Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 12, 2013

Around the Town: Powerless on a Manic Monday

By Jan Boston Sellers
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — If rainy days and Mondays always get you down, then how do you feel when you wake up on a powerless Monday? About 10,000 of us woke up Monday morning without electricity — not a great way to start the work week. This column, however, is not about dissing Volunteer Electric but more about how dependent we are on those currents that run unnoticed through our homes and businesses.

My dad and Uncles George and Hoss were power workers. My dad worked for Dillard Smith; my uncles for Volunteer Electric. I can tell you without reservation that if there is anything worse than sitting home without power, it is knowing your family members are out in all kinds of elements working, often around the clock, to restore electricity. The night the lights went out in Georgia after an ice storm, dad and his crew packed up and it was 10 days before we saw him again. A hurricane hit South Carolina; he was gone for a few weeks. Andrew struck Florida; he was gone for six months. I can’t tell you how many times my uncles had to leave dinner, often holiday dinners, before they could finish eating so they could assist in power restoration.

Power working is not safe either. I recall several times my dad and uncles being upset about someone being injured, occasionally fatally so, when working on the electrical lines.

It is just so comical to me how much we really rely on electricity. I awakened to a silent but scorching house, with the temperature in the house hovering around 80 degrees Monday morning. I showered in the dark, applied my makeup by the window; dressed in the dark, with no morning news to listen to while I readied myself; drank a hot, diet soda; asked Michael to manually open the garage door for me so I could get my car out; and dragged my hair dryer, curling iron and hair spray to the office so I could finish getting prepared for work.

As I drove into work, about 30 minutes earlier than normal, it was interesting to see the darkened houses and closed businesses — all places which are normally bustling with activity.

Webster’s dictionary defines electricity as “a fundamental form of energy.” I think for those of us who were powerless earlier this week that definition made a lot of sense.

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The Cumberland County High School Jets are off this week, but Stone Memorial High School is wrapping up a week’s worth of celebrating as the Panthers host their 2014 homecoming game this weekend. The Panthers homecoming activities have included dress-up days such as “Duck Dynasty” and school color days; a power puff football game and a bonfire. Friday night’s game is against Pickett County. Game time is 7 p.m. on Panther Field.

Friday is Friday the 13th and what better way to spend it than with a couple of local authors and some southern gothic novels. Book signings will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 11 a.m. at the Art Circle Library with Karen Spears Zacharius, who wrote Mother Rain, and Ann Hite, The Story Catcher. The remainder of the agenda will include a noon to 1 p.m. free, hot lunch buffet for the first 150 guests and a presentation at 1 p.m. by author Budd Harbis of No Kin to Elvis.

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Saturday is Pioneer Heritage Day and Music Festival at the Cumberland County Community Complex. This annual event benefits the Fair Park Senior Citizen Center and features music, food vendors and exhibit booths. Hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.