Tears and Laughter–Amanda Walker

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Tears and Laughter:

The power of power

The Camden area, along with several other places across the state, had the opportunity over the weekend to enjoy life without electricity. It was like an unplanned fast. A storm blew through Friday afternoon around 5:00. There were strong winds and nobody was particularly surprised when the power went out. Power outages in Wilcox County used to be very reliable. We could depend on having several each year.
Like this year on McKenzie’s birthday the lights went out, which was kind of funny because last year on her birthday the power was out too. We still played it up and celebrated. We blew out candles and opened gifts. We took pictures in the dark.
After the same thing happened this year, next year even if the power doesn’t go out on her birthday we will turn out the lights just to make it feel like tradition.
Friday afternoon when the power went off, I had a great attitude because I had driven through the storm and knew there had been wind in it. It had my full attention. I watched a couple of trees fall in my rearview mirror. I turned the radio over to a Christian station because I suddenly wanted to hear a song about Jesus. So I was fine with not having power when I got home.
Besides, the Alabama Power automated reporting number said a repairman was already on the scene and estimated a restoral time of 7:30 pm.
By 8:00 the time had changed to midnight. By daylight the time had changed to 12:15 pm and Governor Bentley had declared a state of emergency to allow other power companies in other states to come into Alabama and help with repairs.
I knew then it would be a long day and I would like to commend myself just the tiniest of bits for not posting a single smart remark or snide comment on Facebook the way I usually do when the power goes out for more than 45 minutes. I did “like” a few comments others made, and deleted a couple of my own that I started to make but didn’t because I got to feeling sorry for the poor people out having to do their job with the power company. The guy that came out our way said he had been at Boy Scout camp enjoying the humidity when he got called in, so he seemed relatively happy, but I’m sure many of them were grilling hotdogs with the family, or floating around in the pool, or planning on going fishing.
Driving into town to pick up lunch I noticed children out playing in yards. I saw people leisurely sitting on porches visiting. McKenzie said she had forgotten how much she enjoyed books. McCay volunteered to do yard work, and by 4:30 I had plugged the coffeepot into the generator and composed the sweetest of messages on my phone to Alabama Power inquiring about outages throughout the state. I told her nobody I knew had so much as seen a power truck in all of Camden. She gave an estimated restoral time of 5:30, and I laughed out loud when I read it. I thanked her though for her quick response, and I didn’t message her back as 5:30 ticked by.
Just before 7:00, after almost 26 hours, the house surged back to life. Ceiling fans started spinning and clocks started flashing. TV’s programmed themselves back to the stations they were on prior to the outage like nothing had ever happened.
I’m not ready to live off the grid. But if I ever had to…I guess there is no place I’d rather be.

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