Where were you when the lights went out?
I was trying to celebrate Christmas. Here’s how it happened.
The Lindemans went west this year to spend Christmas with our daughter and her family. They live in Denver, which is farther away from Troy than I would like but if you have to live far away, it’s a pretty good choice.
There we were on Christmas Day, the picture of tranquility. Our sons were hard at work helping our grandchildren build LEGOs. Other various relatives were around getting things ready for the big Christmas dinner: there was turkey in the crock pot, the rolls had just risen and were ready to go into the oven, the potatoes were being cut on their way to being mashed.
I was doing my part, sitting in a chair and getting ready to watch the Cavs play the Warriors.
Then, suddenly, the TV went dark. The Christmas tree lights went out. It took a moment before we realized the power had gone off.
It was windy day, so we figured a tree limb must have fallen on lines somewhere. No big deal.
In fact, I looked on it as kind of an adventure. Back when I was growing up on Peters Road outside of Troy, we used to have power outages all the time. Life was primitive back then, and any good thunderstorm would knock the lights out.
Since we had a well powered by electricity, we also would lose our water. That meant all us boys had to sneak out in the back yard if we had to, you know, use the facilities, which I thought was great fun. On the other hand, the sump pump in the basement wouldn’t work and sometimes we would have to grab buckets and empty the water to keep the basement from flooding.
Still, it usually was a lot of fun. We lit candles and carried flashlights around and I actually kind of looked forward to being without electricity (at least in the summer).
Things are more advanced today. My daughter went online on her phone to see how long the power outage was supposed to last.
Uh-oh. 11 p.m.
Well, we would just have to be flexible. My son-in-law suggested maybe we should make like “A Christmas Story” and go to a Chinese restaurant. He even started looking some up, but we thought better of it, although we did have fun singing “fa wa wa wa wa” a few times. On the other hand, we could have gone to a Mexican restaurant, because there is one on just about every block in Denver, but in the end we decided to tough it out.
I braved the hurricane-like winds, went outside and lit the grill, which is about four steps out the door on the back deck. We put the turkey in a metal pan, took rolls out in their tin and threw them on the grill. A primitive Christmas! The old man of the family brought dinner home after a wild battle against the elements in suburbia.
Fortunately, the water still works at my daughter’s house when the power goes out, so that wasn’t a problem.
The potatoes were a lost cause, but that was OK. We dug a bunch of other stuff out of the refrigerator and pulled everything together just as it started to get dark.
So there we were, eating our Christmas dinner by candlelight. It really was pretty cool — well, in fact it was getting a little cool, considering there was no heat. By 11 o’clock it could get downright cold.
But not to worry. Our son-in-law was on call and had to go to the hospital, so he could stay warm. Our daughter packed the kids off to bed and threw a couple extra blankets on them, so they were warm. She decided to curl up in a chair under a blanket and read a book by flashlight, so she was warm.
What should we do now? Have some deep discussion about the meaning of Christmas? Sing carols? Sit around and meditate by candlelight?
Well, no. Someone suggested that since there was no power and since the grandchildren and their mom would be fine at home, the rest of us should go someplace where there was electricity, like maybe a movie theater. So we went to see “Star Wars.”
I realize this isn’t exactly like a page out of “Little House on the Prairie,” but it worked for us. We kind of had our own “A Christmas Story” ending after all. We saw the movie and by the time we got home the lights were back on and everyone was nice and warm.
All’s well that ends well and now I’m looking forward to the next power outage — who knows, maybe by then there will be another movie I’ll want to see.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.