Appalachian Thursday–Power Outages, Hog Killings, & Memories
I have fond memories of the power going out when I was a kid growing up on a farm in WV.
I was reminiscing with my mother about one winter outage when I was particularly delighted because we got to play cards by lantern light, keep a fire going in the fireplace ALL day, and sleep in the living room wearing toboggans to keep our little heads warm.
Can you say, FUN??
Mom laughed. She has different memories of that particular outage. Here are the parts I don’t remember:
- We’d just finished butchering a hog. Mom and Dad finished packaging the meat and left it on the porch to freeze since the chest freezer wasn’t working.
- Hot water had to be heated by fire. Imagine a kitchen after processing a hog. Pig fat everywhere and on everything. Mom had to wait until the power came back on to clean up properly.
- That cheery fire blazing hour after hour? Every so often we had to let it go out, remove the hot ashes, and dispose of them safely. By “we” I mean Mom and Dad.
- And let’s be honest, sleeping in the floor with wiggly, giggly children holds MUCH less charm for me as an adult. I’m guessing it was the same for Mom.
We laughed together over the disparity in our memories. Mom said she finally gave up and packed us off to Grandmas while Dad stayed at the farm to keep the pipes from freezing. That was probably fun for us kids, too!
This is why I appreciate my parents so much. That power outage wasn’t any fun for them. As a matter of fact it was deeply frustrating. But until Mom told me her version, I had no idea. Maybe I was just oblivious, but I like to think Mom and Dad did a good job of insulating me–cushioning me from too many of life’s trials and tribulations too soon.
Reality is something we all need to face. But when you’re a kid it sure is nice to have parents who let you revel in sleeping on the floor beside a crackling fire. Safe, and warm, and loved.