Most parents worry, so why should I be any different?
The moment after I recorded this video of my then 16-year-old daughter Panda driving off alone for the first time, still two-years shy of getting accepted into THE Ohio State University and becoming Buck Wheat, I called my mother.
“How long will the worry last?” I asked my entirely too-honest mother.
“I still worry about you all the time” she shared. “It never goes away!”
Which didn’t comfort me!
As it turns out, I am not the worrier that my mother is and I quickly got used to watching THE Buck drive away. In September of 2020, I watched her drive to Austin Texas where she had signed a nine-month lease on a one-bedroom apartment.
The apartment she was in on February 14, 2021 when the lights went out in Austin, Texas.
There was nothing romantic about the power going out in Buck’s apartment on the night of February 14, 2021.
Blackouts were nothing new for Buck. Raised in the northeast corner of Westchester County, NY, an area known for long and frequent power outages, Buck ordered a pizza and prepared for a night playing guitar by a candle or two.
A hippies dream!
When the pizza delivery person called from a few blocks away and explained that they could not get to her apartment due to bad weather, Buck offered to meet them.
It wasn’t until she walked out of her now darkened apartment and into the ice-covered night that she realized: Austin, we have a problem.
Six-inches of snow, left unplowed had turned to ice in the frigid night air. Though just a block away, the pizza was not to be.
Morning brought the light, but not the power. Buck woke to the realization that this was more than just a blackout; Texas was in crisis. While the pipes in her apartment did not freeze that night (shhh....that's coming) Buck understood that she needed to find warmth. Donning boots, she threw what food she could carry and would keep into a backpack. A backpack which already contained toiletries and her currently abbreviated clothing needs.
And some memories! Because it was not that backpacks first adventure on the shoulder of the youngest Lipton! Here's Buck-to-be carrying that same black backpack on July 18, 2009 as we hiked and swam the all day "bottom up" adventure at THE Narrows, of Zion National Park!
The Lipton version of Indiana Jones' hat and whip!
The normally fifteen-minute walk to the apartment of her friend Caca took Buck over an hour due to the dangers of the trek. Heat, a place to charge devices and two best friends! The girls settled down for a relaxing day and night.
Grabbing what food they had, the two-girls spent the remainder of the week surfing the couches of Austin maintaining their focus to always have food, shelter and water, three of the four basic needs.
The fourth “basic need” of course is clothing. Which Buck would tell you is not fourth on any list! She makes a point. She did have the right boots to go with the flood!
The great American novelist James Lane Allen tells us that, “Adversity does not build character. It reveals it!”
Buck’s waning moments in the darkness (her power was restored early Sunday evening) were spent giving comfort to a stranger whose fortunes did not withstand the storm’s angry fury as well as Buck's had. Displaced from his normal comfortable spots around the city of Austin Buck encountered a homeless man.
Displaced, as if being homeless was not hard enough!
Buck shared what was left of her backpack food-stash and a blanket with the cold, hungry and injured man. When the volume of blood coming from the injury became a concern, Buck dialed 911 and explained her concerns for the man's health to the (I'm sure) beleaguered emergency services operator.
Buck was there when the ambulance arrived over an hour later.
She didn’t need this crisis to reveal her character to me.
But now, you know!