Sweetness and light when the power is out | TheUnion.com

Sweetness and light when the power is out

Vivian Herron, Columnist
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

That was one long, strong toad-strangler we had last weekend, huh? Sugartush told me that when he drove to work last Friday morning, the snowplow was out, pushing away a thick layer of pine needles off Highway 20.

We can all of us get through the wind and rain pretty much OK, until the power goes out. For those newcomers to Bigtown, “power” means “electricity.” For those same newcomers (and welcome to Nevada County, by the way), losing power is fun and exciting and exotic for about the first couple of hours. After that, the thrill is gone.

If your living arrangements are totally dependent on electricity (heating, cooking, mundane things like that), then may God bless you and keep you through the next extended shutdown, is all I can say. Well, that and you might want to seriously consider buying a generator strong enough to keep your fridge and heat chugging along.

You’d think that the Herron Hovel would’ve long since had a generator, but not so. Dale and I prefer to sit side by side on the sofa in our darkened living room, sulkily thinking evil thoughts.

“Wanna work a jigsaw puzzle? I bought two new ones.”

“Hell, no. Cain’t see in the dark anyway.”

“Wanna play Monopoly? Gin rummy?”

“Hell, no. Ja notice the phone ain’t workin’ either? Water still on? Well, that’s a blessing. Wonder how long it’ll be before that goes out, too?”

“Could be a conspiracy between PG&E and the CIA, y’think?”

“Hell, yes. Wouldn’t be surprised at anything these days. Never kin tail whut those people are up to. They sure ain’t tellin’ me.”

“How about catching up on some little repair jobs, honey dumpling?”

“Hell, no. Cain’t use my power tools – notice the power’s out? – and the cordless ones need recharging, which I cain’t do because you-know-why. I’m hungry. May I please have a tuna fish sandwich on toast with chips and no pickles?”

“How about a tuna fish sandwich on untoast with chips and no pickles, because the toaster won’t do its little job without electricity?”

“Aw, (real bad word). Where’s that container of candied cherries you were gonna use for a fruitcake later? I’ll snack on some of those while I’m sittin’ here waitin’ for that gol-danged PG&E …”

Now see, this kind of conversation is exactly why, when friends drop by, they sometimes find me squatting on the kitchen floor, sticking a butcher knife into the ground between my feet, over and over and over. And hissing.

If you don’t want to read a book or write a letter or run from window to window hoping that one of them will reveal a sunny, tropical day in Jamaica, you can always play the “gee whiz” game with your buddies.

“I was just about to overhaul the tractor engine/perform brain surgery/whittle a Spanish galleon out of a stick of firewood/replumb the bathroom when, to my utter disappointment, the power went out. Imagine that! I had to put everything away. Gee whiz.”

I spent an interesting couple of hours sitting at my kitchen table, reading old cookbooks by the light of my kerosene lantern. (You do have a collection of working lanterns, don’t you, dear reader? Oh, good.)

“Here’s a great recipe I’ve never tried before, curried codfish tongues, doesn’t that sound yummers? Dale? Are you there?”

But he had disappeared into the shed, taking his four beers with him. Poor guy, he gets so touchous when the power goes out. To cheer him up a little, I had made sure to shake up those beers every hour, so they’d be nice and fizzy for him.

I’m just sweet that way.

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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