Power outage makes an interesting Sunday

Six hours of no electricity made for unusual dynamics on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus today. Power went off just before 9 a.m. and didn’t get restored until after 3 p.m.

We have church at 10, so getting ready with darkened bathrooms and no blow driers made for some interesting looks on students walking into church. We do have an emergency generator, to keep emergency lights, heat and crucial systems on campus going in case of problems, but 90% of campus was without power.

After church, darkened homes, and no televisions or computers made for a perfectly easy way to get everyone outside on a lovely day. Bikes were popular, and the playgrounds were full of activity. A couple of the homes hiked to the park. The Carola boys asked me to let them into the Rec Center so they could get some fishing poles for the home and go down to the river and try their luck at landing some walleye.

Cooking was an inconvenience, but we have lots of grills around campus, and most houseparents fired those up and threw on hamburgers or chicken that were thawing out and had to be used anyway.

Around three was the best part of the day, from a kid’s perspective. By that point the freezers were starting to lose their chill, and the ice cream was reaching the critical point of no return. Since no one knew how long we would be out, the freezers were opened and the homes had an ice cream feast. Just as the students were digging in, the power came back on, so the evening ritual of getting ready for the start of another school week could continue.

While I was walking around campus checking in on everybody, I saw the Stevens Home (6th-8th grade girls) taking a walk together. Their home is getting remodeled this year, and almost complete. I asked them if they wanted a preview, and the students and houseparents couldn’t believe the changes that had taken place in a few months. There is still a sizable punch list, but the kitchen is complete, and even the plaque with the names of donors who contributed to the project is neatly hung by the doorway. Hopefully before the end of the school year they can start transferring their home supplies over.