Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Night in the Country

Last evening we lost our power here in Fiskdale. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but last night it was.

First of all, the weather reports said the temperature was going to fall into the low teens and single numbers. I don't own any fleece underwear anymore, so of course this temperature thing was a concern. I also had gone through all but three logs I had bought for the fireplace. But, I did have a bunch of pine left over from a concrete project I did last summer. Survival mode kicked in, and soon the flashlight and hand saw were working on that lumber. The little heat the fireplace gave off was enough to augment what the steam bolier had already done.

We had candles. Lot's of Yankee Candles. House smelled really good. Sort of a Rose Bush, Daffodil, Midsummers Night, Seashore thing going on. We also had a battery powered portable radio. I figured I'd turn that puppy on, and tune to WBZ AM at 7:00 for the radio version of 60 Minutes. No dice. This radio can pick up a Laplander radioing for supplies, but local AM? Not a chance.

In December we replaced 19 old windows with new replacement windows. Replacement windows with Argon. Nice. Nine windows had already been replaced sometime before we bought "This Old House", but the others were about 35 years old and were so drafty that the wind would actually blow out those Yankee Candles from across the room. After an hour into the power outage, the house was not drafty, and the heat had only dropped a couple of degrees. Ahright!

But here is the kicker about the power outage last night. The night before we lost power, Mary and I had decided to watch the movie , "The Bourne Supremacy" on network TV. We then ordered up the latest movie in the series, "The Bourne Ulitmatum" on pay per view. The movie was great. The ending is still a mystery, though. Seems that Worcester had a power outage that night, and during the final 15 or 20 minutes or so, the cable went dead.

So a phone call to customer service, the usual "unplug this" "plug in that now" scenario was dictated over the phone. Cable did come back, but not the movie. So, last night we planned on pulling up the movie again, fast forwarding to the spot where we left off. We were just sitting down to do this when..."poof". No lights. Coincidence? I don't think so. It's those people at Charter Cable having fun with the guy in Fiskdale.

After, the first minute of looking at each other and making statements like, "Can you believe this?" "It's a conspiracy", and "Where are you, Mary?" , we lit the candles, and the logs, got the radio, and abandoned hope for a hot meal. I was just planning on foraging for food in the kitchen when Mary said, "Lets go out for sandwiches."

Duh. No brainer. My head was still stuck in survival mode.

So, the truck and I headed south down Route 148. Strange seeing it so dark. Not a streetlight, a house light, or a traffic light on. I then headed east on Route 20, and thought, "This is how the village must have looked a hundred years ago. Neat". I can amuse myself in any situation.

It was dark till I got to the electrical substation, and the only light there was a yellow flashing light from a National Grid truck. A little further down the road, at the intersection in front of Old Sturbridge Village, the traffic lights were working, and the rest of the world was lit. HooYah! I pulled a "u-ee" and headed in to McDonalds, bought some supplies and headed home.

Once home, we began to divide up the bounty, and then I had a brainstorm: The portable DVD player!! It's battery powered! Yes! We're saved! I found it hiding in the closet, we popped in a Pirates of the Carribean DVD, and sat back for some 21st century entertainment.

We had food, we stoked the fire, got some drinks, and fired up the portable DVD player, and sat back and waited to be entertained. We were going to be fine. Yep, we are survivors.

While we waited through the five minutes of mandatory "Coming Attractions", I looked around the room and noticed how peaceful it was. The candlelight bouncing around the room, the firelight from the fireplace flickering on the wood floors and in Mary's eyes, and Jen was curled up in the big over stuffed chair. The scene looked like a Rockwell painting.

This was really nice. Really nice.

Then the lights came on.

I think we are going to have some mandatory power outages in the future. In fact, I know we are.

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