Thanksgiving without juice

Tessa had been preparing for weeks for her first official function at her new house: Thanksgiving for her parents, sister and brother-in-law and nephew. It was meant to be a spectacular event with guests arriving the day before and a plan for outings the day after.

On Wednesday we drove to Pembroke (NH) in a snowstorm that left the North Shore with a dusting but covered New Hampshire with a whopping 10 inches if not more of heavy wet snow that crushed trees and dropped limbs on power lines. At 3 PM the electricity flickered and at 4 it was out. The outage affected hundreds of thousands of NH families which would have to do without their turkeys, unless they had gas-powered barbecues and a sheltered outdoor space to operate it. These same families also had to do without the traditional watching of games on TV. In addition, phone, computer and iPad batteries would be worn out before Thanksgiving Day. People would have to talk to one another without the crutches of electronic entertainment.

At Tessa’s house no electricity also means no water as it is pumped out of a well. So here we were 6 adults and one toddler, no electricity, no water (meaning also no flushing of toilets). Luckily the wood fired stove kept us warm and toasty and allowed for melting of snow to provide us with drinking water. The stove surface was large enough and hot enough, to cook bacon and eggs, but not a turkey or any of the other trimmings so carefully selected and prepared by Tessa. It was a huge disappointment.

We ventured out into the snowy landscape which was beautiful and very photogenic; but lacking skies and good outdoor gear, plus a hyperactive toddler who wanted to be carried by his exhausted parents, the escape from the house was a short one. Back inside we acknowledged that this would not be the Thanksgiving we had planned and considered an earlier return to our home, with its water and electricity. Less than twenty-four hours after the disappearance of electricity we gave up and returned home with the large uncooked turkey, ending our Thanksgiving, leaving a very disappointed hostess behind. It was heartbreaking.

Tessa and Steve choose to stay and ride out the power outage – hoping (though knowing the odds) – that the electricity would come back soon. So far it hasn’t and they are beginning to wonder about showers and the content of their freezer. Luckily they are young, have heat, water in 10 gallon containers and a supply of Dutch cheese and licorice. It reminded us how much we take water, heat and electricity for granted and how much these utilities determine our comfort. Nevertheless, the short time we had together, the 7 of us, left us most thankful for each other, our girls, their mates and our most delightful grandson.

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