Darkness reminds family of true light, other blessings

On Thursday, April 11, the wind and freezing rain plastered their heavy ice crystals on the snow-laden countryside of southeastern Minnesota.  Many electric poles succumbed to the weight of the elements, leaving many homes and farms without power.  The Randy and Wendy Grabau farm near Forestville was one of those homes.  

Life changed in a hurry.  Wendy’s plans to use her oven for baking were foiled.  Randy’s power tools were useless.  The computer went black.  The furnace fan became silent.  The radio with its daily update of news was mute.  Even some clocks went dead. The landline telephone still worked, but soon that ended.

So, Wendy dug out her candles.  She fueled up some oil lamps to illuminate the darkness once the sun went down.

Since Randy used a generator to power up the farm, the Grabaus had two hours of power twice per day.  With that energy, he could use the milker to milk the cow.  That also allowed power to provide two hot meals and to keep the refrigerator, freezers and the furnace fan working.

Thinking that they were going to visit friends that evening, in the powerless house Wendy went to set her hair.  But alas, the curling iron, which was electric, was out of use.  So, she curled her hair the old way. . . with pin curls.

The sun got low and the shadows crept in.  Candles and oil lamps flickered to give light that was needed.  With television, videos, internet and radio all down, they saw the opportunity to visit and play pinochle by candle light.  

Wendy searched the house and found alarm clocks that worked by battery or main springs.  Their tick-tock, tick-tock rhythms continued on through the night. 

With the absence of light after dark, Wendy was reminded of a couple of Bible verses, “The Lord is my light and salvation, whom shall I fear, The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 and “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 119:105.  Even darkness reminds us of the true light.

The next day, April 12, before the clock’s alarm went off, the shrill, piercing call of a cardinal served as the wake-up call for Randy and Wendy.  By 6 a.m., the light of dawn started its trek into the farmhouse.  

While Randy milked the cow, Wendy saw her chance to make a pound of butter and boil a dozen eggs to set aside for an upcoming meal.   They drew and stored up water for washing and cooking to use while the water pump was unusable.  

With the absence of power for active work, the Grabaus set about to use their time for quiet things like reading, studying, writing, needlework and drawing.  Randy began to read a novel to his family. 

A hopeful sign came when the house phone line came back into service.  Arvig Telephone Co. had placed a generator near its service pole not far from the Grabau home to aid reception.

On the third day, a MiEnergy truck drove by the Grabau home.  That turned out to be a premonition that the neighborhood would soon be getting its power restored.  By lunchtime that day, power flooded the Grabau home.  

The folks they had prayed for, the linemen and others who served to restore the power, had labored hard and served them well.

Wendy Grabau