Who doesn’t like to say I told you so? I mean really, honestly, deep down in your soul. Maybe not even uttering the words, but having a look that says, “I am too big of a person to rub it in your face, but you know what I’m thinking.” I do this frequently to my husband. Then there are times when your kids falter. You told them not to do something and they did it anyway and now you watch them pay the consequences. These moments are heart wrenching to me, as a mother. I know they are necessary, and I let it play out because I know how valuable the lesson will be.
The other day, I was putting food away in our ever-growing pantry. I thought to myself that it was nice to know we had a back-up plan in case of catastrophe. As I have said before, I don’t have any theories whatsoever as to what looms in the future, but I believe we should all be prepared for whatever may come our way. Then it struck me. How many people in my own community are prepared with emergency supplies, non-perishable food items, and medicines?
Our family runs in a very diverse circle. We have friends that differ with us politically and otherwise. I like it that way. I have never been one who wants to close myself off to anyone who thinks differently because, truthfully, I like to argue. Respectfully and without malice, but a logical and quick-witted argument perks me up. Although, I must confess, I did lose my mind momentarily and threw something at my husband when we were first married after he told me he voted for Bill Clinton. That aside, I am a reasonable person and I appreciate others ideas. That said, while standing in my pantry, I began imagining the number of people who may turn to us in a time of need. Tough choices will have to be made.
In the event there is a calamitous event that isn’t resolved in a short period of time, how will our family react to the hungry eyes and desperate hands that come rapping on our door? And what if those eyes belong to our friends, the family of friends, or our dear elderly neighbors? Especially if these are the people who laughed at our prepping purchases and choose to live day-to-day not planning for their futures. I have read the Aesop fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper” to my kids too many times to count and for good reason.
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long,
building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances
and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the
We have shared our ideas of prepping with our friends and some of them poke fun at us. I do believe however, that we have planted a seed in their minds and they may one day also consider preparing for their own families. I do not want to shoulder their burden if they have been like the grasshopper, but I cannot say we would or should have the heart to turn away anyone we can help without jeopardizing the safety and health of our own family. I am haunted by the idea that we will ever have to face that decision. I don’t froth at the mouth imagining how we will ride out-of-town in our vehicle loaded with gasoline reserves, toting all the guns and ammo we bought before it went sky-high with our noses in the air, smugly feeling superiority course through our veins.
I have heard people gloat, especially on Doomsday Preppers, about how everyone else around them will suffer when the grid goes down, terrorists take over, tornadoes sweep everything away, economic collapse, or a massive volcanic eruption suddenly throws society as we know it into tumult and chaos. “Ha Ha!” they exclaim, “We will be prepared to sustain ourselves for thirteen months and everyone else will die a horrible death!” Those preppers are so ready to scream, “I TOLD YOU SO!!!” at the tops of their lungs that they can taste it. I am not that person. No matter how prepared our family is, I never want to be that person. Personally, I hope nothing happens. I hope forty years from now my husband and I are lounging in rocking chairs, watching cars go by, sipping cola out of a bottle because it settles our stomachs. I want to look over at my husband and yell (because by then he will be totally deaf; I think he’s been praying for that), “Just think of all that stuff we squirreled away in case of an epic disaster, and we never even needed it. Let’s sell it and go to Mexico for one last fling before we’re dead and buried!” I chuckle to myself whenever I think about it. And deep down inside I don’t want to be right about what may be around the corner. I would much rather go to a dazzling beach anywhere and bask in the warm sun surrounded by carefree grasshoppers and never have to think, “I told you so.”