The night the lights went out in…

TV Hagenah

Usually when I use the word “blackout,” people think I am referring to my misspent youth (or not so youth, but definitely, misspent), but surprisingly enough I am usually referring to a power failure.

I often get a similar reaction to the phrase, “I’m in the dark.” Actually in that case, people generally assume that I have no idea about what is going on regarding a specific situation, and while they are often right about that, I usually use the phrase to describe not having electricity in my immediate vicinity.

The younger generation doesn’t realize that not that many years ago the power supply was a somewhat tenuous commodity in many households and not having electricity was rather common on days and nights with questionable weather.

Of course, in my case, on a couple of occasions not paying my electric bill contributed to the outages also. You would be surprised just how picky the power company can become about such things as being a couple of four or five months behind on the electric bill.

Looking back I remember when my wife and I were first married, having a power outage was something the two of us actually looked forward to. I remember one time just after our honeymoon the power went out and we had quite a romantic time dealing with it. We cooked our meals in the fireplace (you would be surprised just how badly that works when they are microwave dinners. My wife kept saying that it really wasn’t her fault that they always got burned since she kept waiting for the fireplace to beep when the meals were done. (I realized about then I had not married Julia Child).
And really, even just moving around proved to be romantic. Every time we bumped into one another, it was a wonderful excuse to cuddle and smooch (for the younger generation “smooching” is a great deal like “making out” except you are married so you don’t have to worry about the girl’s parents looking in on you and saying, “Just what do you think you are doing, young man?” -I was always convinced that I must be doing something wrong if they had to ask so often).

One of the negatives about being expected to cuddle every time you bumped into each other is that occasionally when it was really dark, you could bump into other things and have a few embarrassing encounters. For instance, we used to have a coat rack with a sheepskin coat hanging on it that…well, let’s just say that in some southern states I may have a warrant out for me because of that situation. And then there was the cactus my wife installed in the house that helped me prove that it is not only women who can hit the note “C” above high “C”. Actually when the power came on about three days later we were rather sad. To this day, my wife contends that the power actually came on two days earlier, but I was enjoying it so much I just wasn’t turning on the lights. She says there is no telling how long I would have let it continue if a football game had not been scheduled on TV that third day.

Clearly those days are gone. The other evening during the power failure in town I came home and I heard her moving around in the house someplace and I said “Sweetheart, does this remind you of anything?

And I heard her say, “ummm.”

And I said, “Well…you know, It makes me feel kind of romantic…”

Then quicker than I could pucker up, she handed me a sheepskin coat, a coat rack and a barrel cactus.