Storm Disrupts — But Doesn’t Ruin — My Weekend

Broken Tree Limb

Fallen tree limb over gate to Pete’s Office

My weekend plans got scuttled when a violent thunderstorm swept through the Washington D.C. area Friday night leaving several hundred thousand residents without electricity. Power was knocked-out at both my house and office. Two huge tree limbs fell on my office roof.  Officials announced the next morning that it might be as long as five days before power could be restored.

On Saturday, temperatures hit a sweltering 101 degrees, according to the thermometer outside our kitchen window. Our house felt like an oven.

Fortunately, my son, Tony and his long-time girlfriend, Jessica, missed the blunt of the storm. They live in a newer subdivision not far from us where electrical lines are buried underground. They had electricity, air conditioning and telephone service.  As soon as Tony heard that our power was out, he invited us to move in. Two of  his brothers and one of his sisters took refuge there too.  Everyone but my 91 year-old father went gladly.  He reminded us that he had grown-up in a house without air conditioning and didn’t mind the heat.

The storm could have turned the weekend into a miserable, hot, and frustrating event. Instead, it became a fun, family gathering with everyone pitching in. Patti and I were able to return home within 24 hours. When we got there, I realized that  we had enjoyed a role-reversal.  As the parents of a blended family — that includes seven children — and as the primary caregivers for my parents, we have spent years trying to insure that everyone is safe.

Now, one of our sons was taking care  of us. I felt grateful and proud.

When I got my first Kindle, I discovered that I could ‘copy and paste’  passages from e-books into an electronic file.  I began saving sentences, paragraphs and statements that I wanted to remember. Some were examples of nice writing. Others were sayings that I wished to remember.  When I settled into my easy chair with the air conditioning blowing full blast, I opened that file and a quote seemed to jump out at me.

      “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” 

I want to remember that quote as I begin the work week  Monday — still without electricity in my office!


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.


  1. Was glad to have everyone over.