We were melting ice on the stove for water.

Feb 24, 2021–Like many in the Texas Hill Country, we have been dealing with the consequences of having no power during more than a week of subfreezing temperatures. Here are some surefire tips on how to prepare for the next once-in-a-lifetime weather event:

Have good kids

Couldn’t have made it through this without the help of my children and family. From delivering groceries, fuel, and feed, to splitting logs and plumbing leaks, having kids is finally starting to pay off.

Kudos especially to my son, who kept the home fires burning, literally, while the rest of us hunkered in a hotel. He and his buddies hauled water from the creek, found wood to burn, fed livestock, made dangerous trips to town for supplies. I didn’t even mind when they found my whiskey and did donuts in the snow.

Inn on Baron’s Creek across from our shop was an oasis in a frozen desert

Have good neighbors

I hardly know where to begin. The crew at Inn on Baron’s Creek treated us locals as visiting royalty. On our very first call asking if rooms were open, they told us to come on in, don’t worry about a deposit or credit card number, and ended the call with the heartfelt wish to “be safe.” That was the start of 10 nights of amazing hospitality. From days starting with breakfast tacos catered by Twisted Sisters, and ending with egg rolls, gumbo, and spaghetti provided by Boudreaux Swamp Truck, this could have been a cruise. A very cold, stationary cruise.

Boudreaux’ Swamp Truck served up gumbo for guests

Expect the unexpected

When the restaurants opened back up, the first place I picked up lunch was Andy’s Grille. Don and Mary Wise not only filled my order with deliciousness, they brought it out to my car so I wouldn’t have to unbuckle the grandkids, and made sure I had a cherry pie to go with it. Er… half a cherry pie, as I told my family when I got home.

Families and neighbors gathered in the hotel to play games and visit

Don’t expect sympathy

Just as a crisis brings out the best in us, it also reveals our snide side. A lot of negativity popped up on social media, where people tend to post the first thought that pops into their heads. What bugged me personally were the comments from my Yankee brethren who mocked our Texas storm as “Tuesday.” I’d challenge them to handle a single weekend in Texas in August, only without power or water.

Confront your inner cavemen

Just as with the COVID crisis, when you scratch the veneer of civilization, we are savages fighting over scraps of toilet paper and jugs of water.

And yet there was beauty

Have good parents

I am neither a prepper nor hoarder, but I learned from my dad to always have several weeks of supplies and food on hand. We recently added a second refrigerator, mainly to keep our flours, breads, and grains from perishing to heat or insects, and a chest freezer to hold the meat we’ve harvested. I’ve never been one of those people who wait until they are on the last scoop of dog food to realize they need to buy more. So we were set to handle up to a week. Just not 10 to 12 days. At subfreezing temperatures. Without electricity, heat, or water.

Overall, there can be no lesson to be learned from an “unprecedented” event, of which we’ve had two in the past year. That’s the very definition of “unprecedented.” Every crisis is a crisis exactly because you can’t prepare for it.

Hopefully this time “once-in-a-lifetime” means that.

You’ll seldom see Main Street Fredericksburg this empty, in any weather