Never again will I watch a Hallmark movie where everyone gets snowed in, then plans an impromptu Christmas carnival on the town square and think “how romantic!” It’s safe to say we are all ready for Jack Frost to pack his bags and head back to his arctic home.
We will remember Valentine’s weekend of 2021 as the first time in history all 254 Texas counties were under a winter storm warning and the Texas Hill Country experienced at least six days of temperatures below the freezing mark. And sadly, far too many will also remember enduring those conditions without power and/or water.
The past few days I have thought so much of my mother and grandmother, who always seemed to have overstocked pantries and would say things like, “you just never know.” There were plenty of times I rolled my eyes as a kid, but in surveying my own kitchen this last week, I am so thankful to be a chip off their overly-prepared block. With or without power or water, I won’t go hungry.
I even sent my co-worker’s daughter a simple recipe for snow ice cream and we traded photos of our creations – hers was orangeflavored, mine peppermint. I was a little jealous that hers was topped with neon pink sprinkles. In the spirit of friendly competition, I scrounged a few chocolate chips for mine.
The Chamber offices have been closed since Friday, but I have never been more grateful for our Chamber members. I cannot imagine how exhausted the employees of our power providers must be, desperately trying to repair and sustain overburdened systems.
Lodging facilities have offered deeply discounted rates to residents in need of a warm place to stay.
There is a team of healthcare workers, including the CEO, camping out at the hospital so impassable roads do not keep them from their patients.
Meanwhile, home care and hospice workers helped transport patients without power to hotels or other family members to keep them safe.
Grocery workers are striving to serve, despite shortages created by interrupted delivery schedules.
And there are many other examples of our members sharing resources with one another and their customers to get us all through this.
We can all take inspiration from these members and do what we can to check in on and help one another.
I know I felt a little warmer inside upon receiving a call from a man who attends my same church. He knows I live alone and wanted to be sure I was doing okay and encouraging me to call if I needed help. It was a solid reminder most of the Lord’s work is done outside His walls.
There is something about adversity that often brings out the best in people. Yesterday I noticed the little girl who lives across the street playing with her parents. In her pink pants, gold glitter hoodie coat and rainbow mittens, she would be adorably hard to miss. Soon, more families were out and children and dogs ran wild along the pristine swath of snow.
Come to think of it, that’s a little Hallmark-esque right there.
McBride is the president and CEO of the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce.