three new poles were dropped off (they discovered another damaged pole nearby), a company that specializes in using high pressure water to dig holes showed up and made quick work of digging the holes needed. I thought nothing could dig deep holes quicker than our two labs -- I was wrong.
Later in the afternoon a crew showed up to set the poles in those holes that were dug. So, now the question was when would we get the power crew to come back to run the lines, put up a new transformer, and install all the other things like insulators, cut outs, etc...We were hoping sometime Saturday after sun up, but we would be thankful whenever Oncor could send a crew.
And that brings us to the early morning hours of the pictures above. At 2 a.m., my wife woke me from under the 15 pounds of blankets and asked me if I heard the sounds. At first, I thought I should be listening for the sounds of water gushing from a busted pipe, but my wife doesn't usually smile and act giddy when catastrophes happen, so I figured I should be listening for something else.
The first thing I heard was the rumble of trucks outside our bedroom window, then I saw the off and on glow of the flashing lights piercing through our curtains. My gosh! Christmas lights never twinkled so pretty. I peeked outside the blinds and saw several crews along with a team of cherry pickers ready to get to work. There was also a team from a tree service taking down limbs quicker than you can say 'I love you' 10 times fast. I know because that's what I kept on saying.
By the way, one of the coolest sights and sounds I've ever experienced is that of chain saws echoing at 2 a.m. while the flashing amber lights shimmer and reflect through the freezing fog. I'm sure the folks with the chain saws didn't share my view.
So, there I sat watching the linemen work their magic in 19-degree weather. They stayed at it until well after daybreak.
Judging by the logo on the side of their trucks, I believe these contracted workers were from J&L in Edgewood, Texas. By 7:30 that morning, they were done. A couple hours later, power was restored. Mission control, the eagle has landed, and it only took a couple days to complete.
To all the line workers (men and women alike) who have been working 20 hour shifts day after day in order to get our lives back to normal, you all are heroes in every sense of the word. You are doing God's work and please know that we appreciate you and that we are praying for you. To the unknown linemen who restored our poles and power in the freezing conditions, I wanted so much to bring you a hot thermos of coffee, but then I realized I didn't have the power to make you any. I thought about bringing you some ice cold beers, but I figured that company policy probably frowned on that, what with working with umpteen jigawatts of electricity.
In all seriousness though, God bless you and thank you for doing what you do everyday for all of us.