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Holli Deal Bragg - More power to you

Holli Deal Bragg - More power to you

Holli Deal Bragg - More power to you

Holli Deal Bragg

      I never knew silence could be so loud.
      Actually, the noise we are used to hearing on a daily basis drowns out a great deal of other things we never notice - the steady drip of a faucet, the hum of the wind on a pane of glass, the plink of icicles dropping, and the thunk of tree limbs hitting the ground.
      OK, that last one is hard to miss.
      Trying to sleep in a house without power is difficult. Used to the hum of appliances, the drone of the TV, the whir of the fan or heater, trying to sleep in silence is not an easy task. That's why I had bags under my eyes after the Great Ice Storm of 2010 that forced us to live several hours without electricity.
      All total, about 7,000 Bulloch County area residents experienced the same thing a week ago as ice coated tree limbs, power lines, and everything else. People across the area were cooking breakfast, typing documents, sending emails, dressing, taking baths, cleaning house, talking on their cordless phones, and who-knows-what, when POOF!
     The lights went out.
      No TV. No radio. No Internet. No heat.
      Due to power outages, my Mom decided to hang out with us, but lo and behold the Electric Fairy decided to yank our plug as well. Mom had just finished cooking a mouth-watering pot of homemade vegetable soup when the power died, and we enjoyed dinner by candlelight after Stan made a run to the dollar store for candles. The town of Portal still had lights, thank goodness.
      It was an adventure, to say the least. We bundled up under blankets and talked - something so many people never do anymore. It was fun, but when it came time to sleep - it just didn't happen.
      I noticed every single little sound - the dog snoring, the steady drip of the melting icicles outside, the soft plink of falling ice onto the porch. Staring into the darkness, I imagined I could even hear the dancing candle flames as they flittered to a rhythm of their own.
      One time there was a flash of brightness and a sizzling sound that lasted a second and had us all exclaiming in delight, but it was only a tease.
      Bored, unable to sleep, and craving the brownies we would have baked had the electricity been present, Stan and I decided to make a midnight run to Statesboro, where certainly there would be a store open that had Debbie cakes and Diet Cokes.
      On the way out, we saw the bluish glow of a spotlight, standing out against the velvet blackness that was the sky, unmarred by security lights. We followed the light, driving in the lineman's truck tracks down muddy dirt roads, over downed trees, until we caught up with the workers.
      Hopefully, they would tell us we were back in business.
      As we talked to them, one man said they had just switched on power to our area. We dashed to Statesboro for the emergency junk food and hurried back, anticipating TV and sleep. We smiled as we passed neighbors with power who had been as much in the dark as we, thinking we would soon be home to the heat, the lights, the Internet.
      But no. As we turned the corner, the sky was just as dark as it had been when we left. As we neared our home, we saw neighbors closer to us had not been blessed by the Givers of Light, and I understood why Mom had not answered the phone. We were still without power.
      Using my cell phone, I called to report the outage again, thinking it would help. The automated message on the other end promised to call me when power was restored. I shook my head; didn't they think we would notice?
      After the midnight snack and more talk, we all drifted off into a somewhat slumber, exhausted at last around 3 a.m., too tired to be bothered by the odd sounds usually hidden by white noise.
      When the electricity did come back on around 5 a.m., no one else stirred, and I was too sleepy to care. But when Excelsior Electric Membership Corporation's automated service called me to inform me my lights were on, the phone startled me out of my slumber. Although I closed my eyes again afterwards, and turned off the TV and lights, I could not regain that little bit of slumber of which I had been robbed.
      The experience didn't hurt us, and served to remind us of those who have no homes, or who were out working in the ice and wind to make sure we would have our heat and light restored. The night without lights served as a good reminder that we should be thankful for our blessings, but I hope it doesn't happen again anytime soon.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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