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Backgammon by Candlelight

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We had record heat along with a storm that knocked the power out for a week. Actually, it was only two days but it seemed like a week. It probably wouldn’t have seemed like a week if it hadn’t been so doggone hot and if so much of life didn’t depend on electricity and the internet.

For some reason the lack of electronic connectivity seemed to give us nothing to do. I remember when there was plenty to do that didn’t involve electronics, but I think I am unusual and it makes me sound old to even say that.Outside of the inconvenience, rotting food, and the heat and humidity, what stands out most is the night I spent on the deck with Celia, the delightful 17 year old student from Spain who had the misfortune to arrive at my home on the day the storm hit. She was quite a trooper and that is saying a lot considering how much more addicted 17 year olds are to their smart phones than the rest of us are.

The first night without power, we had dinner on the deck where there was a tiny bit of air movement. After dinner, we talked and waited until it was really dark to light candles because it seemed the flames would be adding heat to an already hot and muggy night. Then, we played backgammon.

Celia had never played. Most 17 year olds don’t play board games. This game was fun because of the time spent with her and the laughing we did between plays as we told stories, and only about every five minutes said we wished that the power would come back on so that we could cool off in the air conditioning. I made good use of her hostess gift of a beautiful silk fan from Spain. That evening, and in a recent email, Celia jokingly referred to “our romantic night.”

This happened in my favorite part of the summer, when the fireflies talk to one another in light-code. That night they were having a major shindig in the trees and bushes around the deck. Not quite Disney, but it was a fantastic light show. The frogs in the pond, acting as if the heat worked like steroids, provided background music.
If it hadn’t been for the storm, we would have missed the fireflies and the backgammon talk and probably not have spent that extra time getting to know one another. So for all of those reasons, I feel good about the sacrifices of the power outage.

Celia finished her English classes a few weeks ago and returned to Spain. I miss her animated conversations about her friends and family and her experiences commuting to the city by subway. The backgammon game is still on the coffee table. I am not quite ready to put it back in the closet because it makes me smile when I think of that “romantic night.”

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