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Wayne Post
  • Historically Speaking — A peek at Palmyra’s past

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  • We sure have experienced a cold snap this past week and the museums faired pretty well. I hope all of you have your pipes fixed and heat back on. This type of weather really throws us into a state of emergency and inconvenience.
    Can you imagine that in 1789 when Captain John Swift came to Township 12 District 2 and 3 there were no pipes, faucets, or running water and all their water was from the creek or river? We have to worry about our freezer or refrigerator not working, but they used a hole in the snow or ground to keep whatever they could hunt cold. I suppose many might think it was a simpler, easier time. I suppose if you like that kind of thing; but this Palmyran likes turning on the faucet and opening the refrigerator. I like the snow plowed, roads salted; and on occasion, my car cleaned off; but especially my automatic start button. I suppose this makes me spoiled; but with all the progress that has been made within our country it has created a feeling of complacency and comfort. We are annoyed if there is a brief inconvenience. All these utility problems are no match for the TV or computer going down, or the cell phone not working or heaven forbid the iphone or ipad out of service. Actually which is worse for many folks today? Iíd say, we think we can live without water but the iphone, texting, or ipad; no way.
    Maybe itís time to reflect in this New Year and what we have become used to. What does that have to do with history? Itís that we now know all these things can happen to us and we should be prepared. The one thing about the days of General John Swift, they were prepared for whatever came along. They learned to smoke meats and store vegetables for the winter months. They had wells or rain barrels to store water. They had warm blankets and fire places and used candles or lanterns. Everything they did was to survive in this wilderness. It is hard for us to regress and think back on that time of primitive living, because of how advanced we have become. Now it is time to be prepared for the electric going out, the water pipes bursting, and the heat not working. Letís be prepared like they were in the colonial days for a long hard winter or a surprise flood, or a wicked storm.
    Keep some jugs of water around and some canned food. Donít try to heat or cook with an outside grill in your house. Check for warm clothes and a cooler might be helpful for your perishables. Stock up on things that donít freeze or spoil. Watch the weather and take the warnings seriously. Check on your neighbors and family to see if they need help. Watch out for those space heaters and check your chimneys. I suppose there may be a time when we have to live like the colonial days, and the thing to remember is that you need to be prepared and ready for anything. In our history we had the ice storm of 1993 and 2004 and the blizzards which are too many to count or the tornado of 1971. How about the 1980ís, when we had no electric for one full week. We forget our history and that history does repeat itself. We can be prepared to make it through comfortably and safe. Letís keep our historic relatives in mind. The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our monthly program will be cancelled on Jan. 16 because on Wednesday, Jan. 15 a no charge public workshop is being held at the Alling Coverlet at 7 p.m. on energy efficiency and awareness all are invited.
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