The story behind, “Dear OG&E,” & remembering the 2007 Oklahoma ice storm

We had ice in central Oklahoma today, but I’m not sure we can call it an ice storm. Back in 2007, we had an ice storm.

And it was an ice storm of epic proportions.

I was in my third year of work at the ABC affiliate in Oklahoma City, and I spent my days writing stories and sending out alerts via email — digital tactics that were pre-Facebook. It’s bizarre to think about. There were no push alerts. There was no Facebook really, yet. Not for anybody but college students. Definitely no Twitter, no Instagram, no Snap.

We just wrote stories, posted video and sent out a lot of emails to subscriber lists.

It was late November. Freezing temps and a big patch of moisture converged on the Sooner State, and we knew it was coming. It dropped a ton of freezing precipitation, enough that trees in Norman bent over quickly. Ultimately, the city of Norman lost a bunch of historic trees — and those trees pulled out a bunch of electricity meter boxes from the sides of homes.

Everybody in central Oklahoma was without power, some for days.

Others for weeks.

I didn’t have electricity for two weeks. The station put me up at the nearby Best Western on Santa Fe and 63rd in Oklahoma City. I spent so much time at that hotel over the years that it’s officially my most-visited hotel, although the Omni in Dallas comes close. Editor’s note: I love the Omni in Dallas. Best. Hotel. Ever.

The reason I didn’t have electricity for so long was because the fallen tree pulled out my meter box. My electricity provider was backed up with thousands upon thousands of power issues, and my neighborhood was super low priority.

But I got homesick quickly.

One night, I skipped the hotel and drove back to Norman, determined to sleep in my own bed. It was 26 degrees in my house because it was 26 degrees outside, and I had no heat. I slept in my winter coat and a hoodie and pants and sweats and probably a gorilla costume. It was so damned cold, but I was in my own bed, and I was thrilled.

I got up the next morning and took the world’s quickest shower.

The whole experience led me to write a song called, “Dear OG&E,” which I posted to my YouTube channel. It’s gotten 3,300 or so views over the years, and it got the attention of some of OG&E’s communications team, whom I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know over the years while I worked at Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. Fantastic people.

What made the video, however, wasn’t me or my creativity or even the timing of the song with the storm. Nope. It was my late cat, Finley, who meowed on cue at the end of the tune. Her timing was impeccable.

So, as Oklahoma dealt with its dose of winter Tuesday (with me now at the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City, I should note), I shivered and bemoaned the fact that it’s not baseball season yet.

However, I didn’t complain.

It could have been a whole lot worse. Believe that!

 

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