By Betty Williamson
Local columnist 

I've learned not to take small luxuries for granted


Last updated 2/16/2021 at 2:09pm

Like many on the High Plains, we woke up without water on Monday morning in the sub-zero weather.

It was a preventable problem, at least at our house, but I had grown complacent after a string of winters when we had dodged that icy bullet.

Out here in the country, water and electricity go hand-in-hand. Our water flows with the aid of pumps powered by electricity. Most of the times we do not have water, it's because we don't have power.

In fact, we are so well-trained that at even a blink of lights — or a forecast of foul weather — the first order of action is to fill pitchers and buckets, sometimes even the bathtub.

Since we had power Monday, I was caught off guard when the faucet made that dreaded hollow gasping sound as I turned it on in the wee hours to wash my hands.

Fortunately, I had some extra water at the ready, so after I bundled up and trudged out with an extension cord and small heater to start thawing our most-likely-the-problem-is-right-here spot, I had plenty to get the coffee going, and a few hours to contemplate.

The house I'm in received electricity sometime in the late 1930s or early1940s. Indoor plumbing likely happened at the same time.

My dad's family lived in an assortment of small wooden shacks up until then. We used one of those shacks for a saddle house as I was growing up; I pass another a couple miles down the road each time I head to town.

While those battered frame structures were obviously in better shape during the time they housed my ancestors, my dad said that some mornings they had to brush drifts of snow or sand off the covers before they got out of bed.

They say you can't miss what you've never had, so my pioneer relatives likely didn't spend as much time complaining about how hard things were as … say … I would.

But thanks to that heritage, you won't find me grousing (well, not much anyway) during times of no electricity or no water.

When that trickle of water started out of the kitchen faucet after three hours of thawing time, I celebrated with a happy jig.

Then I flushed toilets, refilled pitchers, and took a few moments to be grateful for where I live and who lived here before me: Good folks who taught me to never take these luxuries for granted.

Betty Williamson believes there is no sound more beautiful than that of a flushing toilet. Reach her at:

[email protected]


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