The Good Old Days


The Way We Lived

A few weeks ago when I posted my new writing schedule and became organized, I knew there would be some happenings that might disrupt my plan. Last Sunday night at 10:30 p.m.Mother Nature combined with an electric company that hasn’t trimmed the trees from the wires in ten years conspired to do just that. The electric power died a fast death. It seems high winds down south in the Arkansas River Valley and a lightning storm up here in our Boston Mountains combined to rip all things powerful asunder. It would be nearly 72 hours before the electricity came back on. I mention 72 hours because that’s the deadline for freezer food life. If your seal is good and if you don’t open the door, that is.

Wednesday around noon we decided not to wait until that terrible 72 hour deadline, and we ran to the store, only 1/4 mile away but with its power already restored, and bought five large bags of ice, which we crammed into the freezer around meat, veggies and fruits. All still were icy cold, some frozen, so we knew we were in time. A scant hour after we did this, our power came back on.

Well, those are the breaks, and looking at the news around the country after spending all those hours in the dark, made us thankful that this was the extent of our problems. Being without electric power for over sixty hours was nothing compared to the floods, high winds, earthquakes and wildfires that have plagued the world this year of 2008. Yet it was an inconvenience that had to be dealt with.

While sitting in the light and heat of a hissing propane lantern and cooking on our two-burner propane stove, both bought many years ago for camping, I began to wonder how many things I could do without permanently. (By this time I had used up the battery on my laptop and was having withdrawal symptoms). Things powered by electricity, that is. I don’t think we go overboard on the gadgets we own and operate around the house. Some people use more, others use less. So I decided to make a list of the things I would be willing to let go of.

Here it is in order of least importance to my life:

1 – Electric Can Opener
2 – Fans
3 – Razors
4 – Hair Dryer
5 – Slow Cooker
6 – Water Fountains (We have several in our house because we like the sound of running water)
7 – Microwave
8 – Coffee Maker

And you know, that’s about it. I have to have my computer, printer, scanner, cordless phones, radio, CD player, TV and DVD player (I adore movies we rent all the time), water (we have our own system powered by another electric company that did not lose power during the storms because they keep the trees cut back from all their lines), washer and dryer, hot water heater, range, food processor, and of course lights.

Then I began to wonder how I stacked up against others. So if any of my readers would like to make a list, leave it in your comments and let’s see how we all compare in this modern day and age.

I remember a time when we used kerosene lanterns here in Arkansas, because it was 1955 before rural electric came to the wilderness of our Ozarks. My aunt and uncle lived here then and we visited often, so I got a taste of how it was to live without modern conveniences. They drew water from a well, heated and cooked with a wood stove, had no modern machines, like washer, dryer, hot water tank, etc.

By that time we lived out in the modern world, but I remember how much I enjoyed returning to Arkansas and visiting my relatives, all of whom lived like this particular aunt and uncle. I thought it romantic, except for running to the outhouse just before bedtime, especially on cold nights. Ah, yes, the outhouse. It was in the barnyard where one particular rooster laid in wait. I would hear his (footsteps?) pounding the ground as he chased after me. He had these huge horned toes, one in particular that he would slash at me with. Now why would a domestic bird, delight in attacking that same species that fed and watered and cared for him?

My favorite time of the year in those long gone days was when the crews came in to cut hay. My uncle raised cattle and poultry, and the hay was cut two to three times a year and put up to feed the cattle in the winter. As a teenager I would make sure to be lying in the sun in the yard when the crews showed up in the fields so I could get a good look at the young men, and they at me. Today I can still recall the fragrance of hay as it’s cut, filling the mountain air with its sweet smell.

Perhaps I would add more items to my list of things I could do without, if it meant I could get back those days and how happy and carefree we were then. After all, it wasn’t so bad writing in journals with a pen, and we probably could become accustomed to it again if we could rid ourselves of some of the dreadful things going on in the world today. But book. How in the world would we do without them if all power failed? Something to think about.

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in Arkansas, cattle, electric power, journals, lightning, Ozarks, poultry, propane, storms, teenager, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

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