A guy told me that the biggest inconvenience of a power loss was that the well pump was useless. I wondered why there was no pitcher pump to manually draw water from the well. Maybe you can't have a low-tech backup to a well pump.
Things work well when they work at all but when they don't you are high and dry. All the great stuff becomes something that doesn't work.
I have used electric razors for decades. They're great and convenient until the batteries quit. My father received a “safety razor” as a graduation present but may have never used it. The gold gilt still shines after over eighty years and I wonder if there are still double-edged blades that fit.
He preferred a sweetly stropped straight razor. The strop was a long narrow strip of belt-like leather, smooth on one side, rough on the other. After addressing the blade on a sharpening stone it was keened to a fine edge on the leather in the way that men honed pocket knife blades against the leather soles of shoes.
The strop also served a purpose in child-rearing. He gave up the razor about the time I became a teen. I tried his straight razor but the painful results were not pretty.
There were gadgets in my mother's kitchen. She used an electric mixer for cakes but other mixing was done by hand. A tall glass cylinder with a metal plunger through the lid was her mayonnaise mixer. She combined vinegar, oil, mustard and egg yolk and worked the plunger up and down until it became a froth to make “boughten” mayo wilt.
A wire whisk scrambled eggs but she used an egg beater, a contraption with a wooden handle and a crank that turned two rotating beater blades through a gear-reduction. The whirring was a comforting sound of home. This was the only kitchen tool I was permitted to use after I was able to whip egg whites on the back porch without splattering. The egg beater is long gone, blades worn thin and bent, gears rusted, handle smooth and broken.
At the mountain cabin, “Respite,” I yearn for basic tools to do simple things. There is a stick blender but no egg beater for an omelet. They are found in antique shops, fragile things, and a catalog offers stout stainless egg beaters with clog-proof gears: pretty shiny things. Not for me. Perhaps at a farm sale I'll find an honest old egg beater, not too worn, previously owned by a woman who graduated early to a more convenient contraption.
I have no use for a leather strop. My connection to a strop is painful to remember.
Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.