Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The Halloween That Wasn't
This year Halloween didn’t happen. At least, not in the traditional sense. We had a big nor’easter a few days before that wreaked havoc on trees that had not yet shed their leaves. Thousands of people were without electricity. Streets were dark and littered with downed branches and wires. We went into survival, not haunting mode.
While some people got their power back within 24 hours, for many it took more than a week! Communities sent out robo-calls updating the status of the power companies’ progress as well as-gasp-to cancel Halloween! It just wasn’t safe. I didn’t even walk the dog—I hibernated—and gained five pounds! And no, those five pounds weren’t from the leftover Halloween candy. I sent that to my son’s girlfriend’s house.
We didn’t have much food in our refrigerator/freezer upstairs nor our chest freezer in the cellar, yet we didn’t want to lose what we did have so we packed coolers with snow and started cooking. Because we have a gas stove we still could use the burners if we lit them manually. We ate and ate.
Hanging out at local warming centers during the day gave me a glimpse into my future. The Senior Center in Agawam still had internet! It was fun sitting in the computer room with the older folks as they checked their email and watched their soap operas. It just wasn’t comfortable sitting home trying to stay warm with no source of heat. Our oil burner uses electricity so we had no heat or hot water. By boiling water on the stove, solar gain during the day, and candles at night we could get the house temperature up to a roaring 58o F.
We were lucky, we survived the week. Friends and family offered hot meals and showers. Many people also showered at the YMCA. I missed the coffee maker most of all. Coffee was percolated four cups at a time on the stove. The quality was inconsistent—too weak, too strong, burned, etc. It’s too bad we’re so dependent on these modern conveniences.
Above all this week gave me a greater appreciation of our forebears who endured much bigger inconveniences to get us to where we are today.