Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Flood and a Pot of Hot Coffee

Years ago, when we still lived in South Texas, our area experienced what `bad times' can be like when the electricity went off. Somehow, it is a humbling thing to be left in the dark and have to rely on oil lamps, candles, and flashlights to be able to move through your own home.

The river flooded and submerged the power plant. All the towns around us went through something that only happens in other places like Mississippi or California. Floods like that one ONLY happens somewhere else ... but then this one didn't. It was just a few miles from us. The creeks around us allowed us to only travel 1/2 mile before running into unpassable swollen waters. Makes you think, doesn't it? What if it had been our home that flooded? What if it had been a tornado? Or a riot? Or some other natural disaster? Would we have been ready for the test of survival?

The Boy Scouts have a motto that says, "Be Prepared." I believe in that wise motto. I always have!. Since I was about 11 or 12, I have tested myself in survival. To me it was just a game to begin with but through the trailing years, it became a most serious study .. and it continues today! I even have taught survival classes to men and women BUT NEVER husbands and wives together (that's another story)

Back to this story, Molly and I were very comfortable through our `short term' blackout. The electric company told us we might be without power 48 hours. We weren't. We were lucky. But we were prepared. We were ready for whatever. We already had clothes gathered in backpacks in case we had to leave. We store non-perishable foodstuffs and dried milk for us and neighboring family members. We already had 30 gallons of drinkable water put up. We have stored a knowledge that makes us feel comfortable in `bad situations'. And the most important thing we had was attitude. We will make it no matter what! Attitude is EVERYTHING in a survival situation.

Now I don't believe we could survive anything that happens. Floods sneak up on you and tornados suddenly come out of the sky. There are bad people who kick in doors and kill entire families before any action could be made.... But on a whole, we will survive!

I have written articles like this one for several publications. I usually wouldn't publish this for a small town newspaper because most people believe my `being prepared' is silly and over reacting. After all, things like that happens in `Other Places'. It could never happen here, right? Ask someone in Cureo, Texas or people along the Mississippi River and see how they answer now.

I promote `Emergency Preparedness'. I believe in being prepared. Everyone should have a `kit' put together that would allow you to be self sufficient for a minimum of 72 hours for all your family members. Your emergency kit would be like medical health insurance and car insurance, it's useless, until you need it and then it's priceless. But if you don't have it when you need it, it's too late and life gets tough.

When the power went off and we were told it might be 48 hours, we knew it was time to `get it together'. Where most would just be inconvenienced... Molly and I looked forward to the challenge. We figured to have fun, learn, and maybe get to pass on some knowledge to others. We drove about 100 yards to where my daughter and son-in-law lived. My son-in-law and I went out back, (live in the deep country) sat down by the fire and put on the coffee pot. Molly came out of the house with a frying pan and chow for breakfast. We all had a great meal with a hot cup of coffee. The discussion drifted to the `what ifs'. We were ready. `Emergency Preparedness' is not an easy thing. It's more than putting up water. It's knowing how to obtain, filter, and purify it. And a hundred other things. It takes dedication, study, and thought. It takes an attitude.

There are many, many sources for survival gear and foods. I believe there are nine great books for helping you learn about survival with one being the `Boy Scouts Fieldbook'. I know my stuff. If you are interested, GOOGLE for some information. There is some much on the `net'.

You can't survive everything but with a little knowledge, you stand a better chance of making it. With a little more study, you can survive comfortably.
After our little emergency, my son-in-law talked to his father in the nearby town. The father said the worst part of the whole thing was water and electricity was off and there was no hot coffee to be found in the whole town. When told about our hot coffee, the father asked where we got it. I would have enjoyed hearing the rest of that conversation. My son-in-law enjoyed telling me that his father should have used a little common sense about camping. All people know some but forget what they know when they need it. You see, attitude is 80% of survival. A good attitude will help you to remember what you need to know. One day, one week, or a year.... accept it as an adventure and have a good attitude about it..

What other `little' surprises does Mother Nature have in store for us? Like the Scout Motto; Be Prepared!

Did I mention, as an 10 year old boy, about my staying down on the Colorado River by myself? With a single shot 22 rifle, a canvas for shelter, a pan for cooking, and a fishing pole, I used to enjoy 2 or 3 days out there alone. My daddy taught me to survive. No one worried about me ... My dad taught me about attitude and survival .... But that's another story!!


  1. Great story! I like to think I could survive, but beyond the basics, I know I don't know much. You've inspired me to learn more. Luckily, I am an assistant den leader for my son's Wolf cub den this year, so I'm sure my education is about to start.

  2. Good article Jay. We're prepared for an earthquake. We live just east of a fault line.. same one that caused the smaller earthquake a few years back in Seattle. We have an earthquake kit which includes 3 weeks of medication for each of us, a propane camping stove, flashlight, water, etc. We update it every year so we can eat the canned and dry goods up before their expiry date and put new stuff in. My husband is going to buy a small rowboat to keep on our deck. No, it's not overkill, being at sealevel a Tsunami is a very real possibility too even though Vancouver Island would most likely dampen it's strength. Everyone everywhere should be prepared cause you just never know.

  3. we get winter storms that put us out of commission. A couple of winters ago we were without power for over 3 days (lots of people for longer). We have natural gas so we just spent time in the living room with a gas fireplace, lit the stove burners with matches and pile on the quilts and blankets at night. Living in a log house, I have oil lamps setting all over the place and I have added a crank radio to the kit. Besides being confined to one room (I felt a little like Nancy Hanks Lincoln...hehe) I was just fine.

  4. We're probably not as prepared as we should be. But we do have some food/water set aside, and a generator that we've used a couple of times. It really helped back when there was that massive blackout in the east and midwest a few years ago. We have a well, so the generator helps when we need to run water or flush toilets or help the neighbors when they need it. Good reminder! Karen

  5. I know we are not as prepared as we should be either but we always make it. We need to get in gear and get better prepared. The hard part would be the medications, they are so controlled even if it is just an allergy med. My hubby knows how to survive, me I need my sewing machineLOL.