By PETTUS READ
The recent winter weather, along with the state of emergency being issued in the Volunteer State, has sent many of us into a state of "cabin fever" that hasn't been seen around these parts since people used to have cabins as their main abode of residence. I found myself panicking during the ice storm, not over losing power for heat and survival, but losing the only source of visual contact with other people, the television.
By mid-afternoon on the day that freezing rain fell, panic did set in when the signal started flickering as 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, and I didn't have anything to put hot water that far up on the roof.
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 would reach heights of 28 feet and knowing the compound that makes up that stuff is a lot like de-icer we spray on tractor motors, I warmed a can up in warm water.
With a warm 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 all over I'm sure everyone will never complain again about how hot summer is and will totally be satisfied with the weather in the future. Right. Just like the children of Israel were always satisfied when they had it made, if they just behaved.
After days of being shut up in our houses most everyone will head out to the malls, restaurants and other places we go when we are not being held captive by weather. The restaurant idea does sound good to me because eating my cooking and oatmeal for three days does do things to a persons system along with added Oreos every now and then. Must admit I did cook a roast that had been in my freezer for a few months in mushroom soup along with potatoes and carrots that was tasty. Even that after 30 meals gets old.
But to head out to the malls is not one of my things to do. I am not accustomed to spending. I still have the country training of spending only if you just have to. If it were not for my wonderful family, I would be among those who would be considered strangely dressed. If it was left up to me, I would 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 may be unclean, but more so pretty shop worn. If the elastic is still good, then there is no reason to buy new ones - that is my motto.
I just wonder how many pairs of sneakers and cellphones do a person really need. On every corner of most streets is a shoe store and phone shop. I guess we have become a society and nation that see our feet and ears as our instruments of pastime activity.
Now, 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 is 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."
That statement made by the 26th U.S. President Roosevelt, in 1904, 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 by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org