Things don’t change much over the years. With the annual run of summer thunder storms pending, I expect Hydro None will be busy pulling downed trees off power lines. Ma Bell has promised to remove the massive dead elm tree threatening to take down the power lines on our street as well as the telephone exchange, the neighbouring house and any cars and pedestrians unlucky enough to be innocent bystanders. Here’s what I remember about a scheduled power outage from a few years back.
I headed for the bakery in Rainy River early in the morning as Hydro None had notified us of a scheduled three-hour outage from 9 ’til noon, and I wanted to make sure I got my morning fix of caffeine and calories. The debating table was already pretty well occupied as the early risers that had not yet departed for work and some of the regular crew, also noting the scheduled outage, had wandered in early as well.
These scheduled-outage notifications from Hydro None are greatly appreciated so we can arrange our important schedules. My only request is could they please give us advance notice of they unscheduled ones also.
Moose sauntered in, followed shortly by the Runt, who was sporting a heavy limp.
“You got foot rot?” I observed using good agricultural terms a farm boy like the Runt could understand.
“No, he’s got the gout,” snorted Moose downing his first half-cup of coffee, and chortling at his own early morning wit.
The conversation halted briefly as orders of toast and peanut butter were placed in a rush to avoid the impending outage, with the last stragglers just barely making it in under the wire, including Pickle who was also limping. With all the orders filled and the table now fully occupied conversation resumed.
“So Pickle, the Runt has the gout, what’s your excuse for being up limping around so early in the morning?” I asked taking up a pen and paper to keep the facts fresh and straight.
“My physical later this morning. Had to get my blood work in first thing, and the foot’s pretty good. Thanks for asking,” quipped Pickle.
“How’s the doc gonna do a rectal exam in the dark? Use a flashlight?” I shot back. Pickle’s approaching that age when the golden digit gets applied annually.
Pickle paused, his toast halfway to his mouth. The question seemed to have taken the starch out of his shorts.
“You’ll make a fine looking pair, barely able to stagger up on the stage for the walleye tournament,” I observed reflecting on the sore feet and the upcoming event.
“Thore feete won’t haf a thin t’doo wit t’em thaggerin,” observed Moose, trying mightily, but unsuccessfully to keep his bridge in place as the overload of peanut butter sucked things loose.
The Runt gave Moose a withering glance and brought things into perspective.
“It’s not the gout. I’m a prime physical specimen,” he bragged as he trowelled on the peanut butter.
“The problem is crickets,” he added, holding out his cup for a refill, before the Hydro None limited supply ran out.
“Crickets? How so?” I asked, priming the pump. It didn’t need much priming.
“I’ve got one in the basement that’s driving me nuts. I can’t find it and it’s making so much noise I can’t get a decent night’s sleep,” explained the Runt, exhibiting the dog weary look of the truly put upon.
“Thum boyth thill need their mommies,” quipped the Moose, the peanut butter, finally losing most of its grip.
“Anyways, I just stubbed my toe, looking for the little beast in the dark,” explained the Runt ignoring Moose’s comment.
“Why the dark? Hydro None have an outage at your place too?” I inquired once again wanting to get all the facts straight.
“No! Because when you turn the lights on it stops chirping and I can’t find it! And I told the missus not to move any of the furniture. It was a domestic trap,” emphasized the Runt, clearly peeved by the lack of sympathy his case was eliciting.
“Why not leave the lights on all the time?” I asked. What good is a reporter if you don’t dig for all the facts?
“You simply have no environmental sensitivity! Think of our grandchildren. Save the planet! Leave the lights on? Really!” the Runt’s response was withering.
Properly chastised, I put my tail between my legs and left. At home I discover power at our house was not out after all, so that two hour coffee break wasn’t really all that necessary.
The phone rang. It was a recording. “This is Hydro None. There will be a scheduled power outage from….”