The scorching summer sun, suspended low in the western sky, slowly disappeared out of sight.
Darkness enveloped the house. Twinkling fireflies flickering here and there were the only light visible.
The steady creaking of the porch swing swaying slowly back and forth seemed to be the only sound, except perhaps for the buzzing of insects.
Using as little effort as possible to move in the sweltering heat, they fanned themselves and tried to catch a wisp of any breeze that happened to float by. “Ahh,” she sighed wistfully as she sipped a glass of already tepid water. “I think it’s a little cooler now.”
When they couldn’t bear swatting at pesky insects any longer and darkness had completed descended upon them, they moved inside the unlit, still, and noiseless house. He found the box of wooden matches and carefully lit the kerosene lamp in the kitchen. An aura of light radiated in a very small circle around the lamp.
They positioned themselves, he on the easy chair and ottoman, she on the couch. In the dim light, they could barely see one another. They sat in silence, each one thinking, “What should we do now?”
Minutes passed slowly and he finally stood up, stretched and said, “I think I’ll just go on up to bed. Maybe get up early in the morning when it’s light and try to get a few things done.”
She agreed there was nothing else they could accomplish and followed him up the stairs. The bedroom windows were flung as far open as possible in hopes of allowing wafts of air, now not as heavy-laden with humidity as before the violent storm, to circulate through the screens.
She tossed and turned through the night, trying to find a cooler, comfortable spot on her pillow. What would tomorrow bring? What would they do if morning signaled another searing day of this heat wave? As she tried to nod off to sleep, she whispered her prayers and thanked the Lord for yet another day and that she lived in this century.
That scene may sound like a vignette from yesteryear, back in my grandmother’s day before electricity and modern appliances, but in reality, it described our house last Friday night. A violent thunderstorm blew into our area, bringing gusty winds, rumbling waves of thunder, and wickedly long, jagged bolts of lightning along with torrents of rain that resulted in flash flooding. Trees downed across power lines, transformers on fire, and a host of other problems across our area were the end result. We lost power around 5 p.m.
Let me just state right here, for all to read, I am a wimp. I am way too dependent on my household appliances and electricity at the flip of a switch. When the weather turns monstrously hot and humid, I rely on air conditioning, big box fans, and my refrigerator’s ice maker to keep me sane.
Neither hubby nor I slept well without power, not just because we had no air conditioning, but because we kept waking up asking each other, “Is the power back on?”
And it wasn’t. The next morning, still no electric. No electric meant no cooking (and no pickle making either, by the way). Using the side burner of our propane gas grill on our back yard deck, we heated a kettle for a cup of tea. Then we decided to acclimate ourselves to the heat by working in the garden.
I know. What an idea! As the temperatures soared and the humidity closed in on us, we sweat buckets while we hoed and pulled weeds and did some general clean-up in the garden and yard.
I didn’t last as long as hubby did. He’s obviously made of more sturdy stuff than his wife. Why I’m so wimpy is a puzzle because my family background consists of people who most definitely were made of strong stock. All I know is that I probably wouldn’t have survived being a pioneer woman.
So after my eyes burned from sweat rolling into them and my lips were the saltiest I have ever tasted, all I wanted was shade and a huge glass of water, with a scanty smidge of ice cubes still left in the freezer, which I grabbed out as quickly as I could so I could slam shut the door and keep the coldness inside the appliance.
Later that afternoon still with no electricity, we listened to generators hum through the neighborhood and chain saws cutting up fallen trees. We decided the outage was lasting so long, we needed to act fast to prevent losing our refrigerator and freezer food. Hubby drove off in search of any nearby store that still had bags of ice. When he returned, we loaded up our coolers to commence packing them with food.
And that’s when we heard it. The distinct hum of the refrigerator sounded after almost 24 hours of silence. The air conditioning unit sprang to life once more. Our electric clocks flashed at us screaming, “Set me!” All was right with the world once more….except for this…I made a resolution, and it’s not even January, to start being more grateful and less helpless.
It’s Chapter 7, Page 25, another day in my life named Opportunity, and as I’m refreshed by central air and ice cubes, I’m so very thankful for electricity and modern appliances.
But I’m even more thankful for all of those power company workers who toil many, long hours in blistering heat and freezing cold to restore our power just so I can flip a switch. Thank you God, for those who make my life easier because those who do so surely are not wimps.