Family, Rural Living

The Adventures of Sarah Sturdyskirt

Eons ago, when Mr. Right’s and my love was young, as the saying goes, we had very little money. And about the only entertainment we could afford, when we weren’t off hiking and camping, or cross-country skiing, could be found on the television. We watched a lot of TV with the kids (with whom I was still doing a bit of the awkward new-step-parent tango, still with mixed results from time to time). But we all loved such venerable chestnuts as The A-Team, The Fall Guy, V, and Battlestar Galactica (80’s versions, all).

A few years later, my stepdaughter and I found ourselves enjoying the adventures of Sarah Sturdyskirt, Jenny’s name for the eponymous heroine of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, the “trials and tribulations of a female doctor in a small wild west town.” A transplant from Boston, Michaela Quinn was unflappable, even to the acquisition of three of her friend’s children, gifted to her by the friend who died from a snake bite fairly early in the series. No matter the circumstances, Dr. Quinn dealt with them all graciously, gracefully, kindly, efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. She was a one-woman Total Quality Management program! She was great. Eventually, she captured the attention and the heart of Hunky Guy (forget his name), they got married, and the series was never quite as good from that point on. If I recall correctly.

Anyhoo, I was thinking of Sarah Sturdyskirt when I woke up shivering in the dark this morning.

We don’t have any electric power. We haven’t had for almost three days, and it may be another five or six before we get it back. It seems that a 60 mph wind (something that my sister in the Isle of Skye experiences several times a week, week-in, week-out) is more than FirstEnergy can be expected to cope with.

And when we have no electric, we have no water. And some, but not whole-house, heat. (This is the year that I’m going to make sure we hook up the back-up generator which has been sitting out back for years, never mind why. Yes, I can!)

So, I’m out here living the nineteenth century dream, which fortunately for me isn’t something that fazes the ladies of the family all that much, whether it’s me contemplating with equanimity the idea of selling our Pittsburgh house and moving into a tent in a field, digging a hole, and Mr. She and I together building a house with our bare hands; or Jenny navigating for a bunch of young men with no idea where they were, through a snowy mountain pass in Colorado, because she was the only member of the party who’d thought to bring a compass and a map (and a change of socks); or our seven year old granddaughter pitching a tent for herself and her mother, and then helping the rest of the crew sort themselves out and pitch their own tents while her mother made dinner for everyone. A little hard work or privation, fortunately, doesn’t “fash” us that much.

Mr. Right, who has some medical needs that aren’t best served by the absence of power, heat and water, is ensconced in a hotel a few miles up the road. So he’s well provided for, and I have access to a nice hot shower, and they do a really nice little breakfast with Belgian waffles you make yourself. Delicious.

Other than than, though. I’m on my own.

Have a good evening everyone, and count your blessings! I’m off to break the ice on the livestock trough, chuck some hay out for the sheep, and carry up a few buckets of water from the creek to flush the loo.

Have you had a “Sarah Sturdyskirt” episode in your life (not sex-specific, it’s a way of life, not a sex or an orientation)? When have you overcome the odds in the backwoods or even at home?

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