We just knew, the way the wind was raging on Sumas Mountain all Christmas morning, that the power would go out. And sure enough at 1:05 p.m., precisely five minutes after the turkey was put in the oven, everything electrical came to an abrupt halt.
A little while later a fire truck, with lights flashing and sirens wailing, rolled up the hill past the house. And then it stopped. Less than three hundred meters past our driveway, the wind had toppled a big fir, which in turn snapped off a power pole, flinging ‘hot’ wires all over the road.
With that mess, the power was not going to be back on anytime soon, so needless to say, the turkey went to the dump instead of to dinner.
To steal a few words from a Joni Mitchell song “ . . . you don’t know what you got til it’s gone,” when it comes to electricity on Christmas Day.
Fortunately, our day had been planned as one of visiting family, which gratefully resulted in dinner with relatives instead of at home, present opening delayed until we returned to a darkened house.
And when we did, it was like a Cariboo Christmas, goodies unwrapped and opened to the hissing of Coleman lamps, the fireplace providing heat and the muted thump of the generator outside delivering enough power to light the tree.
Romantic in a way, certainly memorable, as we gathered in front of the fire while just up the road Hydro crews worked doggedly, and heroically I could add, considering ‘the day,’ to put up a new pole and restring all the wires.
At just after midnight, suddenly all was bright . . . just in time for bed. Yet rather than spoiling Christmas, the lack of electricity over the evening added to the ambiance of the celebration.
In the days that followed we appreciated our experience and our gifts, one of which I wondered about. It was a jigsaw puzzle, something I haven’t put together in years, and have never expressed an interest in.
However, rising to the challenge I decided I’d tackle it and over a card table I spread the pieces. The design was complicated, suggesting it would take at least a couple of days to puzzle out. Finally the ‘picture’ began to take shape, and then I realized some pieces were missing.
Expressing my dismay, all I got in response was “that’s nonsense.”
Look, I pointed out, there are definitely not enough of ‘these pieces’ to complete ‘that part.’
Agreement was reached and a search was on to see if the missing bits were somewhere on the floor.
Eventually, I noticed a couple of dark chunks on the dog’s bed.
Either he’d scooped them off the floor, or opportunistically licked them off the edge of the table over which the pieces were spread.
Regardless of his ability to acquire them they were, like the electricity of Christmas Day, gone forever.
I did complete the puzzle, minus four or five pieces.
I also came to the realization that there may be some truth to the old story about the kid who couldn’t turn in his homework because ‘the dog ate it.’
So as we move into another year, I hope that everyone else’s holiday time was somewhat less eventful though nevertheless as joyful, and that the dreams and plans you made over New Year will all come true.