Married to our conveniences

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, August 1, 2012

He was reading the paper, she was watching TV.

Molly was out in the pasture, grazing.

The wind picked up as the clouds rolled in. Big, black ominous clouds, blotting out the sun, reaching to the heavens, twirling like cotton candy. The thunder reached a crescendo as large droplets of water cascaded upon the rooftop.

And then it happened — that dreadful “beep” from the smoke alarm, a quick flicker of the lights and complete darkness.

The rain hit Molly’s black coat like an A-roof, formed small beads and fell to the ground. She raised her head, noticed the house on the hill in darkness and took another mouthful of fescue.

The house became unusually hushed. No intermittent humming of the air conditioner, no constant chatter from the TV with its background music. The darkness seemed to amplify the silence.

She went scrounging for candles as he rummaged through the closet for flashlights. He unwittingly turned on the light switch to help in his search.

“How stupid of me,” he muttered.

She thought of the fridge and the food inside. How long would it be good?

A small calf frolicked out from the trees to Molly and grabbed a gulp of warm milk, smearing the white liquid across its nose.

He went to the sink with a glass and realized they had no water. A small panic seized him with the prospect of a prolonged period without it. He set upon a contingency plan.

Molly ambled over to the stream, lowered her head and gulped from the cool, flowing water.

She glanced at the stove and realized the electric range was useless. Her mind shifted gears as she set upon a new strategy for meals involving no stove, no fridge, no water.

Molly grabbed another mouthful of grass.

The air in the house became more stifling as the husband and wife made frantic plans to address the sudden change that had taken place.

She thought of her favorite show she was now missing and the challenge of sleeping without the constant hum of a running fan nearby to which she had grown accustomed.

He thought of the increasing temperature in the house and where he must go to find water.

Molly lay down, chewing her cud. She glanced at the dark house on the hill and dozed off, content.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is