Not so here in Cherokee County Georgia in 2014. This snow/ice storm that closed down Georgia for a couple of days has provided everyone an opportunity to see that Mother Nature is no respecter of persons or states, and that their governments can do many things in times of emergency but they can be caught unprepared just like real people and their families.
Our first phone call early Wednesday morning was from Dave Collins, our home teacher. He called to see if we were all right or if we needed anything. Our second phone call was from John Mitchell, the same John Mitchell who rescued Joan and me a couple of years ago when Cherokee County was gripped in another ice storm and hadn’t made it home from Canton because Towne Lake Parkway was iced over.
We were parked in the local Publix parking lot when John called and said he was on the way with his four-wheel vehicle. Our daughter Pam had called John. John and his wife took us home for the night and fed us breakfast before returning us to our car at Publix. I’m grateful for such friends and neighbors.
Following these phone calls I called each of the families I’m assigned to watch over in our congregation. All were well. One family, Larry and Beverly Baker, had been in Canton on Tuesday and it took them three hours to get home but were now safe and didn’t need any help.
I jokingly told them if they needed assistance I would have to put on my Superman Cape and fly over to their place, up on the highest hill here in Eagle Watch. A part of our watch program is that after we check on our families we report to our group leader who in turn reports to our bishop.
By noon the bishop knew every member of his congregation had been accounted for and even knew one member walked several miles to reach home after being forced to abandon his car. It’s a nice feeling knowing there are those who are concerned for me and my family during such natural emergencies — in all seasons of the year.
While talking with another family, David and Joyce Bell, I learned deer had been all around their home looking for something to eat. We then looked out back and, sure enough, found deer tracks in the snow on the patio.
Then looking out the front door I noticed an abandoned car and a hill that will be iced over for a couple of days, preventing us and our neighbors from getting up that hill. Then neighbors’ children began to show up with their sleds — with their dogs tagging along, heading for the golf course to fully enjoy their school winter wonderland holiday, by sliding down the golf course hills on their snow sleds. Kids can usually adjust more quickly to such emergencies than do their parents.
Another observation from this winter storm was made by watching our birds. Our birds told us long before the weather forecasters that a big storm was on its way. I can see our bird feeder from my office window and all winter long the birds have been right on target, predicting the weather; at least a day before a cold spell or a big winter storm hits the area.
On Monday I said to Joan there is a big storm on the way. But no way was I expecting the storm that would literally shut down the entire state. But it did.
During this snow storm I sat and watched my birds prepare for this storm. I’m fascinated watching the birds come to the bird feeder all dressed out in their winter coats to feed. Their feathers, when puffed up, act as their insulation layer from the cold. Equally fascinating is the bird’s pecking order. And each bird fully understands their place in this pecking order. When the blue jays or thrashers show up, the smaller birds quickly scatter, waiting patiently for their turn to return to the feeder.
Yes, Wednesday was truly a Winter Wonderland here in Eagle Watch.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.