Enjoy your electricity

It was a cold and blustery day but the breakfast picnic had been planned earlier so we went ahead anyway.
By the shore of a local lake, three young families fried their bacon and eggs on two Coleman stoves.
In order to keep the flame alive and everyone warm, we all huddled behind a small equipment shed out of the wind. One grandma from out-of-state stayed in the car. And shook her head at our folly!
The day was March 24, 1967. It was Good Friday. And a tradition was born—a tradition that continues to this day.
As the years went by, we expanded the group. We had the breakfast in various parks and had egg hunts with our growing children. Then, after our children were gone, the Good Friday picnic became a Sunday School class event.
For years, more than 30 adults went to the park, rain or shine. What feasts we had! Aldine’s fried mush, Ken’s fresh-squeezed orange juice, Mary Ann’s homemade bagels, Howard’s Lit’l Smokies, and John’s buttery scrambled eggs. The list goes on.
In more recent years, we’ve stayed closer to home. And this year, the Good Friday gathering was scheduled for the fellowship hall in our church basement.
But a storm packing hurricane-force winds pounded south central Kansas on Thursday night. I was still up at 12:30 a.m. when the lights briefly flickered and then all was dark.
We had no damage around our home. But what we didn’t know at the time was that a block west of us, the storm had done serious damage–tearing off the roof of a large building and breaking power poles as though they were toothpicks.
The next morning, we were told that the damage was so extensive that our area could expect to be without power for four days. That meant no electricity for our Good Friday event.
And no electricity meant no lights, no elevator, and (worst of all) no coffee!
Fortunately, our caterer was from a neighbouring town where there was electricity. So Keith Banman brought a scrumptious brunch, including hot coffee!
As for the elevator, the committee had set up a small table in the lobby for those who would arrive in wheelchairs.
The event went well. But once back home, we experienced “the good old days”–lamps and candles, no computers, and no refrigeration. And, once again, no coffee!
The thought of being without electricity for such a long time was traumatic. Our largest grocery store was closed. There were long lines at gas pumps. Flashlights and dry ice were in short supply.
And we had to read or make conversation instead of watching television.
Luckily, the dire forecast didn’t come true and our power came back on late Friday night. But living without electricity for almost 20 hours taught us how fortunate we are to live in the 21st century–a world of elevators and freezers.
A world of computers and electric appliances. A world of light in the darkness.
Don’t ever take electricity for granted. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Don’t run your dishwasher until it’s full.
Electricity is a gift–a fragile, wonderful gift. A gift to be enjoyed but never wasted!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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