“THE DAMN FOOL
HUGGED A TELEPHONE POLE
WITH HIS TRUCK.
That was at one thirty (in the afternoon)...
WELL... they got THAT fixed (electrical power restored) by FOUR
So we had our supper.
The STORM was still just STARTED
YOU’D THINK... not that anyone THINKS anymore...
That the DAMN FOOL would SLOW DOWN.
That’s the THRID ONE of them
In SIX WEEKS
That has HUGGED A POLE (taking the electrical power out) with their TRUCK.
DAMN FOOLS: SLOW DOWN.”
“After supper that POWER went AGAIN.
I could tell they was still messing with the POLE so
I didn’t... WELL... I DID:
I got my coffee pot out of the shed.
BROUGHT my (18th century wrought iron hand held) TOASTER IN TOO.
Figured OH HELL.
Handful of (colonial style pierced tin) LANTERN CANDLES too.
It was snowing and started to blowing. I figured
HERE WE GO.
I went to bed and that power come back on like I figured.
But then it was STILL SNOWING. Blowing.
You know: WINDING UP. Sticking. Freezing to the trees.
OK I say and sleep. At two I wake up and it’s OFF again.
This time I knew it weren’t a TRUCK hugging anything.
So I got up at three and started the fire.
We were that way for the next three days.”
“What happens when your power goes off?”
“BETTER CHARGE YOUR (cell) PHONE DEAR” happens FIRST and that’s based on the forecast. Then there’s a general ‘hunker down’ air of behavior within the old house and... outside the old house. Barns doors are ‘hitched’. Shed doors are ‘hitched’. ‘Firewood’ is ‘brought in’. The OUTSIDE (old stone) foundation and sill line of the house has already been ‘SEALED’ (covered) with ‘plastic’ and ...a lot... of Balsam fir bows and small fir trees. That had been done in the ‘last month’ (November). What happens there is that ‘work’ is ‘covered’ quickly by the snow, freezes solid and... so... ‘SEALS’ ‘the house’. The plastic is reused over and over and ‘holds’ for about ten years of usage. And we don’t buy the plastic. Over ten years one can ‘get’ ‘a lot’ of plastic... these days.
THEN the STORM starts.
THEN the power goes out.
THEN... when we had the electrician putting in the new ‘box’ he was soooo ‘insistent’ about ‘putting in’ an ‘outlet’ ‘for a generator’... I let him do it. I personally have never TOUCHED the thing. Anyway; there’s a switch to throw for THAT... to ‘work’.
WELL WE throw our own switch and that is to simply STEP BACK two hundred and fifty years to when THIS HOUSE was ‘MADE’. It was... ‘MADE’... for ‘weather like this’. We ...start the fire... in the ‘old’ fireplace kitchen and... live... ‘in that room’ for the next few days ‘just like’. NO: ‘exactly how’.
That room... like the house... is ‘pretty small’. ALL the damn rooms... there are only FIVE in the whole HOUSE... are ‘small’. This room is the biggest of the small rooms. If she and I had our picture taken ‘sitting there’ the CAMERA would be against the outside wall of the house. The other wall would be behind HER. The WALL behind me goes into the ‘buttery’... room... that is a SMALL room. So we sit at the fire in the fireplace... kitchen... for a few days.
The chimney is very large and is a giant heat sink. The opening at the top is forty-two by forty-eight inches. That’s huge and was made that way intentionally. The ‘house’ is a small wooden structure ‘built around’ ‘that’ (the chimney). There’s a ‘fireplace’ in the ‘other room’ downstairs and... a fireplace in the (upstairs) ‘chamber’. IF it is really cold I ‘run’ the fireplace in the ‘other room’ TOO. THAT will ‘keep the pipes from freezing’. If it is ‘really cold’ all this will not keep ME from freezing so WE (her and I) are ‘hunkered down’ at the fireplace kitchen just like it was made for us to do. THAT ‘works great’.
Then the power comes back on. We put the cook pots away. Put the coffee pot away. Put the candles and the lanterns ‘back’. Open up the buildings. Dump out the buckets of well water.
Go into town and get the mail.
“ALL THAT DAMN FOOL DID WAS PUT HIMSELF IN THE HOSPITAL, destroy his TRUCK and TAKE OUT the power to the WHOLE DAMN TOWN.”
Henry Coombs said to me while he was next to me getting his mail