Yeah, yeah, I know the song says they went out in Georgia, but last week they went out in Alabama, or at least on the Northside of Opelika. Well, do you know that Vicki Lawrence was the one who recorded that number-one hit song? Yes, that Vicki Lawrence. The same one who played Thelma Harper, or Mama, on The Carol Burnette Show and then on Mama’s Family. That song was her one and only hit song, so she is what is known as a One-Hit Wonder. I doubt that she cares, since she went on to do pretty well as an actor. And by the way, you are correct in your thinking that Reba recorded the song, but that was 20 years after the original hit. All that information has little to do with my column this week, but if this is ever an answer on Jeopardy, you will know the question. Who knows, you might be a contestant and need to know all that!
When the lights went out in Alabama last week, it wasn’t quite as dramatic as the story in the song. It is that time of year in the South when we experience thunderstorms and tornadoes. On the particular night in question, Jean and I had gone out for an early dinner with Ashley, our daughter, and her family, to celebrate her completion of nursing school. When we came out of the restaurant, the foreboding dark clouds hastened our trip home. By the time we were halfway there, the rain was coming down in sheets, the wind was howling, and we wondered if we would make it. I prayed, as I hurried.
We never know when we might have to hideout in our safe place until the storm passes over. Our safe place is an interior coat closet underneath the stairs. We were blessed that particular night that the tornadoes didn’t land in our part of the state. We did, however, have strong thunderstorms which knocked out our electricity, or as my Mama used to say, they knocked out the power. That was my mama, not Eunice’s. The power lines in my neighborhood are underground, so our electricity doesn’t go out often. When it occasionally does, it usually doesn’t last long. That night was not normal, because like a wild-rebellious teenager, it stayed out all night. I suddenly realized that in our modern culture, there isn’t much for us to do without electricity. Since the lights were out, I couldn’t read a book, newspaper, or magazine. I couldn’t watch television or listen to music on my CD player, record player, or radio. I picked up my cell phone which has lots of things to do on it. I have the Bible on there, several games, including Wordscapes, which is my favorite, email, and Facebook. The problem there was that my phone, like me, is old, and by the end of the day our batteries have run down. I can recharge my phone battery, but that takes electricity. My next move was my laptop. I discovered its battery was almost at full charge. Since the internet was down, guess what. Even without internet, I could write, but I couldn’t seem to get my writer’s cap on. I could play guitar in the dark, but I wasn’t in the mood. Finally, after hours and hours of boredom, at the late hour of 8:00 I went to bed…to recharge my batteries. I slept until 2:00. No, not p.m. I remembered in Genesis when God said, “Let there be light.” I prayed for that and when I woke up, my prayer had been answered.
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.