We have learned to enjoy all the modern conveniences at our fingertips. Most of them run on electricity, something we take for granted until it's taken away. What would we do without them? How would we prepare meals without a stove? Could we cope with even two weeks without electricity, without our appliances and without hot water for a shower? I don't think so. At the very least it would be difficult.

This was brought home to me on Wednesday afternoon, when the electricity went off. It was 48 degrees outside, not too cold or it would have been hard to stay warm inside, but cold enough. I put a log in the wood stove, in case I needed to start a fire.

I was right in the middle of a project on the computer when the screen went black. I immediately thought the computer had crashed; thank goodness that wasn't the problem. I thought I could finish my work with the aid of the backup battery, but it was low. I had a new battery, but it has to be charged first before it's any use.

The fuse box was OK, so I checked with my daughter across the street. She was without power too; in fact the whole area was down.

Of course, with the electricity gone there was no heat in the trailer, which cooled down rapidly. I couldn't boil water for tea or cook lunch, because the stove is electric. The microwave, which I've come to rely on, was useless. So there I was sitting in a cold, dark trailer, writing in longhand by a battery operated light, feeling more like a pioneer than a person in the 21st century.

At that point, I realized that terrorists didn't need to use violent acts or chemical warfare to bring this country to a halt. All they would have to do is knock out our utilities, take away our communications, and it would bring our country to a standstill quickly. We rely on electricity for everything. It's a frightening thought!

Most of us have cell phones and some have WiFi capable computers to stay in touch during an emergency, and if you have a gas barbecue you could at least cook dinner. Homes that run on natural gas have a distinct advantage during a blackout. If you have well water you could have a problem with pressure. Some hunters may have generators that could at least keep the lights burning.

But think about the prospect of having all our modern conveniences rendered useless. Could we really adjust?

I was only without electricity for an hour and a half, but it seemed a lot longer. I felt rather helpless without my reliable appliances. Makes you think, doesn't it?

If there were a real emergency, one that lasted weeks instead of hours, would you have enough supplies on hand to keep your family?

Do you have a "go-bag?" A go-bag is a bag or box filled with emergency water, food, candles, first-aid supplies, medications, a survival blanket, matches, jacket or coat, and food. It would also come in handy if we were snowed in again.

I gave it a lot of thought during that short hour and a half without electricity. I started my "go bag," just in case, and I'll keep it handy to grab it and go in an emergency. What about you?

Do you have enough food and bottled water on hand for an emergency? You never know what the future holds. Think about it!

Betty Kuhn, of Boardman, can be contacted at bkuhn_1@ Msn.com or the East Oregonian, P.O. Box 1089, Pendleton, OR 97801.

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