On this anniversary of an event that shook the world, I think about basic necessities. Not so much the lovely gourmet wine, bread and cheese bistro of which I have written previously but medieval peasantry basics: food, warmth and cleanliness. How easy to forget the blessings of fresh food cooked and refrigerated, warm clothes, beds and blankets, clean bathrooms and, most of all, water.

Our dog Heathcliff and I are overseeing repairs to my mother’s house, which after almost 60 years will soon shelter another family. When we arrived yesterday, electricity serviced the few appliances and lights left in the house, but water and furnace had been shut off in advance of plumbing and heating maintenance.

Being the daughter of parents born and raised on farms in Northern Maine, I came prepared with basic necessities for Heathcliff (bed, kibble, food and water bowls, pig ears, leash and toys) and for me (cooler and box of food, clothing, linens and sleeping bag, reading, folding tables and chair, cell phone, laptop and mobile hot spot) plus water for drinking and jerry can to self-flush the toilet. Of course, being out in the country, Heathcliff and I could easily “chase a rabbit” and fertilize the land, too, but how to keep clean?

Today, thanks to dog-friendly and efficient plumbers, Heathcliff and I have cold, running, potable water and promises of heat and a hot shower tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ll do some chores, chase deer, sticks, turkeys and rabbits, share some food, clean ourselves in cold water and rest well in our warm beds. In sunshine and moonlight, we will dream of our home Vanaprastha and loved ones, and remember those who lost theirs eleven years ago. Ironically, we humans seem to appreciate blessings better in absence or loss. 

Life is good because we have the basic necessities of food, warmth and cleanliness, work to do and sticks to chase, friends and loved ones – and a little wine, bread and cheese.

What are your basic necessities?


  1. June Silveira

    Heathcliff manages to enjoy himself no matter what his environment; humans, another matter! I am one who enjoys the basic comforts, including lots of hot water.

    • Carole Duff

      Right you are about dogs. Poor human camper that I am, I can’t wait for hot water! Thanks for your comment! -C.D.


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