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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Accent Editor

There we were in the camping aisle of the huge store — several strangers, lurking around in front of an empty shelf which used to hold bottles of kerosene.

It was a snowy winter day and we all, apparently, were hungry and cold.

The shelf was as flat and empty as a Kansas corn field in the middle of winter, but apparently none of us could accept the fact that the kerosene was all gone. We stood around, pretending to be casual while examining the empty shelf very carefully. Surely there was a bottle we were overlooking?

All the while, we all were acting as if this were completely natural behavior, searching for something that was not there. Furthermore, we all were pretending that we weren’t in a mortal competition for it.

If one bottle of kerosene were to appear magically on the shelf, we all would have lunged for it immediately, knocking each other over to get to it.

Meanwhile, of course, I was moving around the bottles of mosquito repellent next to the shelf space where the kerosene would have been. Perhaps there was a bottle or two behind the repellent — and perhaps every single other customer desperate for cooking fuel had not had the same thought.

That, of course, is winter-storm behavior. It was during that big storm two years ago that left us without power for a week.

A week speeds by while you’re on vacation or doing something pleasant, but it sure does drag on when the power is out and you’re trapped inside a frigidly cold house.

The camp stove was sitting on my counter, ready for action, just awaiting fuel. My husband was crawling out of his skin after a few days going crazy for a cup of tea, and I sure would have welcomed a hot cup of coffee.

We drove from Martinsville south, stopping at every store along the way. I repeated the same camping-aisle routine in Stoneville, N.C., then Greensboro, N.C. I got very good at standing in front of an empty shelf, ready to push down my rivals in case a bottle appeared from nowhere.

It wasn’t until we got to Siler City, N.C. — two hours away — that we found a store with kerosene. The shelves were fully stocked. I grabbed eight bottles in triumph.

The clerk looked a little surprised (Siler City’s power was not out). I explained joyfully that this is the first cooking fuel I found after several days of no power.

By the time we made it home to Martinsville, it was mostly exciting but a little disappointing that the power was back on. After all we went through to get cooking fuel!

Later in the evening, a man who still did not have power called my husband asking if we had any cooking fuel.

Did we have cooking fuel? Sure we did! It was gratifying to be able to send the fellow home with several bottles.

It’s already snowed twice this winter. These snows weren’t bad (in fact, they weren’t even big enough to be fun), but this time I’ve been smart. The cooking fuel and the cook stove are right there on the counter, ready for action. The kerosene heater is standing ready, with a full container of fuel to keep it going. The salt and shovel are by the back door.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Of course, though it feels good to be ready ... oh, please, Lord, don’t let the power go out.


The Spencer Group - Click for Website
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Rives S. Brown Realtors - Click for Website
Joe Cobbe CPA - Click for Website
Lockman & Associates - Click for Website
Martinsville/Henry Co. Chamber of Commerce - Click for Website
New College Institute - Click for Website
The Eye Site - Click for Website