About the time you read this column you will either have had your Thanksgiving Dinner or be getting ready for it. Like many others I am especially thankful for this time of year and will count my many blessings along with the rest of you.

With all that has happened the past few days, I am particularly thankful for simple things this year. Things like electricity and hot water. Let me explain.For some time our counter-top electric stove has been going on the blink. First one heating unit would burn out and we would get it fixed. A short time later another heating unit would fizzle, and again we would replace it. Finally we had all the heating unit sockets checked to see if anything was wrong. One or two of them needed repair. Just about the time we thought we had the cooking units all fixed, two more went bonkers at the same time. The third was phasing out fast and Susan said she refused to cook Thanksgiving Dinner on only one small cooking unit.

So what else do you do? We invested a few hundred bucks and got a new one. It didn't look like it would be too difficult to install, but when you are playing around with 220 volt lines, you need help. Our neighbor, Paul Keiffer, is a retired electrician, so on occasion he comes by to help. Susan particularly wanted Paul to look at the wiring this time, since she did not trust my ability to work with 220 volt lines.

Paul obliged, and about 5:30 on Tuesday evening he had the new cooking unit all wired up. Everyone was pleased, since we had to disconnect the electricity for several hours while doing the rewiring. In addition, we had to cook on a little electric frying pan for a day or two while we got the new cooking unit put in. That night we all agreed we were thankful for Paul Keiffer, electric cooking units, and electricity with which to cook.

We had no sooner finished installing the new counter-top cooking unit when Jon, our 17-year-old son, asked if we had noticed water on the floor in the furnace room. We replied we had not. Upon investigation we found water not only on the floor in the furnace room but also soaked into the carpet in the family TV room and game room.

While we were installing the new cooking unit, the hot water heater sprung a leak.

So we had to turn off the hot water. But what the heck. We had electricity with which to cook. I took the carton for the new counter top stove to the garage and returned and called a hot water tank service company. They replied they could be there the next morning with a new hot water heater. But we would have to get by on cold water until then.

Susan and I called our children together and informed them that there would be no hot water for baths or showers that night nor in the morning before leaving for school. Kris, our 10-year-old daughter, went into shock and wanted to know if we should break out our 72-hour emergency kits. I replied that wouldn't be necessary since we now had a new electric stove on which we could heat water for washing dishes and spit baths. Brandon, our 5-year-old, wanted to know what a spit bath was. He said it sounded gross. The next morning I demonstrated for Brandon what a spit bath was - with a pan of hot water heated on the new stove.

Two men arrived the next day and installed a new hot water heater. The price and labor seemed fair enough. What's another couple of hundred dollars when your whole family is in shock from having been denied electricity and hot water.

By the time you read this column, everything hopefully will have returned to normal at the Barlow home. No, may I rephrase that statement. Hopefully everything will not have returned to normal by Thanksgiving. For just one day, I would like everything to be abnormal at our home.

For just 24 hours I would like to experience and give thanks for peace and quiet, solitude . . . hot water and electricity.

Happy Thanksgiving!