July 15, 2011 6:49:00 PM
"You can''t see ''Lec-tricity when it''s moving down the line;
How in the world can you doubt it when you can surely see it shine?
I say that when you seek salvation, its current you will feel;
You won''t need nobody, I said, to tell you that it''s real."
"Electricity," sung by Roy Book Binder
On Wednesday afternoon, a tumultuous thunderstorm blew through. I was at the computer staring at the screen, doing my best to conjure up something to amuse you with before you have to leave for church later this morning.
Then it happened -- a flash. The thunder roared; the house got dark, and my computer screen went blank. It was divine: The Lord had sent me a column ... although I''d have to wait awhile until the ''lec-tricity came back on.
Thank goodness I play acoustic guitars instead of electric. I tuned one up and started strummin.'' I was in the mood for "Cheap Whiskey," one of the top five hurtin'' songs of all times. I found the lyrics on my Smartphone that runs on batteries (or is that electricity?).
I was a verse or two into the tune when I remembered that I had some clothes ready for pickup at Shelton''s Cleaners.
I would never have ventured out had I not needed them for an early morning road trip the next day, plus the batteries in my phone were getting a low and needed a little charge.
I won Shelton''s "pain in the rear award" for the day. No power and the conveyer not working meant the nice lady had to go searching through the back with a flashlight for my clothes. No complaints from her; "service with a smile," as always. My good friends at Shelton''s could be the poster children for good service.
With the stop lights out, traffic was a nightmare. But get this: The good folks in Columbus turned every intersection into a four-way stop without being told. Good Southerners looking out for one another.
How did we ever get anywhere before electricity? When I thought about it, it wasn''t that hard.
Before electricity, Sir Issac Newton discovered how an apple falls down rather than up. Pi was discovered so long ago that nobody knows who came up with it. Galileo put Earth in its place without the first keystroke on a computer.
Benjamin Franklin figured out what lightning was made of so that Edison could start up the Light and Water Department, which very well may have been the beginning of the information age, not to mention creating another board for the city councils of the world to agonize over, on who to appoint to fill its seats.
Believe it or not, I had a friend and high school classmate who never had electricity to my knowledge, and I know as a fact that they hauled water out of the Sunflower River to drink and bathe in. We all knew; we just didn''t "talk" about it.
A few years ago I had a chance to have a long heart to heart with her. It was more me saying how I wish I had stepped up. I just didn''t know how at the time. She told me that she and her siblings spent most of their youth trying to figure out how to outwit the social workers so they could stay together.
That''s maturity and commitment. Stupid me, I was starving to death with a ham sandwich in my hand. I didn''t know there was a princess living right off a gravel road on the way to Holly Bluff. She''s now a registered nurse. Only in America.
Anyways, so much for rambling on about ''lec-tricity. We got it, and I''m proud. Even if it cost me $400 this month, I am not going to set my thermostat above 70.
By the way, Roy Book Binder, who sings that old gospel song, is a very cool ragtime/Piedmont style blues picker and singer. If you like getting back to the basics before electric guitars, he''s one of the best. Check him out on YouTube, and buy a CD or two. I got a chance to spend a few minutes with ole Roy a few years back when he played at a bar here in Columbus. Guaranteed -- he can use the do re mi.
Roger owns Bayou Management, Inc. and is also a semi-pro guitar player.