Sliced Bread

INDEX to Bites from the book "Sliced Bread"

That little voice inside

From "Sliced Bread" by Rosemary Phillips

"Sliced Bread" a book by Rosemary Phillips
The winds picked up and a storm warning was given for North Vancouver Island. Lorne, my boss, suggested that I go home early from my job at Kask Graphics and catch the ferry to Quadra before the waters got too rough.

"Turn up your heat," he shouted as I ran out the door into the howling wind and rain. "The power will most probably get knocked out so get your cabin warm before that happens."

This was my first real storm experience since moving to Quadra Island. I had no idea what to expect as I sat quietly in my cabin writing a story on a pad of paper. I listened to the howling wind, the branches as they fell on the roof, and the creaks of the huge maple tree that towered over my little home. I had cranked the heat up really high and let the space get toastie warm. The lights flickered a few times. The candles stood on the kitchen table ready in case I had to light them.

"Go put the kettle on," I heard a little voice say to me as I sat writing away.

I ignored the voice and replied, "No, I'll just finish working on this one page, then I'll put the kettle on."

Just as I got to the bottom of the page there was a huge gust of wind and a loud roaring crash, the house shifted and shook and the power went out. Damn! If I'd listened to that little voice I would have had a nice hot pot of tea to drink. Now I had nothing. I couldn't run the water because the pump was on an electric motor and I couldn't heat up the kettle because I couldn't turn the stove on. Ah hah! I had a bottle of wine in the fridge!

I lit the candles and uncorked the bottle of wine then poured myself a glass.

"Hydro?" I asked, when I dialled the local emergency number on the phone. "I've just been cut off and have no power."

"You're the first caller from Quadra," the operator replied. "We'll be sending out a crew when the ferries get running again. Meanwhile, you stay put and don't go outside your home. You never know where the live wires are lying, and you don't need to go and get electrocuted."

I called my neighbour. "Come on over," she said. "I'm all alone."

"I am too," I replied. "But I understand that it's safer if we stay indoors and don't go roaming around in the dark. There's all kinds of branches and wires falling down out there."

I was well on my way to having drunk the whole bottle of wine when I called Hydro back. "Hydro?" I asked with a bit of a slur to my diction. "Don't take the risk of sending over a crew tonight. I can handle the cold. I'll just wrap myself up really warmly. I'd hate for your crew to get hurt out there."

"That's all right," the operator replied. "The crew is already on its way."

I had no idea where the repair crew was but it certainly wasn’t on Milton Road. That night I slept curled up in layers of blankets then in the morning I made a fire in the outdoor pit and sat really close to it, still wrapped up in blankets.

Eighteen hours after the initial blackout the crew finally came by and my power was reinstated. I could once again put the kettle on and get a good hot cup of tea.

Now, if I had only listened to that little voice inside...

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