It all began with a pantry. My husband decided we should make space for a large pantry. I was thrilled with the prospect of gaining more space for storage. In my mind, he was creating room for the hundreds of appliances in our kitchen that I never use even though they are guaranteed to make my life easier with the flip of a switch. Eventually, if I’d had my way, the pantry would have become like the drawer in our credenza that contains every odd item in our house that has no real value. Sensing this, my husband appeared one day and filled the shelves with commercial size bags of rice and beans. Then came the Home Depot paint buckets filled to the brim with hard red winter wheat. What? Upon questioning this madness, he informed me that the wheat would last in its primal state for decades and would be there in the event food was scarce due to a weather event or similar calamity. This spoke to the rational part of my mind. Granted, when he started stocking up on duct tape I found it disturbing, but overall I fell in lock step with his plans for our family’s survival.
Since then, we have faced off a few times, primarily over non-food items. I rolled with the purchase of the AR-15 and all the ammo, but I did firmly plant my foot down on the gas masks and the plans for covering the windows of our home with ballistic metal rolling shades that can be deployed in the event of a zombie apocalypse. I know, I may rue the day that I didn’t let him purchase every item on his Prepper list and some of you will be lining up to taunt me with your gas masks and hazmat suits on breathing filtered air as I gasp for oxygen and claw at my throat, but I had to place reasonable limits somewhere. I have been doing my part to stock our pantry with food (although a bread maker did find a home among the canned peaches), work in our garden, can, and store seeds.
Why not invest in food and shelter? These are the essentials of life. Throughout history civilizations have been faced with famines and I do not kid myself into thinking that just because we are Americans that we are somehow sheltered from the harsh realities of this world. History does repeat itself no matter how intellectual and technologically advanced we think we are. I would not suggest breaking the bank or not paying your mortgage to stock up on survival gear, but you can acquire items slowly. After all, how effective will your food stores be at the homeless shelter when the bank forecloses and repossesses your home? I am not willing to jump on the train headed straight into “Crazytown” and begin espousing the nutrients and protein found in the common grub worm to the ladies in my book club, but I am willing to concede that we have a responsibility to be as self-reliant and prepared as our bank account allows.
And no matter how clever my handsome husband is, he has yet to convince me that a romantic evening involves cracking open some soon-to-expire MREs by the glow of storm candles. I have on occasion, however, been offered a slice of cake at a social function with my non-Prepper friends, and have paused for thought. My normal response would be to decline and save my waistline so as not to bust a seam in my favorite designer jeans. Now, however, a tiny voice speaks to me in my indecision and says that an inch of back fat might actually come in handy in a survival situation. Surely someone sells stretchy camouflage pants, right? So I compromise and reply with a sweet southern smile, “Oh, maybe just a small piece, please”.