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Hockey from the Blind Side, Weathering the Storm and Here is to Hoping

View From Section 317's picture

What a crazy last few weeks. I have no idea how we did it before the advent of electricity and technology. When you lose power in your home for a week, it puts things into a very stark perspective.

Not that I’m sure the entire world wasn’t aware of it because God knows the media seemed to make it the only news for a good week until after election day, but the north-east was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy on the 29th of October. Over 900000 people lost their power on Long Island alone, and the tristate area suffered untold amounts of damage and several fatalities from the storm. Trees came down all over the place, crushing houses and cars, and taking power lines down with them. It was, not to overstate the reality, like a war zone after the storm.

Then, on top of that, we were hit by another storm earlier this week that caused yet more damage and setbacks for the recovery efforts. In this case, lots of snow and ice added to the “fun”, and we lost power two different times throughout the day and cable service for about 12 hours. Again, the experience certainly was one of those things that really causes you to appreciate what you have and how fortunate you truly are. I am not going to gripe and complain about the lost money to my business, the cold showers each morning or the other minor inconveniences I “suffered” because I know there are many people who suffered a lot more than I did and surely lost more than me.In any situation of this magnitude, it never fails that such situations bring out both the best and worst in people. I know this will stray quite a bit from the discussion of hockey and the New York Islanders, but I beg for you to indulge me to share some of my “blind observations” in regard to what types of things happened that might or might not have made the news, despite the 24/7 overkill they managed to present. Understand that there are some areas that are a long way from ever fully recovering and I believe there are still areas without electricity at the day of this writing.

My direct neighbors, Glenn and Beth, are plainly Good People, and a few days after the storm before the temperatures plunged close to the freezing mark Beth came by to invite us to come over. My parents are in their late seventies now, and while we didn’t have heat or electricity, my neighbors have a fireplace. This was a gesture I found to be quite impressive and an example of how people Should come together in such situations.

I heard or read about many stories in a similar manner. People with generators were stretching extension cords to neighbors who did not have that luxury. Neighbors came together to remove trees off of houses and cars and to generally look after one another. If there was an elderly or disabled person on the block, someone seemed to be sure that they were taken care of. I can’t tell you how many stories I heard about the fortunate folks who did not lose power having several relatives or friends staying at their houses for days at a time. We gathered at my youngest brother’s house most days because he had, at least, a generator.

There was a story about an Air Force recruiter new to Long Island who happened to have a truck and a generator. For a few evenings, he parked in a HOme Depot parking lot and invited anyone who needed their electronic devices recharged to do so. He also had a television set for the kids to watch while they waited. Talk about a classy guy who deserves props for his service that went beyond serving his country.

There we’re businesses that gave food to emergency responders and to families truly in need. There were people who took up collections at their jobs to purchase necessary items to aid in the recovery effort. There were plenty of people who volunteered their time and money and effort to help so may others in so many countless ways that will not even go known and appreciated by those who were helped by them.

I know LIPA has taken a lot of heat and their management surely deserves to be fired, at the very least, but let us not forget the efforts of the workers who have been out there doing their very best to restore power to the homes all over the island. These guys were out in the midst of the storm this week, and working their behinds off. Despite the incompetence of their bosses, when you see these guys around, stop to thank them for their hard work and around the clock efforts. They are all heroes in their own right, so let us not forget that and take their work for granted. They have families like you and I, and were effected by the storms in the same ways as everyone else.

Unfortunately, on the other end of the spectrum, there were many stories of some poor excuses for human beings taking advantage of the helpless and those in need. As I said, it’s sad how these situations tend to bring out the very worst in humanity at times. I don’t want the positives and good things to be overshadowed, but there were a few particular “incidents” that I cannot help mentioning.

Let us not forget about the gas prices and delivery problems. If that was not bad enough, within hours after the firs storm, some gas stations were raising prices fifty or more cents a gallon Long before anyone was aware of shortages. My younger brother had gotten gas for his car the morning after Sandy and had returned to the same station a few hours later to fill up a can for the generator to find that the guy had raised his price per gallon by fifty cents. Within a day, there were stations selling gas at $4.55 when they had been about $3.85 before the storm. Again, this was Before the shortages became apparent.

A friend of mine told me of the story relayed by her sister, who lives in West Chester in which a local tree service had wanted to charge $2700 to cut up a tree that had fallen against a house. Understand that this same company had charged the same person $600 to cut down a huge oak tree and cut it up only a month earlier.

Of course, there was price gouging in other areas as well. There were stories about some hardware stores drastically increasing the costs for tools and supplies. People looking to buy wood for their fireplaces suddenly found ridiculous increases in their purchases. Batteries quadrupled in cost overnight and forget about it if you wanted to buy gas cans or flashlights in some locations. Frankly, it was outright disgusting and disgraceful, especially when there was no other reason for the prices to increase other than taking advantage of people and the situation itself. Sorry to be so harsh, but people like that should burn in hell.

To get back to hockey, let us hope that the talk of a possible compromise being near is true. I’ve read in several places that there has been progress, and the two sides have been consistently meeting. All of this, I hope, indicates that the lockout might be over before Christmas. A shortened season is better than NO season as far as I am concerned.

I honestly was going to right some posts on the lighter side about what one can do to occupy themselves during the lockout. I swear I had ideas and had written some scraps here and there. I may still do it, despite if there is a sudden resolution to the situation just for the sake of humor. And,no, there will be no, “riding out a hurricane” in the mix either …..

In any event, here’s hoping to an end to the lockout. I want my hockey back! I am going through serious withdrawals right now, regardless of the AHL. I can’t even enjoy that because the video page is done in Flash, which isn’t accessible to a screen reader for the blind on any platform. So, let’s get the season started and get back to writing about Islander hockey!