“Be Prepared.” That’s the Girl Scout motto, and for the five and a half minutes I counted myself among their ranks, I strove to be just that. I’m kidding, of course, I lasted longer than five minutes. I went to meetings for a year or two and sold some cookies, but my parents didn’t want me to go on camping trips, so I lost interest in the group, without shared experiences with my fellow scouts. What I remember most is the cute gold pin with the GS emblem on it that I got to wear, and that I was taught to tie a square knot. (To this day when I put on a bathrobe, as I fasten the belt I say, “right over left, and left over right.”)
I draw attention to the motto because there’s been a lot of talk lately about disaster-preparedness. My husband has a program on his computer from the U.S. Geological Survey that takes real time earthquate data and plots it on a map. Each day over morning coffee I am advised of the latest cluster of quakes near us, not so near us, or on the other side of the world. The Pacific Rim is volatile, and we are ever more aware of that reality since the disaster in Japan. I lived through the Northridge earthquake in California in 1994, and it was no picnic. The thought of family and friends in L.A., where the San Andreas might bring a surprise at any time, is distressing to me. But hey! Here I am in Utah, and from the seismic activity data lately in Nevada (I won’t even start about Yellowstone), who knows what’s in store for us?
Living in Latter-day Saint territory as we do, we are no strangers to the concept of food storage; the Mormons set an excellent example in this area. My husband’s cousin in Crumpler, North Carolina has a system, too, but seems less organized and more, well, mobile. It’s called “I’ve Got Some Outside in the Truck.” On a Christmas visit there one year, one of the women remarked that she didn’t have enough vegetables for dinner that night. “That’s okay,” said Ken, “I’ve got some peas outside in my truck.” He returned with several cans, and I noted with delight, a bottle of bourbon for a pre-dinner cocktail. “Oh, no! I forgot to plan for dessert!” she said when supper was just about ready, to which Ken replied, “Hold on, I’ve got some fruitcake out in the truck!” While leftovers were put away, someone noticed there was no meat for breakfast the next morning. “Wait a sec, I’ve got some outside in the truck,” and in came Ken a few minutes later with an enormous slab of bacon. When we owned a truck, I thought we might adopt this storage plan, but the cost of fuel necessitated trading it in for a Prius.
Recently I’ve heard a lot of radio ads about food storage. My husband, forgetting the name of the company I suggested he contact (“Daily Bread”), googled a bit and came up with a different outfit, which, he was told, had a six month back log of orders to fill. Six months? The thought of vacuum-sealed bags of dinner with a “use by” date twenty-five years from now hadn’t sounded particularly appealing, but evidently the wave of the future is already here. So we’re going to find a way to catch it, plan ahead, and be prepared, and I encourage all of you to do the same.
Oh, and if anyone out there has a fruitcake in their truck, let me know. December’s a long way off.