Derecho recovery, week 3: Tough times

Clean up continues … where one of Van Horne’s park shelters used to be.

By Jim Magdefrau

Well it finally happened. I was out back in one of my trees. I was trying to get the debris off of the ground. I pushed a branch one way to get to the debris. I forgot that when you move a branch out of the way, and then let go, it might come back.

Smack! Now I have a nice vertical line across my forehead, with not enough hair for a combover.

I felt like the Three Stooges minus two of the stooges.

Lesson learned

More adventures. The other day I borrowed a small saw. I was working on one of the tree branches in my front yard. I kept sawing as hard as I could, but it seemed the whole branch kept moving with the saw. It was almost as if … it wasn’t connected to the tree. Hmm.

Well it wasn’t connected to the tree. I pulled the branch out of the tree. I looked around and made sure nobody was watching.

The lesson learned? Don’t let people see what you saw with the saw.

It has been week three of cleanup efforts. Our area small towns did a great job of working together and making our towns look better. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbor by just helping to clean their yard.

It’s not just small towns. Our hearts go out to the Cedar Rapids people who had larger scale problems to deal with.

The outpouring of people who came to our towns to serve food and help clean was very heartening. It made one proud to be from Iowa.

We know that the derecho that came through Iowa did not get a lot of publicity outside of the state of Iowa. And I admire and I respect fellow journalists who worked on battery power and no showers to get the information and news out to everybody. Media colleagues told their stories and even told the story of how their story was not being heard elsewhere. This in turn got the story heard.

More impressive was the fact that without central coordination, area communities knew what to do. As an official pointed out at a meeting, people help their neighbors, people made sure their neighbors were OK, and people helped to feed their neighbors.

And after three weeks, it’s still pretty overwhelming. Lives and the landscape have changed forever. We might still wonder what the heck we can do about it.

Well, we start by picking up one stick. Take care of your yard. Take care of your neighbor’s yard. I know I will reflexively be picking up sticks for at least a couple months.

We might be small, we might be rural, and our story might not always be heard.

As a coach told me, we might not be gifted, but we can be tough. And being tough is a gift.

Here’s to being tough in tough times. And not getting smacked in the head.

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