A child is afraid of the dark, and sometimes so are we.
Darkness greeted us when we got home from a quick trip to Atlanta Thursday night. Something was different when we pulled into the driveway. Our street was without light, which is different from routine darkness.
Fumbling with the lock on the front door, I reached inside and flicked the switch for the porch light. As I feared, nothing happened.
I made it to the kitchen without falling over anything and found the drawer where we keep our flashlights. Using one of them, I helped get the others safely inside.
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Kaye lit candles and, by then, 6-year-old Kamryn began to understand that the house was more than dark.
There was no Internet, no TV, and clock radios no longer flashed the time. The air conditioning was off and we warned her not to open the refrigerator door. She talked about reading a book but we reminded her there were no lights.
The dark began to make her afraid. Her hands trembled and her voice quivered. She stayed close to her mother and father and begged us all to stay together.
She wanted to know how long the lights would be off, and a distress call to Georgia Power didn't help for the utility company couldn't say when power would be restored.
I tried to tell her how summer storms cause these things, and she reminded me it isn't summer yet. That's when she decided she doesn't like summer anymore.
Using two flashlights, she took a bath, but by then she was worrying about the batteries. What if they burn out? Do we have more? She had nothing to do but worry.
We didn't know when the power would return. A fallen tree had shut down a broad area of town. I told Kamryn this is the way people used to live. They didn't have iPads or iPhones and for light they carried candles from room to room. They opened a window if it got hot, since air-conditioners had not been invented.
"That must have been boring," she said.
Some time after 2 a.m., the lights came on. This was also scary to a 6-year-old. She was still shaky when she woke up Friday morning. I didn't tell her that there would be other times she's afraid of the dark.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.