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Character and class in Nevada County

Vivian Herron, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

We’ve had several storms this month, lots of damage and no lights, and you might be sitting in a cold, dark house while you’re reading this.

The Union quoted Wayne Ellison recently: “If you’re going to live in the woods, this is the kind of stuff that happens,” and it is. I’ve lived way out in the woods for too many years, and I’d like to make things a tad easier for you when the power goes kerflooey.

You bought some lanterns, didn’t you? They never wear out; it’s not as though you have to replace them every year, although you need oil and new wicks every now and then.



In September, make sure they’re filled and operable. Tape a book of matches to each lamp, put a bag over the globe so it won’t get too dusty, and then forget about it until right about now.

“Wail, Ah kin yewse them tap light thangs Ah bote las’ year.” Why, you surely can, sugar dumpling – where are they? On the top shelf over the workbench in the garage?




Do you really want to go looking for them when it’s as dark as the inside of a cow, only to find they don’t work? Can we all say “fresh batteries” together, dear friends?

When the lights go out, immediately trot to the front door and look outside. Perhaps only your house is dark, while the surrounding area is brightly lit.

Do this several times during the day. Check the TV and radio, too, for news and updates; the entire neighborhood is dead as a hammer, but maybe your TV still works, who knows?

Whether you’ve been a Nevada County resident for six months or 48 years, you’re entitled to pace the floor and complain. Mind you, I said “complain,” not whine like some craven flatlander. Here is the most popular theme, but feel free to improvise:

“Gol dang PG&E … been two blasted hours and they ain’t got the power back on … prolly sittin’ in some fancy restaurant eatin’ steak ‘n’ laughin’ ‘n’ jist a-carryin’ on while we’re shiverin’ in th’ dork waitin’ for ’em ta git ta work … ow hord could it be to chop up a few lil ol’ trees that feel down on the lines? Jumpin’ Jehosaphat, they ain’t but three foota snow out there, what’s takin’ ’em so long?”

Are you a little bored? A really fun activity is the transfer of a lot of your woodpile (located on the back forty of your property) to your porch, which you forgot to do, huh?

Bundle up real warm (it won’t help, though) and out you go in the snow! Whoopee! Dig out the wheelbarrow and load it high with wood, trundle it all the way up to the house and create a junior woodpile by the door. Repeat, oh, about a dozen times.

There is one perk concerning a power failure: The calories in everything you eat during such down times are canceled out. No one can predict just how long the power will be down … could be an hour, could be two days or more, right?

Therefore, it’s your responsibility to consume everything in your fridge before it spoils. Oh, I know you don’t want to eat that icky yucky Christmas candy/chocolate pie/whipped topping/fudge – you really despise sweets – but can you really let it all go to waste? Of course not! Enjoy … it doesn’t count.

Eventually PG&E will reign supreme and have your home humming again, and you can tell worried out-of-town family and friends, “Aw shoot, nuttin’ to it. Happens awl th’ tahme ’round here … ever’body’s doin’ fine.” That’s because Nevada Countians have character and class.

Vivian Herron is a longtime resident of the town of Washington whose column appears on Saturdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.


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