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Power to the people

April 27, 2018
By KAREN SCHWALLER - Farm News staff writer , Farm News

Please don't judge me. It was a long time ago.

The April blizzard(s) of 2018 served mostly to mock me-dragging up old memories of past weather events that have taken me for both a ride and a fool.

I was in my 20s and working at the newspaper. We had experienced an ice storm that took out huge tree limbs and power lines everywhere. It was a sight, and quite a mess.

My editor asked me to go out and get some photos of the storm damage that made our community skid to a halt in such short order, so I left the office to seek out that 'one photo' that would make the whole statement. When I returned, I stepped back into the office and flipped on the light switch.

No lights. Oh yeah.

"No worries," I thought. I put my camera and notebook down and headed toward the restroom. Once inside there, I yanked on the light chain.

No lights. Oh yeah.

There are some things Mother Nature will not allow to be ignored, so I finished up my business in the dark and came back out to my desk. There, I thought I would see what they were saying on the radio about the power situation, so I turned on the radio.

No radio. Oh yeah.

By now I was beginning to get annoyed with myself because of all of these ridiculous repeated futile behaviors. But nonetheless, since I had done some interviews already about the storm damage, I decided I would get that story written, so I turned on my electric typewriter.

Yes. That again. And all of this was within a matter of five minutes or so.

All I needed now was Alan Ludden showing up and pointing out the candid cameras.

I'm pretty certain there will be scientists standing in line to dissect my brain someday because I had to have been the youngest exhibitor of Alzheimer's Disease on record. Clearly, what I really needed to do was go to Oz to find the Wizard to get a new brain.

No one saw my outrageous consecutive memory lapses but me, but maybe those who bring us our power every day should have been witness to that for some kind of satisfaction for what they do for us all year long.

Electricity is something we simply cannot live without anymore. We all depend on it, and it's taken for granted in much the same way mothers are -it's always there for us making our lives easier, but we don't necessarily appreciate all it does for us until it's gone.

Power linemen (and women) work under some of the worst conditions when the chips are down, and know that time matters. I covered a farm safety camp for kids last summer and heard two guys from a rural electric cooperative telling the kids about the things they have to know and be able to do as power linemen. It made me appreciate my job a lot more.

For the average family, being out of power can sometimes be a blessing-forcing us to slow down our noisy, busy lives to connect with each other in the dark-no sounds, no computers, no appliances running-just talking amid the dark shadows and sharing life.

That's the silver lining in the emergency of a power outage. Secretly, it used to make me a little sad when the lights came back on-that kind of sharing time with children is fleeting.

But that's the heart of a mother talking.

Our grandparents (in their early days) didn't have to wait for a power outage in order to just be a family together. But then, they probably didn't have any disturbing, tell-all office and bathroom stories to rat them out as modern thinkers, either.

All these years later, I still need to get in to see that Wizard.

Karen Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at kschwaller@evertek.net and www.karenschwaller.com.

 
 

 

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