The Ice Storm. If you were alive and here for it, you don't have to attach a date, or any other descriptors. You know what it was like, and you don't have any desire to go through it again.
It's hard to believe it was 10 years ago - longer than any of my kids have been alive. To them, it's just a story, something that gets brought up anytime the thermometer dips to new lows, like this week, if the forecast holds. "Yeah, it's cold," we say, "but at least there's no ice."
People talk about how fast things can change. One day your life is pretty much in order, and the next day your whole world gets flipped on its head. That was just about the case for a lot of us back then, in ought-nine.
We learned how dependent we had become on modern appurtenances. Things like electricity and water, and debit cards, and telephones.
People still dream of time travel, but that was a taste of life before all of those things, and an exercise in how they are all related. We could've all just driven somewhere warmer, but the gas pumps didn't work because there was no electricity, and the card readers wouldn't work without a data connection, and nobody could go to the ATM because again, no power, and so forth, and so on.
So we fired up the kerosene heaters or generators, or made friends with the people who had gas logs or furnaces. We hunkered down and gutted it out.
This is part of the reason I'm proud to be a Princetonian. We just don't quit, even if everything's going to h-e-double-hockey-sticks around us. Yes, we will complain, and we will hold a grudge against it like nobody's business (that's right, weather - we're watching you), but we're committed to sticking it out.
And we made it. The ice melted, the temperature climbed back to normal, and the power, day by day, came back on, thanks to concentrated, tireless efforts by electric crews - both local ones and allies from around the state, and around the country.
And then we went outside and took stock of the damage - limbs and trees down everywhere. Even today, the snapped branch-ends and stumps are visible, both in residential yards, timber stands and forestlands from Cobb to Crider.
We cut, piled, and burned our way into the spring, and began to make our way back to normalcy.
And we learned - what went wrong, and how to make it right. Trees were cut back off power lines. Backup generators were installed at most all essential service sites. Plans were reviewed and revised, to help ensure that should such a disaster happen again, the results would be less severe for all of us.
We're ready now - at least, more ready than we were. I don't think anyone out there's wishing for another ice storm to hit (and if you are, bless your heart and shut your mouth).