Friday evening another blizzard blows through the hills until Saturday afternoon. As is his habit, Farmer rises early to put on Saturday’s coffee. Two cups later the power goes out. I shut the bedroom door to meditate while he dons slippers, pulls a blanket over his shoulders and paces the floor for hours, cursing the storm.
I carry the kerosene heater from the basement and stir porridge for breakfast. Soon afterward, electricity returns and Farmer turns to the TV while I face the blizzard to do chores.
Temperatures aren’t extreme, but for visibility and sheer wind-force, this is the worst storm. Black Angus cows are invisible: snow cows. I return to the house exhausted.
Meanwhile, Farmer’s 20-year-old "last of the big box, heavy but no handles to carry it" TV refuses to respond to either the remote or finger on button contact. Since his operation he’s followed doctor’s orders, not lifting anything over 10 pounds. When I enter, Farmer demands to know where I’ve hidden the spare televisions. Exhausted, I flop down on the couch and shrug.
Now the accusations fly: Had I sent them to Salvation Army? SARCAN? Did I give one to my daughter when she moved for school? What have I done with his televisions?
I can’t remember. Don’t care, and why the hell does he have the heat turned up so high?
A blanket is still draped over Farmer’s shoulders as he paces in PJ bottoms and slippers. Happy first day of Super Bowl weekend. Can you spell addiction?
We eventually find two televisions in storage closets: small but heavy: screens the size of dinner plates. Farmer chooses the coloured one. He spends about $100/month on television service. When asked what he’d have done if I’d refused to carry his TV to the living room, Farmer says the internet would have been disconnected. I briefly consider upping the ante by refusing to cook.
We could have talked, I said, played games, made plans for the next renovation. We could have enjoyed a TV-free weekend. Three hours without electricity were enough for Farmer.
Long, long ago, before the days of plug in drugs, farmers played musical instruments, read books, wrote, built fine homes, invented, visited neighbours and enjoyed better rest. TV erased that.
I love blizzards.
Sunday night Farmer crawls into bed.
“Who won the game?”
“Dunno,” he says, “Power outage.”