I thought we were set for any sort of power crisis. We have a backup generator, and it powers the house automatically after the electric supply has been interrupted for sixty seconds. It's rather fun, because the reaction when the lights go suddenly dark is for everyone in the house to start counting. We stop whatever we were doing (we can no longer see it anyway) and breath quietly to ourselves, "One, two, three. . ." At thirty, the generator starts. At sixty, the house lights come back on.
So when we heard about three vicious storms heading our way last weekend, we weren't concerned. Friday morning at just after 6:30 a.m, the power went out. Harry started counting. He got to thirty and the generator didn't start. He got to sixty and the house lights didn't come back on. He waited a bit longer and then went to check the generator. It wasn't running.
He stood in the soaking rain and bitter wind and took the cover off. He tinkered with a few things, checked the air filter, spark, and connections. Everything looked good. The meter said the generator had forty-two hours of running time on it, which isn't much. He flipped the switch so it would try to start.
It tried. Chug, chug, chug, bleh. Ten seconds passed and it tried again. Chug, chug, chug, bleh. Everything looked good, but the generator wouldn't start. He went back in the house and dried off, then called the generator service place. A few hours later, three guys came out to look at the generator. They did the same things Harry had done, with the same result. We'd have no power this time until the utility company restored it.
Discouraged, Harry came back in the house. He was wet and chilled through. We spent some time cuddling, getting the circulation back into his fingers and toes. After that, we tried to figure out what we could do. The power had been out for almost twelve hours. The house was dark, except for the candles scattered about. (Candles don't put out very much light.) All the usual entertainment options were not options this time. We obviously couldn't watch television or a movie, but we also couldn't read a book or put a puzzle together due to low lighting.
But there was one thing in the house that didn't require power: the billiard table. We could play pool!
Excited, we went to the Fox Room, set some candles up on the beer shelf on the wall, and eagerly uncovered the pool table. We got the triangle and the balls. As Harry racked the balls, our excitement faded. It was too dark to tell much about the balls from a shooting distance. We couldn't get the candles closer, as the table has space around it for play room. Setting candles on the edge was not as useful as you'd think, and in the way. Undaunted, we started a game anyway.
The stripes were pretty obvious, as they have so much white on them. The cue ball was easy to find, as were the three ball (yellow) and the four ball (orange). The rest of them were problematic. After the break, we got close to the table and squinted, finding out which one was the eight ball (black). After that first shot, we kept an eye on where the eight ball went, and either one of us could point to it almost always. But each shot, we had to re-evaluate the layout and find the stripes or solids we needed.
We had one help; a wind-up flashlight. When it was my turn, I'd eye the layout, find the eight ball, decide which balls I thought were fair game for me, and then have Harry shine the flashlight on the pocket I was aiming for. Then he'd turn it off, and I'd make my shot by memory. Voila! Memory Pool was born. For Harry's shot, I'd do the same for him.
It was fun, too. We played several games, and I even won one!
The power was out for fifteen hours, but thanks to Memory Pool, it was an experience to treasure. (And the generator motor has been sent off for repair.)
Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala