It was a Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, and despair started to settle into our house. We’d had terrible storms the night before — the kind that take out grain bins and power for days.
Our house had power, but it was out for the whole community of Ellisville, Ill., where our kids were in a play that weekend at the 130-year-old Ellisville Opera House. They’d been practicing “Little Shop of Horrors” for weeks, their first post-pandemic play. Opening night was a rousing success. But then: no power. No lights, no sound, no air conditioning, no water.
The show might not go on.
Cue sadness and that aforementioned despair for the female lead, who happened to reside at our house.
But, enter the dads! And their generators! And a tractor! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, or like a couple of farm dads on a mission to restore power.
Three generators, one tractor and a bunch of power cords later, the opera house had power and the show was back on. A neighbor lady up the road volunteered her house for hair and makeup since the AC hadn’t had time to cool down the opera house yet.
Here in Illinois we hear about suburban schools with indoor pools, and sports teams with their own sport-specific bus or trailer. Schools with students numbering in the thousands that ooze money and opportunity and AP classes.
We don’t have any of that.
But our small-town kids have something those schools don’t — and not just dads with generators and electrical know-how. They’ve got people who’ll go to bat for them. People who welcome them into their home. In the heat and the devastation, they’re people willing to drop everything and help the kids do something for the whole community.
And that’s pretty hard to beat.
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