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What would we do without electricity?

Last Sunday evening a thunderstorm roared through Mountain City. As I write this column I hope and pray nobody was hurt or had property damage from the results of the high winds, hail or lightning the storm brought. A brief look around our house showed no apparent damage but the wind sure blew pretty hard and there was penny-size hail on the ground. There were also a lot of leaves on the ground as a result of the storm.
A brief electric power outage occurred at our house but re-setting the electric clocks was the only chore it necessitated. One of our clocks sets itself by picking up a radio signal from Fort Collins, Colorado. Imagine that. It also accounts for Daylight Savings Time. Those types of clocks are relatively inexpensive considering the complex works inside them and the sophisticated system the signal uses to reach the clock.
The short electrical outage that occurred started me to thinking how important electric power is in this modern age. I am very cognizant of the fact that many folks in other countries don’t yet have electricity available.
I can remember when I was a youngster we had no electric power at our house. Consequently there was no electric lighting, no refrigerator, no electric iron, no electric cook stove, no freezer and no washing machine. Of course, we didn’t have television as that was before few if any had television in our neighborhood.
I was about ten years old when two of my uncles wired our house for electricity. And I can remember very well when we pulled the string or flipped the switch and the magic of electricity lit up the room. Our lighting had been from kerosene lamps that gave forth only a fraction of the light from a light bulb.
Butter and milk was cooled by placing them in a small stream of water that ran through a concrete trough in our cellar. The origin of the stream was a cool spring.
Laundry was done when one day each week (usually Monday), my mother would go down to the creek that ran in the front of our property and spend nearly all day washing the family’s clothes. It required heating water in a large iron kettle, cutting soap chips from bars of lye soap, and using a washboard to wash the clothes. Another pot of hot water served as the rinse water. Following the rinsing, the clothes were hung on a clothesline to dry. That was quite a contrast to what can be done with a modern electric washer.
Back then nearly every piece of clothing had to be ironed. There was no wash and wear material. With no electricity, it was necessary to heat the irons on a stove. As one iron cooled another was heated so the chore could be completed. Ironing then took the better part of a day (usually Tuesday).
Cooking was a much greater chore then than it is now. A fire was built in the firebox of the stove. The heat from the stove was all right in winter but when cooking was done in the hottest day of summer, it was very uncomfortable to say the least.
I have only mentioned a few of the difficulties of living in a pre-electric time. I might point out that we were not the only family without electricity. In that day folks living in rural areas couldn’t get electric service. It just wasn’t available. I am thankful that electricity is available now and it is being used in so many ways. What would we do without it?