Tennessee Mountain Stories

Wintertime Inconveniences

One of our readers commented last week that she agreed with me that she wouldn’t trade modern medical care for the good ‘ole days, and she really liked indoor plumbing too.  Diana, I completely agree, and your thought along with this week’s weather got me to thinking…

Photo courtesy of GHGraham.com

Photo courtesy of GHGraham.com

We got a little snow and ice this week and as the beautiful winter-scape developed, I kept one eye out the window and the other on a light bulb.  Tree limbs weighted by ice, slick roads and unskilled drivers all spell power outages for us.  We think we are prepared with bottled water, a stack of wood and extra food in the house.  Still, when things actually go dark, I can’t help but feel a little lost; it seems like everything that I need or want to do requires electricity. 

So at a time when we might be temporarily without some of our modern conveniences, let’s ask ourselves which one do you value most?  If you could only have one modern convenience, which one would it be?

There are a bunch of teenagers as well as several simply-agers that are running around these days with a cell phone permanently attached to their palm. Those folks might say they simply couldn’t live without that connection to the digital world.  Now, those of us who never heard of a cell phone for a good portion of our lives probably wouldn’t choose that first.  However, I must confess, I do feel a little safer on the road knowing I can call for help, I enjoy being able to reach out to friends and family whenever I think of something rather than waiting till I’m near a landline, and I won’t even tell you all the junk I have stored digitally that I truly enjoy carrying with me from to-do lists to photos.

Most of my generation would probably say they really need their television.  To those, I’d like to gently remind you of the day not too long ago when you only got three channels and maybe one of those was pretty fuzzy.  Pretty soon you’d seen all the shows so only the news was really new and most of that was bad.  Given those factors, do you really think the TV would be the one thing you would choose?  Not me.

I’m really spoiled by my car and frankly it would be hard to give up that level of freedom.  We are used to running out for a gallon of milk or to pop in on a friend; we can be at church or any appointment in just a few minutes and can make a trip to town and back and have plenty of day left to do something else.  But do you know that there are lots of places, even in the US, that don’t have two cars per household and they manage just fine?  Of course, it’s harder in the country because we can’t catch a bus to go to the mall or walk to the corner for a few groceries.  Back in the day, no one ever expected to go to town every week and buy their groceries.  However, everyone had a cow so there was always fresh milk and they prepared all summer to have food through the cold winter months.

And then there is electricity.  Okay, lights are good.  I like my computer – after all, that’s where I write my little stories and I guess I can’t really imagine doing it all on paper.  Heat is fine and it’s nice not to have to mind the fire sometimes.  The fridge is the kicker for me with electricity, think about summertime and frozen meat.  Do any of you remember salt-cured pork?  I know some folks consider it a delicacy but I never did acquire a taste for that stuff.

When I turned on my faucet this morning to prepare my morning coffee, I found it dry and right then and there I realized indoor plumbing would be the single modern convenience that I would choose if I could have only one.  Now, I’ve visited an outdoor privy just a few times in my life and that would have convinced me in one degree temps this morning even before the dry faucet.  I would love indoor plumbing in the summertime when the creek would be surrounded by flying bugs hounding efforts to do laundry.  From bathing to canning, opening that faucet with a plentiful, ready supply of fresh clean water is a blessing I can hardly even count.  Thankfully, the hiccup in my plumbing this morning was a simply mechanical issue at the pump and lasted only till my husband could drag himself down to the well house and then I was once again praising The Lord for running water.

It may be hard to think objectively about these conveniences, especially if you are without any one of them right now.  But I would love to hear from ya’ll which one convenience you would choose if you could only have one.

photo courtesy of ghgraham.com

photo courtesy of ghgraham.com