Forecast: Ice and snow coming in Friday night, leaving on Sunday. Hm. Time to get some food, just in case. Maybe I should grab a log or two in preparation. What will I do without a TV and computer? Another, hm. Wow, not nearly as exciting as ‘no power’ on the farm, or when my kids were young, and we were electricless.
When the power went out on the farm, we moved to the basement. The fireplace kept us toasty and offered a wonderful place to roast hot dogs. Mom always had chips and dip on hand, hot dogs and buns, and, at this time of the year, nuts and popcorn balls. It was an event. Seems like we never minded it too much. The gravel on the lane wore an icy coat that offered no traction, yet Dad would bundle up and hop up onto the tractor with the scraper on the front and a chain on the back. Neighbors would have clean driveways and cars would be pulled from the ditch when Dad passed by. Food could be brought in to neighbors, rides given to stranded travelers and Dad having a blast doing it all. Red faced he would return to the house full of stories and laughter. Once in awhile he even brought a visitor.
When my kids were growing up, we loved the ‘powerless’ times when games were played, the fireplace roared and boredom was replaced with creativity. We really weren’t powerless. In fact, I think perhaps those were some of most bonding times with my children. I considered it our camping time since I’m not camper. We were roughing it.
Rarely does the power go off here in Oregon. Everyone here goes to Mt. Hood or Mt. Bachelor for the snow. If we do get that white blanket of snow here in the valley, I will bundle up by a fire with a good book or two in hand. Perhaps even a few new stories will venture into my head. Of course, they will need to have some staying power, since my computer will be down and my hands cannot write for long. Still it is always an adventure that I love working and reading by candlelight.
Being without power reminds us of a time when there was no electricity, when lives were simpler and dealing with the quirks of nature just part of life in the country. We reached back in time to make do with what we had available. We were not powerless. The snow was a gift.
I miss seeing Dad ride off on that tractor with a big smile on his face, and his return with the stories of his adventures. I miss seeing Doris walk into the house from a hike up the lane coming to visit her neighbors. Red cheeks and bundled head to toe, she joined us by the fire. I miss the silence that accompanies a world without power. The white quiet that can indeed be inspirational.
I didn’t get a white Christmas, but I know it snowed back the lane on Neff Road.
Pam Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.