Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 27, 2015

Country boy survives winter storm

Read All About It

Pettus L. Read

The recent winter weather, along with a state of emergency being issued in Tennessee, has sent many of us into a fit of cabin fever that hasn’t been seen around these parts since people used to have cabins as their main abode. I found myself panicking during the ice storm, not over losing power for heat and survival, but losing my only source of visual contact with other people – the television.

By mid-afternoon on the day freezing rain fell, panic did set in when the signal started flickering after the dish to my satellite TV incurred almost an inch of ice on the eye of the receiver. With the dish high up on the roof, I wondered how I would ever get the ice off the receiver so I could finish the latest “Walker Texas Ranger.” With freezing rain, you don’t climb a ladder if you live alone.

I believe Hank Williams, Jr., was the one to suggest that country boys will survive, and with that thinking, this old boy did just that. Remembering back in the summer buying up a supply of hornet spray that could reach heights of 28 feet, and knowing the compound that makes up that stuff is a lot like the de-icer we spray on tractor motors, I warmed a can up in warm water.

With the can tucked inside my Carhartt hooded jacket and a tree limb trimmer in hand, I met the storm head on. After spraying the dish from the ground and lightly touching the receiver with the point of the trimmer, the ice fell to within inches of my feet. I hurried to look in the sunroom window, and sure enough, Walker was back on arresting folks, and the signal looked brighter than ever! Amazing what a country boy with a can of hornet spray and a trimming hook can do while others huddle in their homes.

Once the emergency is over, I’m sure everyone will never complain again about how hot summer is, and will be totally satisfied with the weather in the future. Right ... Just like the children of Israel were always satisfied when they had it made.

After days of being shut up in our houses, most everyone will head out to the malls, restaurants, and the other places we go when the weather isn’t holding us captive. The restaurant idea does sound good to me because eating my cooking and oatmeal for three days does things to a person’s system. I did cook a roast that had been in my freezer for a few months in some mushroom soup, potatoes, and carrots, but even that gets old after 30 meals.

But to head out to the malls is not one of my things to do. I still have the country training of spending only when you have to. If it weren’t for my wonderful family, I’d be among those who are considered strangely dressed. If it was left up to me, I’d be a mother’s nightmare on how not to be found in an accident by the condition of my socks and unmentionables. Not that they’re unclean, but more so pretty shopworn. If the elastic is still good, then there’s no reason to buy new ones – that’s my motto.

I just wonder how many pairs of sneakers and cell phones a person really needs. On every corner of most streets is a shoe store and phone shop. I guess we’ve become a society that sees our feet and ears as part of our favorite pastime activities.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy “goin’ lookin’” every now and then, as well as helping the economy whenever I need something, but surely there’s more to life than spending the weekend at the mall.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Americanism means virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood: the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”

Made by the 26th U.S. president in 1904, that statement could have some very true meaning for us today. We do enjoy our soft living, prosperity, and get-rich-quick theory of life. I just hope he wasn’t meaning something about my satellite TV and the need to see “Walker.”

Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted at pettusr60@gmail.com.