‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving, dark and quiet. Sounds very relaxing, until you realize it is one day before Thanksgiving and the power just went out after a very bad windstorm with up to 70 mph winds here in Maine. On top of that, we have a well run by electricity, so with no power, there was no running water and we couldn’t flush the toilets. We are also now on digital phone service, so when the power goes, the phone goes, too. Our cell phones receive a very weak signal out here, but they were our only tie to the outside world.
We live in a rural setting neighborhood without street lights anyway, but without any lights of any kind in the houses, the area was pitch black. Inside the house, we got the candles out and sat in front of the wood stove, which was great to have for heat since the furnace was nonfunctioning. I read aloud to Ed from our new book, a biography of Harry Truman, but after a few chapters, I worried about using up my battery-powered reading light, I turned it off and we sat in the quiet. It gave me lots of time to think, of course.
We could have had it much worse. Our daughter, Rachel, and her husband, Chris, and the girls got major wind damage to their roof with shingles all over their yard and resultant leaks inside. Chris, sick already, climbed a ladder in the middle of the rain and wind and took pictures. They still had power. Matt and Sarah in Old Town got lucky. Their house which they just moved into last weekend sustained no damage and they still had power. Three different households affected in three different ways.
Our family celebrates Thanksgiving on Friday so the kids can go to their in-laws on the actual day (they married into big families). So we were lucky in that with the roof damage and power outages, we had an extra day to figure out how to cope. Others were not so lucky. I felt so bad for the thousands of Mainers who were planning on baking and cooking Wednesday, only to find their stoves and refrigerators out of commission. Our power returned at 2:30 a.m. this morning, but when I logged onto the Internet news sources, I saw that many Mainers will still be without power all day today, Thanksgiving. I feel so sorry for those people. No Macy’s parade. No turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie. Some, like us, have some ruined food in the freezer (ice cream I bought for Thanksgiving), and some, like us, are on wells where they have no running water and no toilets, and some, unlike us, have no heat source other than an electric oil furnace. I really feel empathy for those who were to have hosted their family’s Thanksgiving feast, which is hard to do without electricity and running water.
Everything, of course, is high tech these days. The power went out in the middle of the night Tuesday night, and Wednesday when I got to work, I used my work computer to check e-mail and log into the electric company’s web site to report the power outage on our street. By later that morning, thousands were without power. I was surprised when I got home from work that we were still without electricity, and after the aforementioned evening of reading by battery light and candles, we went to bed. The power came back on over 24 hours after it had gone off, again in the middle of the night, and 20 minutes later the phone rang. It was an automated call from the electric company, wanting to verify that, “if your power has returned, press 1,” which I gladly did.
So on this Thanksgiving morning, very early, my main thought is that I am thankful for electricity. How we depend on it! How we are connected by it! My second thought is still about the thousands without power on this special day. My third thought is about the electric crew (apparently from several states) who spent their night before Thanksgiving outside repairing lines.
Oh, well - there is nothing that reinforces the journey to simplicity than sitting in front of a wood fire by candlelight in absolute silence! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!