Power Boxing

We had no money for porch steps, let alone shrubbery. By the end of our project, our loan was exhausted, but even if I’d had the money, I had no time for planting. I’d been contracting our new housebuilding while trying to homeschool three children and wrangle a toddler, so my hands were already full-to-overflowing. 

But having something blooming outside after winter is pretty much a life essential, so I spent $6 on a pack of 25 bulbs on sale that spring, hopeful the kids would help me, happy to imagine the result. I dug two holes large enough to hold them and showed the girls how to space the bulbs several inches apart, and we spread the dirt back over top, “tucking in the covers,” as we called it. Sadie and Josie Love took turns giving them a drink, and then we waited.

While those sale bulbs had been limp and languishing when we planted them, their green sepals unfurled bright yellow petals in August, confused no doubt by the off season planting. But they’ve been right on time every February since.

I’ve spent 26 years planting daffodils nearly every fall in the same area inside our driveway’s front circle. There are hundreds now, possibly thousands, the blooming beginning in late winter and continuing through spring. I’ve planted enough shrubbery and perennials to surround the house at least twice, but it’s these daffodils that are most beloved, because the kids planted them with me. Stone joined us when he was big enough to stick a bulb in the dirt. The last pack I planted, grandkids helped as leaves fell.

When you come down our gravel driveway and over the creek—almost non existent in winter but rushing by spring—you come up a long hill where the view as you drive opens up to the house on the other side of our enormous, wooded circle. The daffodils this time of year are dancing their winded welcome and remind me why I love living here. Our kids grew up making forts in these woods. They caught crawdads at the creek, climbed trees, planted daffodils with me, and did a heckuva lot of yard work to make it idyllic.

So when our eldest son built his house, a dog-leg right from our circle and down the driveway beside us, and GA Power sent a truck with a crew to T-off our power to connect his, no one told me what might’ve been obvious to everybody else: the green box at the junction would have to sit somewhere. And the most obvious spot was smack dab in front of my circle of sacred daffodils.

The morning it was put in, I was out and about, but when I came home, it was all I could see. It loomed as big as the house for the eyesore it was to me. My stomach fell to my feet. 

The only bright spot in the misery was that the men were still working. After asking questions and finding out what’s-what and my breaking into tears about it, the young man in charge said he’d talk to his supervisor and see what they could work out, but moving a power box would be an automatic charge of 7 grand to us. “How bad do you hate that box—really?”

He asked—and I was more than happy to unload it, “I’ve been out here with my family since before you were born, working on this property, building our home and the yard and the gardens and the orchard. My husband’s carved out pastures for our horses and researched the best grasses and tilled and sown and fertilized. He’s built a barn with our sons and their friends who’ve come to help out. And believe it or not, all that work we’ve put in to create a haven from this forest feels ruined by that box.

“It’s front-and-center as I drive up, the first thing I see when I get over this hill: before I notice the house, there’s this ugly power box leering. Planting something around it to hide it will only call more attention to it. If you knew me, you’d know I can put up with a lot of disappointment, but this undoes me. I don’t have $7,000 to spend on moving it, but if I did, you can bet I surely would.” My voice broke by the end, and I wiped my cheeks, unashamed for him to see how sad I felt.

“Ma’am, that moves me,” he began, “and I’m gonna do everything I can to work it out for you. You remind me of my mom, and she wouldn’t put up with it either.” 

I said my thanks and walked to the house, asking God to intervene between me and the biggest public utility in the state of Georgia. Already, I knew at least one tender heart among them. 

Several weeks later, Tyler called to say they’d be over at lunchtime to move the box, and could I be there to make sure I liked where they put it? “And you’re gonna love this,” he said. “There’s no charge. We all voted and nobody wants to make y’all pay a dime. We’re donating our pay and doing it on our own time.”

God’s power over what matters to one sentimental Georgia-girl astonishes me.

Glory be.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s