When the Power Goes Out

Light unexpectedly filled the dark room. As I softly blew out the candle flame, I was (almost) disappointed that the electricity had come back on.

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Tuesday night, I was alone with the kids while Ed was out with some friends. I had just posted this on Facebook before I settled down with my book: “Kids are fast asleep, husband is gone for the evening, thunderstorms are rolling in…and I’m reading a novel about graveyards and ghosts.” I hadn’t been in my chair long when the phone rang.

“There’s a really bad storm headed your way,” my brother told me. “It’s supposed to hit your area in about 10 minutes.”

“Really?” I replied. I had just heard some thunder, but the wind didn’t seem to be too bad. No tornado sirens were going off. I debated with my brother about whether I should wake up the girls and take them to the basement.

“You might want to,” he said. “The winds that went through here were pretty powerful.

And then, the wind hit our house, and the house shook. “I’m getting the girls!” I told my brother. I heard a crash, the power went out and the phone went dead. I grabbed a flashlight and went upstairs. Lily was hard to wake up, but I just stood her up and she sleepily followed me to get Emmy from her bed. We headed down the stairs all the way to the basement, where I sat in the office chair with both girls on my lap and the flashlights on the desk.

The whole storm didn’t last long, but I stayed in the basement for a few minutes. I called my brother back on my cell phone, and he told me what the weather reports were saying. It seemed safe to take the girls back upstairs. The wind had died down, and so we sat in the living room waiting for Ed to come home. When he did pull into the driveway, his headlights illuminated all the tree branches littering the streets and front yards.

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Light unexpectedly filled the dark room. As I softly blew out the candle flame, I was (almost) disappointed that the electricity had come back on. Just moments before, Ed and I had been sitting outside. We had spent the whole day without power, and Ed and I had been reading on the front porch until the sun finally went down. As we sat in the dark, (and it was dark, more dark than it ever gets around here) we drank wine and chatted with our neighbors walking by. Their kids were carrying glowsticks and having fun chasing each other in the dark. Earlier that afternoon, a neighbor we don’t know very well came over and offered us the use of her generator to keep our food cold.

A power outage like this brings neighborhoods together. We told each other that we were lucky; we were only cleaning up tree branches from our yards; no one’s house had been lifted away by tornadoes.

After 25 hours, our power did go back on. We were lucky; some neighborhoods didn’t get their power back for several days.

Every time this happens in our neighborhood, (and it has happened more than once!) we breathe a sigh of relief when the power floods our homes with light once more.

But the next night, I still lit the candles on the dining room table as we sat down to dinner. It was nice.

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6 Responses to When the Power Goes Out

  1. So much love fills your words here. I appreciate how you found that on this remarkable (yet usual) day.I think this is my first visit? I came here via CommentHour! So grateful to have found you today!

  2. Wow, what a scary experience! (Although it is amazing how wine and candle-light can lighten things up isn't it?) Your telling of the experience sounds very Norman Rockwell-like. 🙂 It sounds like you have a wonderful neighborhood!

  3. Summer storms can be so frightening can't they? Losing the power really jolts us into realizing how dependent we are on electricity. Losing power is kind of fun (kind of) when everyone is home safe, there is no real danger and when it doesn't stay off too long, so I know what you mean about blowing out that candle. Thank goodness your storm wasn't too bad. We haven't had a bad one yet this season, which is good because we have a lot of tall trees in our yard and are out of siren range. Thanks for the post!

  4. I can't imagine not having power for so long! And I don't even have a basement in which to hide. Mind you, we don't really have extremes like that fortunately, although bad weather is being forecast for tomorrow: heavy thunderstorms and hailstones. I will have to bring my Tweety suit into work!

  5. I love the way you tell the story!Summer storms seem to be an every day occurence this year. I can't believe our planted flowers (which we did about a month ago and were nicely thriving) died due to DROWNING. Yes, we've had that much rain. Thunder too.

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