Don#039;t curse the darkness, folks

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen tremendous devastation to the landscape of our county: countless trees down, homes badly damaged or destroyed. Vehicles got totaled. Pretty much everyone, it seemed, lost power for anywhere from a couple of days to up to a week.

Workers toiled feverishly day and night trying to get the lines back up, cut up the downed trees, clear the roads and in general bring normalcy back into our lives.

This weekend I was able to enjoy a glass of ice-cold milk direct from my humming fridge. When paired with a couple of chocolate chip cookies for dunking – oh, what a treat to savor. Call it a simple but most effective pleasure.

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Saturday was my birthday, as it so happens and the long, hot shower and shampoo seemed I enjoyed that afternoon were almost as much of a gift to me as the meal Benny and I enjoyed together at Ruby Tuesday that night. (Thank you, Pioneer Electric and all who supported them in the efforts to restore power to our area.)

Driving home that evening it was wonderful to travel these country roads, see the lights in our neighbor’s houses and no longer feel quite so isolated as we did during our week without electricity. We made it through the darkness; we welcomed back the light.

But I also found we didn’t, or shouldn’t, need to curse the temporary darkness that fell upon us.

A little old-fashioned ingenuity went a long way in making the powerless nights not only bearable, but even fun for some.

I heard stories about kids and dads playing &uot;I Spy&uot; by flashlight and learning how to make shadow puppets on the wall from their moms. There were families who gathered around and listened to a favorite team’s ballgame on the battery-powered radio.

Others played cards and long-neglected board games by lamplight. Sometimes people just sat in the flickering candlelight – and they talked. Really talked. No rushing to drive to the ballgame or be first in line to go online.

One young girl said she wouldn’t mind if the lights stayed off for a few extra days. It seemed she was having fun being disconnected from the business of the world for a little while.

I think it’s true that good results can come from bad situations.

Ivan: very bad thing. Togetherness with family and friends: very good thing.

Maybe every so often we all need to turn off the cell phones and beepers, unplug the computers and video games, turn off the TVs and let the satellite dish rest.

Instead, we could spend some time with our families and friends talking, sharing old family stories and engaging in the sort of fun and games that do not require technical things like batteries, satellite signals or a modem.

Just don’t unplug the fridge. You’ll find ice-cold milk is awfully good to dunk cookies in, while you wheel and deal for Park Place or Boardwalk.

Angie Long is a Lifestyles writer and columnist for The Greenville Advocate. She may be contacted at home by phone at 382-5145.