Sunday, November 29, 2009

Power Outage

The Saturday after Thanksgiving can typically be a laying-low day of post-gorging rest and comfortable TV watching. That was not the case in Middle Grove, New York, where our power went out around noon and wasn't restored until after 8:00 p.m. The lack of heat was not an issue since our heat is not yet functioning. To warm things up, I usually bake something or run the dishwasher which always seems ready to go. With digital TV, our reception depends on the whimsy of the wind and external forces, so having no TV wasn't life-altering either.

I managed, during the daylight hours, to find treasures in the basement and bring them up to my apartment in an attempt to make this space feel more like home. Russ was here in the morning and hung my wall hutch on the kitchen wall. After much measuring and calcutating and leveling, the hutch was up, securely fastened to the wall, though in the end it is neither centered nor exactly level! Still, it holds a few favorite things and pretty glasses, and reminds me of my life which has been packed away for many months. I also brought up some pictures to hang on the wall. My father's portrait is now hanging and I feel secure in his presence, as if his gaze is overseeing the happenings in my home, bringing a depth of generational wisdom to this space. Next to his portrait are beautiful 1920s-era photos of my mother as a young child. In one she is seated with her sister Jeanne. They must have been three and four years old. The other is a montage of my mother at about a year and a half, the same age Henry is now. She is shown sitting naked on a rug with a little doll, on a bench all dressed in white lace with tie-up shoes, and perched on a stool. There are two close-ups of her face, her short dark hair cropped unevenly, big blue eyes looking directly at the camera. Other pictures now gracing my walls are two Charles Wysocki winter prints, two Cate Mandigos, a pastoral farm scene by Jean Calqohoun, a portrait of me with Russ's dog Jette as a puppy (last year's Christmas gift), and a collection frame of Eddy kids during the early years. I look at them and wonder where the time has gone, how life has changed for the beautiful little faces in these photos, how life has changed for all of us.

As evening fell in cold darkness, we decided to escape our power-less environment and go in to Saratoga for dinner. We went to Sabina's on Union Avenue, where we all sat and relaxed in the warm and well-lit environment. It's certainly true that you don't miss the simple conveniences until you suddenly have to do without. That was the case with me and I was very happy to spend a while at Sabina's for more than just their good food!

As we drove home, we realized that the power had not yet been restored. Almost as soon as the candles were lit, the power returned to cheers and gratitude that we were, once again, powered. Our adventure was over. The rest of the night, I noticed all the things that I typically do not -- that I can push a button to wash my dishes, that I can turn on a TV to hear the news. That I can turn on a light or flush a toilet or hear the sound of my refrigerator freezer dispensing ice. It is the little things.

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