Although these days folks have solar panels and cell phones and assorted other things that have made summer on the Hog much more "civilized," (to quote my Caribbean friend Denise who resides on another island I love), when I was a kid most of those houses had gas refrigerators and simple oil lamps to keep the darkness at bay.
There were no cell phones, no TV sets, radios were battery powered and the entertainment in the evenings would involve board games or just sitting outside staring at what was a gloriously starry sky. Bare feet or flip flops were de rigueur. Time passed slowly, it seemed, and a weekend on the Hog was well, a little slice of Paradise.
In the aftermath of Irene, many of us on the mainland have been without power -- forcing some to entertain themselves in old fashioned ways. Last night on my way home I saw some neighbors with a little fire pit, several folks sitting in lawn chairs whiling away a summer evening and apparently enjoying themselves quite a bit.
Now that the lights are back on, of course that fire pit is back in the garage, and everyone has settled into the routine that is every day life.
There is a part of me, however, that wonders whether or not we received a bit of a gift from Irene in a very roundabout sort of way -- an opportunity to reconnect with our families and friends without the distractions of electronic toys that sometimes keep individuals under the same roof so far away from each other.
I'm not sure about you -- but I'm planning a few evenings on my porch from now on in the company of friends, nights by candle light in which conversation and just being together will be the entertainment.
Amen, and pass the mustard.