Usually counting your blessings means reminding, reciting a long mental list.
Through out the day. Of more than you think you deserved happening to you, your family. Sometimes wishing something took place and later realizing you are better off it did not helps the letting go. Moving on.
But once in awhile, maybe just a handful of times what you are grateful for is something avoided.
A tragic event that almost took place but did not. Long after it didn’t you can give thanks because the seriousness, gravity of it still shakes, shocks, rocks you inside.
The number one event I am so so glad did not happen involved a Maine hockey ice arena.
One where two of the boys, half of the family, their teams were scheduled in a hour to have a brother – brother hockey game. But luckily the game was canceled just in time. Heavy snow loads on all the local roofs in 1998 the reason for postponement. Keeping up with the snow removal that year was just overwhelming. And more water than just white fluffy snow mixed in to add to the roof loads spelled disaster just waiting to pounce, unleash.
I shudder, get chills when thinking about the what if and so grateful for what did not take place at that Houlton Maine ice hockey arena. Other rinks have had roof collapses like the Kennebec Ice Arena too. Where somehow no teams, no folks working the concessions, arena personnel or fans in the stands hooting, hollering were present. Where the news headline could have just as easily read “200 Killed In Maine Ice Arena Roof Cave In”.
And black and white graphic photos of twisted iron beams, smashed metal sheeting and debris in the background. With several hearses, ambulances, emergency personnel images one by one showing the horror of death. Pulling out lifeless bodies of people you know, are related to as the delicate retrieval work of can opener tactics hurriedly begin. By firemen trained for textbook horrific events as sirens wail, lights flash.
To look for survivors becomes priority one.
As people watch, hope, pray, pace, sob waiting for good news when things look very black. In a small tight knit community in Maine where the unexpected creates total confusion, shock, mourning that even years, decades later just will not heal or fade.
Still seeing the flat as a pan cake of a once tall building that was there just an hour ago.
Now a low to the ground rubble of death, destruction, debris. That could have involved heavy losses of life of all ages. Entire families supporting the skaters, watching the game before the collapse.
Local memorial services to handle the high number of deaths. Outside help to process all those bodies. School canceled for a week, counseling sessions set up to deal with the grief. Rows of many caskets in mass funerals the entire communities around the arena attend.
Practically the only story covered for weeks by local, state, some national news outlets. One that will not go away, be swallowed up or replaced easily. To move over for other happenings to get their coverage. Share of air time or ink and lower grade newsprint to unfold and scan with the morning coffee.
On the local level, not watched in some far away, removed location outside the small Maine community. That adds to the feeling of the loss deeply, personally up close in your hometown. And anger on why wasn’t that building built for greater snow loads? Blaming someone, anyone. Introducing legislation to make it mandatory before use to have beefed up standards for those 100 year storms. Winter conditions that caused the crushing tumble to the ground. So no more loss of life happens at other ice arenas in Maine, nearby Canada too.
I am so grateful that local Maine minor league hockey game was canceled.
I am proud of the new better built, appointed John Millar Ice Arena taking it’s place. Used for everything from way more comfortable, not so stifling hot high school graduations. For trade shows, Maine state soap box derby races, fourth of July state fair exhibits and much more. Beside just hockey games to enjoy on your feet in the stands. Cheering for the hard charging home hockey team on the polished sheet of ice with the blue, red lines and circles, netting.
Do you have events that luckily, narrowly were missed that could have literally killed you, loved ones? That you make sure are the top of your daily count your blessings list?