Appreciating the “little things”

Published 3:51 pm Saturday, June 24, 2023

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There is nothing like a natural disaster to cultivate an appreciation for life’s little things. 

Central and south Alabama counties were hit with thunderstorms beginning Wednesday, and like thousands of other residents in Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties, I found myself without electricity.

Generations of Alabamians lived without electricity before Alabama Power was formed in 1906, paving the way for citizens across the state to eventually receive electricity in their homes. 

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My mother grew up without electricity in north Crenshaw County. During the 1930s when many American homes received electricity, her family remained without electric power through most of the 1940s.

Growing up as a country girl I developed survival techniques – learning to use oil lanterns and light the gas stovetop with a match – a night or two without the benefits of electricity should be no big deal. But on several evenings, I found myself frustrated that so many tasks I needed to complete required electricity to accomplish.

Without electricity, of course air conditioning was out of the question. Thankfully the weather was cool and I enjoy sleeping with open windows.

Dinner, on the other hand, was another story. No southerner accustomed to summer storms opens their refrigerator during a power outage for fear of food spoilage during an extended outage. So, since most of my dinner ingredients were in the refrigerator, making dinner with shelf stable foods, and without butter, was an interesting accomplishment.

I could go on about the lack of lighting, the hazards of candles, and the fear that my cellular phone would die before morning. But instead, the experience reminded me of just how many parts of life, the simple things, are taken for granted.

After spending three hours researching power outages and writing storm coverage for three counties on my cell phone, I developed a much broader appreciation for electricity, the internet, and my computer.

Eight hours later, when the power, and my air conditioner returned, I praised God for His goodness and for the Alabama Power crews who worked through a raging thunderstorm to restore power in Lapine.

Many other residents across the tri-county area are no doubt more deeply grateful now, after the storms – for electricity, for roads clear to travel, and for the road crews, firemen and other first responders who cleared debris and fallen trees. Like me, some are also grateful that damage is limited to debris and downed limbs, or a crushed chicken coop rather than a tree across their home.

Perhaps we will all stop more often to cherish the luxuries we enjoy by way of electricity. Perhaps we will also take the time to thank those who helped with storm recovery and restored our electricity so we can enjoy life’s many little pleasures.