Who Put Out the Lights?

Tales of Vashon

Who put out the lights on Vashon and Maury?  That’s what I’d like to know.  It was 4:30 in the morning when I heard the crash and it had nothing to do with the lights.  A 100 foot Maple had fallen from its stump across the creek and crashed into the side of my radio room causing much damage.  I’m blessed with a good neighbor who took my word that the one ton maple had come from his property, which has resulted in two claims, one with Safeco and the other with Farmer’s.

The next day the lights went out on both islands and the giant tentacles of PSE took over and the customers were made aware of the time your lights would be turned on.  This went on for six days.

My emergency lights consist of two 12 volt lights, one in the kitchen and one in the living room.  The bulbs are lit by two 12 volt deep cycle batteries which are kept charged by six solar panels on the front deck.  Heat comes from a fireplace insert that will take a 24 inch log.  My trusty old Coleman stove had to be pumped 20 times to make fire for the frozen foods I had to eat.

Sixty some odd years ago, when the lights were out at Cove, Dad lit up Coleman lanterns for light and Mom cooked on our trash burner which was fired with wood.  We hated the hiss of the Coleman and how careful we had to be when filling them with white gas.    We heated with an oil stove which was fueled by gravity from three 55 gallon barrels that were kept filled by Williams Heating.  When the question of going to school came up, Brother Mike mixed mustard with water which upon consumption, made him throw up and convince Mom that he was sick and could stay home from school.  Witch Hazel was the chosen antiseptic and cured all sorts of ills.  Grandma Ada and Papa Jim used it for sprains and cuts and it can be found in our medicine cabinets four generations later.

I was thinking about the “old days” and watching a myriad of small birds at my multiple feeders which lessened the competition between them as they patiently waited for a place at one of the feeders.  As the outage went on and on, the busier parts of the island were served by line crews first.  One crew chief told me that they had worked a straight 40 hours when the storm first hit.  I didn’t realize it, but as quiet as this neck of the woods is, I could hear the water when it came to a boil a constant chirping that came through the front window.  It was late afternoon noon when the lights came on and after six days, I wasn’t ready for the news barrage or the western channel where all my childhood heroes get the bad guys in the end.