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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jul 8, 2016

It was 15 minutes after midnight into Monday, the Fourth of July, when I woke up and thought something is wrong.

It was quiet, too quiet. We don’t have electricity.

It was also very dark. No yard light, no little blue, green, or red lights from those devices that are on all the time.

I looked out the window and it seemed like my neighbor’s power was on. I called the cooperative that furnishes our electricity.

After I pushed one for something, one for another thing, I was given the option to press zero to speak to a real person.

I pressed zero and after a few rings, a female voice answered whom, I believe, had been asleep.

I told her who I was and where I am. She asked if my neighbors had lights and I said I thought they did. It’s hard to tell because we are at the end of their service area.

She said she could check my meter from where she was to see if it was active and if not, send a crew. I gave her my phone number and would wait for a call.

I sat in the dark and silence and waited.

I was grateful for those simple LED flashlights I have scattered around and especially for the one in my bathrobe pocket that I use for late-night trips to the bathroom.

I started thinking what it means to be without electric power. My computers and router are off so no internet or anything online related.

No electricity means my well pump won’t run, no water for drinking or flushing the toilet or anything else.

Which is worse? No internet or no water? I’m thinking, I’m thinking …

Without the yard light and those little lights, there was no difference between the darkness outside and the darkness inside. The stars overhead seemed closer than usual.

As I sat there, I thought there are almost 200 wind turbines within a few miles of me generating electricity and I am sitting in the dark without power. It seemed ironic.

The chair I was sitting in had a view to the blacktop a mile away and I watched a couple cars go by, probably holiday celebrators going home, or not.

After just over an hour, I saw a different vehicle on the blacktop, it looked larger than a car and had more lights.

I wondered if maybe that was what I was looking for and then it turned on the gravel road in my direction. It was shining a light on the power lines leading to my home and then it was in my yard.

They shined their light on the transformer attached to the top of the power pole.

I stepped outside and got their attention with my flashlight.

“Am I the only one without power,” I asked. They said I was.

Do I get a prize,” I asked.

They said they were going to replace the transformer. Maybe that was the prize.

I watched them replace the transformer using their bucket truck with the same ease as when I stand on a chair to replace a light bulb in the kitchen ceiling.

They put the bucket back in place on the truck, the lineman climbed out, they got in the cab and backed out the driveway.

They drove down the road in the direction where they had previously disconnected my power line from its main source.

A couple minutes later, the lights in the house flashed on, electronic devices made beeps and the house picked up where it left off less than three hours earlier.

I looked at the gravel road to my west and saw the taillights of the utility truck headed for the blacktop, headed for home.

My phone rang and it was the power company asking if I had electricity. I said I did and the call ended.

I didn’t get to thank any of them.

We have a great country that on a holiday weekend, where there are people on duty keeping us safe, secure while we celebrate or rest.

They are so good at it, they make it look easy.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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