We had another weekend of snow. On Friday night/early Saturday morning, my mom called to let us know that they were out of power from the snowstorm. My mom takes care of my 94 year old grandmother so it was a bit nerve-wracking to think of her without heat. They had an old kerosene heater, but couldn’t get it to work. Mom’s cell phone was dying so she asked me to call the power company for her. It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it, it was that the line was busy since evidently everyone’s power was out in her area.
We offered to attempt to drive down there and get them. I thought we could possibly get Granny to go to a hotel if I were there to talk her into it. She’s not much on wanting to go anywhere and while it would seem she’d be all for it what with them being out of power, she’s just not that way. She has a dog and was worried that they wouldn’t let her take her with her. Of course, I wouldn’t have let anything happen to my grandmother’s dog even if they hadn’t let her bring her to the hotel but that kind of stress affects an elderly person more than it would you or I. So, at my mother’s advice, we decided to wait and see what the morning would bring.
I got the call from mom around 11:00 and she asked if we could find a kerosene heater and bring it to them. Sure. That’s an easy one. Well, so we thought. While I’m not a patron of Wal-Mart on a normal basis, I thought that they would likely be my only hope for finding a kerosene heater in Knoxville during winter-weather. We went to one Wal-Mart and quickly found out that all Knoxville-area Wal-Mart stores were out of kerosene heaters. Crap. My husband and I quickly put both of our smartphones to work and called two different Lowe’s, two Home Depots, two, Mayo garden centers, a feed store/co-op, and finally, a neighborhood Ace hardware store. They had one. I begged the guy to hold it for me and we drove as quickly as we could.
I also bought a battery starter/mini-generator thingy. It wouldn’t help them in this situation because it needed a full 24 hours to charge, but if they had it, they would have had light and some power, certainly enough to power my Granny’s electric blanket through the night.
As I attempted to charge the battery starter with my cigarette lighter (you can’t for the initial charge), I asked my husband to run into Ace and get the heater and a gas can. The wonderful guys at Ace REFUSED my husband’s attempt to buy it. They were adamant that “this heater is for a girl named Catherine’s 94 year old grandmother”. Immediately, I remembered what I had said to the guy when I was on the phone and frantic. I had begged him to “please don’t let anyone else get this” and you know what, he wasn’t going to. I was so stricken by their kindness, I immediately started tearing up and ran in the store to thank them. I cannot express how thankful I am for the thoughtful staff at Ace hardware in Bearden. They will forever have my business (and I don’t even live in Bearden!)