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Homespun Yarns

Unplugged from the well-deserved coffee pot I need


Click! Click! It's early morning, and I spot the problem. My bedside clock is blinking tell me we now have an electrical outage. Oh, great!

It's not surprising, with 50 mile-an-hour winds, that some tree in the forest decides to fall against the power line and causes hundreds of bedside clicks to start blinking. I live in the forested part of Washington where power lines snake through dense forests and the chance of a rotten tree falling across the power line is great.

I reach in my drawer next to my bed where I keep an emergency flashlight for such just occasions. My fingers fumble among cough drops, pens, sinus pills, but no trusty flashlight.

Remembering that I have a flashlight on the base of my wood stove, I stumble arms outstretched in blind man’s bluff fashion. Hitting my toe against a chair leg brings out some words in the dark I'm not supposed to say. Sorry, Lord, that hurt, and I can't see where I'm going.

I also trip on the stove base, my fingers searching for the wanted flashlight. It’s right where where I left it, but the light is mighty weak.

My question in that early morning gloom is, how am I going to make my well-deserved coffee? My dear doctor told me in no uncertain terms, “From now on it’s decaf!” When I injure a toe like that, surely I deserve a real coffee. Besides, my doctor may well be sleeping and couldn't care what I was drinking.

I need a cup of real coffee to deal with all this stress.We have an ancient percolator coffee pot which unfortunately is way up on top of the cabinets in the kitchen. Should I risk breaking my leg in the dark, standing on a chair just to get coffee?


Touching the handle of the coffee pot, I realized no one had dusted the grease-laden handle. Lifting down the pot, I opened the lid, trying to figure how the thing worked. It’s simpler than Mr. Coffee, but its main advantage is that it does not need power.

Next I measured out a cup or two of water and filled the top compartment with coffee grounds. The grounds smelled so good in the dark shadows.

Our home in the forest has the advantage that most of my neighbors have: wood heat. Cooking up a pot of coffee now may be daunting, but we never shiver under the covers waiting for the heat pump to kick on.

A few logs tossed into the stove starts a friendly crackling fire, and hopefully a cup of java soon.

My wife was very provident, always stashing away gallons of milk containers full of water, for times such as these. I stumble out in the dark, trying not to trip over our golden retriever, Scooter, who thinks 3 a.m. is time for his breakfast. He stretches and greets me with tail flailing.

I check my coffee, but there isn't even a gurgling yet, although the stove is throwing lots of heat. An outage such as this can last a few hours, or, as a few years ago, four days.

Next I feed Scooter. He doesn't object to the unusual hour. For the dog’s dish I usually pour hot water over his food, but this morning there wasn't any hot water, so I presented it to him all dry. I don’t know if dogs know four-letter words in dog language, but as he stuck his nose in that dry mix, he made some strange sounds and then just walked away. This was a new experience. For us both.

Meanwhile, my precious coffee was humming but not perking. After waiting a half an hour, I realized you can’t make just a half a pot, so I put in more of our emergency water. Twenty minutes later a weak tea-like brew was ready to drink. It tasted just like it looked.

I just hoped this outage wasn’t one of those four day deals. Then I hear that happy sound: click. The warm, happy lights of the lamps shone again. The first thing I did was to get some hot water for Scooter’s breakfast. I hate to have my dog swearing like that. His wagging tail told me he forgave me.

Next I whipped up a cup of really strong coffee after all the trials I had just gone through.

Thank you, Lord, for all of the modern conveniences that work so well...ahhh, most of the time.


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