I’ve been thinking, on this week’s anniversary of heading down to discover what was left of the river house, about the electrical and phone workers who struggled against the bitterness of the weather to get power back to all the folks without. The knowledge of all those powerless—and I mean that in every sense of the word—elderly folks forced to leave the frozen wastes of their homes must have driven many of the worker to push themselves to exhaustion. I know that it’s more than the money for them. I know because my dad was one of them.

I remember his hands when he’d come home from an impossibly long session up the phone poles, trying to make things right. Cold hands. Stiff. Chapped white. Frozen to bleeding, sometimes. Hands attatched to a man so tired that he could barely talk. I see him in those brave and busy men and women who work to bring us back to our homes, to civilization, to the comforts that they have, for a time, surrendered. To them, as to the plumbers, the sawyers, the firefighters, the National Guard, thank you. Thank you. We rarely get to say it. But we mean it. More than you’ll ever know.