By Dorothy Knight Burchett
Sweetheart and I were without electricity last Sunday—again! Several of our neighbors were without electricity, too. It turns out a tree came down across the power lines in a neighbor’s yard—again!
It’s not that it happens often. This is only the second time it has happened this year. It makes me wonder, though, if there aren’t a lot of trees in the neighborhood that are on their last legs, so to speak. In fact, Sweetheart and I had someone cut down a dead ash tree a couple of weeks ago, because we were afraid it might fall on the house during a storm.
So, anyway, it was time for breakfast. We couldn’t have our usual eggs, toast and coffee, because I cook on an electric range, so we finished the raspberry cobbler I had made the day before, along with some milk.
It was a adjustment that was easy to make. Some adjustments were a little more challenging. Some of you may not have picked up on it, but the word “challenging” is a euphemism for “hard.” However, some things must be done, and do them I did.
I brushed my teeth with only one cup of water. Not easy when you have two sets of teeth to brush. I flushed the commode with a gallon and a half of water from jugs I had kept on hand for just such an occasion. I stacked the breakfast dishes, because I knew the faithful workers from the electric company would have power restored in a matter of hours.
When the electricity is out, I always think back to stories of the settlement of our nation and what it must have been like to live without the amenities we have today. People would have had to be self-sufficient.
Can you imagine cutting down trees, sawing them into proper lengths and building your own house? Or getting water from the nearest body of water to cook and wash with? Or killing wild animals and foraging for edible flora to eat? It was definitely a challenge and fraught with trial and error. I’m sure our forefathers and foremothers hurt themselves and others as they struggled to cut a path for themselves and us. I admire them, because of the hardships they endured and in spite of the mistakes they made. I can only imagine how much harder it was for them without access to toilet paper. At least, I don’t think they had any.
It gives me a sense of awe to realize that our ancestors were so flexible and resilient and tough. Otherwise, they would have perished. I would hate to think that we have become weak and dependent. Yet, I believe we have, in some ways—dependent on the utilities to run our homes; on grocery stores to provide our food; on government to give us security. Maybe, it takes a little hardship from time to time to make us flex our intellectual muscles and fend for ourselves.
It just might help us appreciate that what we have are amenities and not necessities and adopt an attitude of gratitude, even in challenging times.