Riding the storm out (with Jon King)

I wish I could've found a better photo of Jon, but I didn't. I had to crop and blow up a photo of the poster from the Livingston Reads! program.

When I returned home from a meeting Tuesday morning, the house was quiet. Really, really quiet; not just me-home-alone quiet.

I listened for sounds — any sounds — before I realized the power was out. Not a motor stirring, no Internet whirring, which meant the work I needed to do was out of luck!

I called the outage into DTE. Then, when Howell’s tornado-warning siren went off, I gathered the essentials — laptop, flashlight, battery-powered lantern, cell phone, landline phone, purse — and headed to the basement.

I found the battery-powered radio, sat on the old couch, and tuned into WHMI-93.5 for storm news.

For the next half-hour or so, the radio station abandoned its regular programming. The voice of WHMI’s news director, Jon King, kept me company as I wondered what the heck was going on outside. I could see ground level from the basement windows, but that gave me no sense of how bad the storm was.

When it looked like someone switched the lights off outside, I turned the lantern on and searched around the basement for protection. (Warning to husband: we’ve got some cleanin’ to do!) I spied a big, plastic storage container, and decided that if things started flying, I’d put it over my head.

Then I sat and waited, happy to have Jon’s friendly, calm voice tracking the wind and rain across the county. I felt reassured as Jon chatted with emergency personnel and updated the path of the storm, warning where and when it would pass.

I don’t often think about the power of someone’s voice, but there you have it — Jon’s calm, collected banter made me feel so much better.

When the sky outside turned black and rain beat the window, Jon let me know the storm was moving quickly. Several minutes later, he let me know the worst of it had passed.

I relaxed a bit, quit my hunt for head protection, and gave thanks for Jon.

Now, I’ve known Jon King for many years, most of which were as a competitor when I worked at the local paper. Currently, we are colleagues on the LACASA board of directors. Today, though, Jon earned the title of the “other man” in my life.

Through the storm, Jon holding my hand (or is “bending my ear” more accurate?) made what could have been a pretty nerve-wracking time a lot less so. Jon was clear and calm, and after listening to him for a bit, so was I.

When regular programming resumed, I heaved a huge sigh of relief and emerged from the basement, only to find DTE folks all around my house.

One of the electrical wires coming into my house had snapped off the pole, with a lot of help from the wild, whipping wind.

It was a scary slice of time, for sure, and I’m glad I had such a reassuring voice guiding me through it.

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