The good news:
My grocery store has my beloved trail mix again. No banana chips, no peanuts. Just my favorite nearly healthy mix of dried mangoes, apples, coconut, raisins and almonds with a little granola. Which reminds me of a story. (Of course.)
In late January, our area was blessed with a series of ice and snow storms alternating with high winds. Big trees plus ice plus wind equals power outage. At the time of our first multiple-day outage, our baby Laura was mere days old and yet on the second day of the outage the EGE was urgently needed at work in the city. He took my Suburban, for the four-wheel drive. The girls and I settled in to play Little House On The Prairie. I make a pretty cute Ma, but casting would have to ignore the anachronistic use of gas appliances.
For the first four hours or so, a generator ran a space heater and we all snuggled up to play Bingo and Go Fish. I nursed the baby (chilly moments!) and made cup after cup of cocoa. We fought with the oil lamps. They're nice to look at, but how do you stop all the smoke? (Mental note: Figure that out before Winter's first storm.)
When you live in the middle of the sticks, you're likely to be the power company's last priority. This is perfectly understandable. Sometimes they even forget us. We're that close to "off the grid." Our neighbors warned us before we moved here about the weeks without power, but I thought to myself, this is the 21st century, for crying out loud.
I also thought to myself when hearing their cautionary stories, there's a school right across the road. Surely the school and next-door country church wouldn't go without power for days on end? In the Year 2008?
Ah HA! I later found out the hard way that the school and church are on a different power grid or transformer or electric doohickey and whatchamacallit than the lowly residences on our rural road. You see that my common sense and vast knowledge of electricity will take me far in this world.
So while the generator whirred and its accompanying tiny space heater (Mental note: Continue to beg the Powers That Be for a woodstove before Winter.) struggled to warm our ancient farmhouse, the wind whistled a happy tune through the siding, and Madeleine called my attention to a flurry of snow outside the window. It was then, through the near-white-out, that I spied the warm glow of the church porch light.
The electric porch light. Or beacon of warmth and hope. Or, invitation to move in to the church. Whichever way you want to look at it.
Faster than you can say "frostbite" the girls and I had doubled up our socks (already had coats and mittens on) and packed a backpack with tiny diapers and cocoa mix and graham crackers. We trudged less than a quarter mile to the back door of the church. (Thanks, Charles, for the key.)
I had a little moment of guilt when I cranked up the thermostat in the nursery to 85 degrees. (Mental note: Give a little extra to the church for electric bill.) It wasn't long before the girls were playing in their shirtsleeves with felt apostles and palm trees. They were coloring Bible story workbooks and I was making coffee and rocking the baby in no more layers than the average person wears in a snowstorm. We looked out the window periodically to see if our own porch light was gleaming back at us.
When it finally did, just before sundown, I was reluctant to bundle up. I didn't want to walk across the road to a house that might take hours to warm up. But I knew the EGE would be driving home, and so we cleaned up the church nursery and the kitchen. We wrapped our scarves around our necks and pulled our boots back on and trudged through falling the snow to home.
Crashing in the front door to hear the reassuring hum of heat blowing in was a lovely feeling. Madeleine and Sarah rushed around turning off lights and appliances that were on when the power had failed. Grace, at the time 3 years old, stood stock still in the center of the kitchen and said solemnly,
"Hal-Lo-Lu-Yah. Now we can watch TV."
(That spelling attempts to give you her precious pronunciation. I included it especially for Barb, my favorite writer.)
All of this to say, hallelujah. They fixed my trail mix. It's been a long cold summer without it. The electricity, the spark, was gone. Or something like that.
So finally, I come around to the bad news, and reason for the picture above (and you thought the picture was unrelated to today's post. Hmph. Ye of little faith.):
The bad news is that Two Spot, our elderly gentleman horse, likes my trail mix too.