MARTHA SEZ: Flat hair, cash only and generators after the storm
May 11, 2018


My friend Flora turned to me as she was entering the Keene Post Office.

"Isn't it amazing how we come to depend on these things!" she said.

I was in the parking lot, having just mailed some doll clothes to my grandchildren using postage stamps depicting great white sharks with daggerlike teeth. Flora was referring to a sign on the post office door advising postal customers that only cash and checks-no credit cards-would be accepted today.

No internet.

It's not Dave's fault, of course. Dave, the postmaster, and Sarah work hard to give us all flawless, cheerful service on a regular basis. Because of the big storm the night of Friday, May 4, however, the internet is down, and there is nothing they can do about it.

"So, three counties lost power, right?" I asked my friend Jennifer. "I heard it was Essex, Clinton and Franklin."

"It was more than that," she told me. "People lost power all over."

I hadn't realized the storm was that severe. I heard thunder and falling rain and then the clatter of hail on the roof. It was still fairly light outside, so I took a video of the hail with my cell phone. Nothing too impressive-none of the golfball-size hailstones you hear about on the news. After a while darkness fell, and then the lights in my house flickered a few times and went out, prompting me to wonder where I had placed my battery-operated Coleman lantern after the last power outage. No lights up and down the street. Even the streetlights were out.

A few minutes later the lights came back on, and various electronic devices made beeping noises from different rooms, signalling they were back in business.

No sooner had I heaved a sigh of relief than I was plunged once more into utter darkness. The rain had let up a little and I could hear the frogs peeping and shrilling out in the night. I went to bed.

In the morning I reached to turn on the light. No dice. Only a click. I repeatedly went to turn on electrical appliances over the next two days, even though I knew better. In the store where I work, customers were issued LED flashlights. In some of the darker rooms, you could see the lights bobbing along in a ghostly fashion.

"This isn't creepy at all!" a young man remarked.

Cash sales were ciphered out and change made with a money box and a calculator. Credit card information was copied down for later. Receipts, when demanded, were written out by hand. It wasn't so bad.

A lot of people had it much worse. A woman I know in Westport told me the wind lifted a panel off her roof, and other people lost shingles. Trees and power lines were down everywhere, blocking roads. People tell me they couldn't sleep for fear their houses were about to blow down. People driving to Keene on the Northway said they were afraid their recreational vehicles were going to be blown off the road. Of course, I slept through everything.

Life in the North Country did go on. My friend Dana told me she and her daughters went to a family wedding on Saturday, the day after the storm. They couldn't cook breakfast that morning.

"The only place we could find in Lewis was Betty Beaver's," Dana said.

"Is it still called Betty Beaver's?" I asked, knowing right where she was talking about.

"Yes. No. I don't know," she answered. "They had a generator, and we got coffee."

Then it was back home to take showers; four women sharing one tank of hot water before going to a wedding.

"My hair drier didn't work, so my hair was flat," Dana said. "And I was in the official wedding pictures!"

Luckily, the wedding was in Plattsburgh, and they had electricity by that morning. Everything turned out beautifully.

In Keene Valley, the roar of the Noon Mark Diner's generator was music to my ears. Coffee! Eggs and bacon! The diner was hopping.

In Keene, the ADK Cafe generator was also on the job and customers were swarming in to be served.

Sunday morning the lights came back at my house in Keene Valley, Sunday evening in Keene.

As I write this Tuesday morning, now we are just waiting for the internet. As Flora said, it is just amazing how we have come to depend on these things.

I don't think my grandchildren will be scared by those shark stamps. Do you?

Have a good week.


Regular Size Lake Placid News