About the Colony

The miracle of electricity

Special to The TribuneSeptember 30, 2013 

Lon Allan


My dad wrote in a story of his life that the most significant technological event in his lifetime (he was over 80 when he wrote it) was the coming of electricity to his rural Nebraska home.

His family lived on a farm in North Bend, Neb. It was my dad’s job to check the barn in the evening before everyone settled down for the night. As a 12-year-old youngster at the time, he was terribly afraid of the dark. The barn was about 200 feet from the back door of the farmhouse. He hated making that trek to the barn and back to the house.

When electricity finally came to his farm, he said his dad ran an electrical wire from the house out to the barn. A single light bulb was attached about halfway between the two structures. What a miracle it was, he remembers, when he could turn a knob on a switch mounted next to the door and see the area he so dreaded become illuminated.

I have never lived without electricity.

I thought of dad’s vivid recollection of electricity’s arrival last Friday morning when our power went out. I’d like to say we were “plunged into darkness” because it sounds so dramatic, but the outage was at 7:26 a.m. Come to think of it though, I was plunged into darkness because I was taking a shower and we have one of those bathrooms with no window.

Fortunately I had finished shaving with my electric razor.

I had already checked email to see if anyone other than advertisers were trying to reach us.

I picked up my copy of The Tribune from the driveway and took it to the table for my morning ritual of rummaging through its pages when I realized there was no coffee.

Coffee and the morning newspaper (together) have developed into a “have to” to begin each day for me.

But it (lack of power) was a minor inconvenience in light of all that could impact my life at this stage of my life. I had a small job fixing a friend’s doors and decided I’d get a cup of coffee to go with me at a local convenience store. Several were out of electricity, too, with the exception of a place on Morro Road. I could see that they had electricity (and hot coffee) from a quarter mile away because of the cars parked crazily in the parking lot and on the street. I guess one man’s loss (of electricity) is another man’s gain.

The blackout only lasted three hours, and it was daylight, after all.

I love electricity.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades, and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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