• Last modified 304 days ago (July 20, 2023)


Another Day in the Country

This little light of mine

© Another Day in the Country

There’s something about ceiling fixtures in my house that make it difficult to replace light bulbs.

The glass covering is hard to remove when you are standing on a ladder. Bifocals complicate things. Hands over your head fumbling and then balancing yourself, trying to figure out which screw to loosen, creates a high-tolerance challenge.

In a hallway between a door to the garage and my spare bedroom, bulbs burned out — one, then two.

Murky darkness descended into the passageway, but the only real handicap the lack of light caused was when I had to replace batteries in my thermostat or change from heat to air conditioning. I’d just go get a flashlight.

Actual years have gone by without that silly light in the six-foot hall. I got used to it being dark in the hallway. I don’t spend a lot of time there, so no big deal.

Then the light went out in the pantry. (Not that lights weren’t going out in other parts of the house, but I tend to use lamps in other rooms, and lamps are a cinch for changing bulbs.)

When my pantry light went out, I got out a ladder, found the right bulbs, and soon discovered the bulbs were not going to solve the problem. The whole fixture had gone kaput.

You know what it’s like to live in the country? A hardware store is not just around the corner or down the block, so I put “light fixture” on my to-do list.

I sort of liked the fixture I had. It was a three-pronged arrangement that sat above the door and faced shelves on all three sides, illuminating my treasures.

While I searched for a replacement, the pantry was really dark, like a spooky cave.

“Do I have chili beans?” I’d wonder and search by Braille along a shelf that holds baked beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans, green beans, small red beans, pinto beans, three-bean combo, and chili beans. I would bring each can into the lighted utility room for confirmation.

In this shadowy situation, I found myself cramming things onto shelves haphazardly — not arranging them by type or instead stacking a sack of them on the floor and procrastinating, “I’ll put those away latter.”

Months went by. I couldn’t find the same fixture. It was no longer made, and I was frustrated.

Meanwhile, we’d started on another big project. Jess was changing the color of her house and outbuildings, replacing the roof on all of them, and replacing the windows.

“Don’t you ask our handyman to do anything,” she admonished. “I need him!”

For sure, a light in the pantry was not crucial.

A skillful carpenter is worth his weight in gold, and while we struck the Mother Lode when we found ours, a whole lot of other folks knew about him long before we did.

You have to stand in line or have an emergency, and then he’s there, knocking at the door.

That light in the pantry has been out for well more than a year, and I just got used to it. During that year, we’ve been working on the house-painting job, cobbling together the help we just had to have, and doing as much as we could on our own.

We are approaching the finish line. The roof is replaced. We finalized the gable color. The house is painted. The quilt block is in place. The windows are all in. The awnings have been redone and put back up. There even are blooming flowers that are color-coordinated.

There’s still a list of things to be done, but the finish line is in sight.

When I got home from California with Dagfinnr in tow, it was late at night. My sister picked us up at the airport, drove through a storm back to Ramona, came into the house with us, helped us with our suitcases, and then left us to settle in and begin adjusting to the two-hour time change.

When I opened my suitcase, I took out my dirty laundry, wadded it into a pillow case I’d just removed from my pillow, and headed toward the utility to throw this all into my washing machine.

When I opened the utility room door, this bright light came shooting out of the pantry, stopping me in my tracks.

What was this?

It was like the resurrection scene, with bright shafts of blinding white light coming from the tomb (alias pantry).

I’m sure I heard the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

“There’s light!” I cried, and my grandson came running, wondering what all the noise was about.

“There’s a light in the pantry!”

I was so excited that I left that light on all night. Lying in bed, the house pitch dark, even with the utility door closed, I could see light seeping under the door, past the kitchen, across the living room, down the hall, into my bedroom.

“How thrilling! There’s light in the pantry!”

Jess had asked our friend to replace the light for my birthday. And, Art tells me, the light is so energy efficient, I could leave it on for a month straight and it would use maybe 50 cents worth of electricity.

I finally shut it off, from habit as much as conservation, on another joyous day in the country.

Last modified July 20, 2023