Will we be ready?

“Since [this article] ran, I’ve had several people stop me to say how much they appreciated the ‘wake-up’ call”

This compelling article was published in a Missouri newspaper by a long time stockupfood.com member and is re-posted here by her permission.

I picked up my 10 year old daughter, from school as usual on Tuesday afternoon, December 14th. She was obviously excited as she got in the car. “Did you hear! A water main burst, and there’s no running water in Norborne!” She continued, “We couldn’t drink out of the water fountains, and the whole city’s under a boil order.” I hadn’t tried to turn on any water at home for the last couple of hours, so this was news to me.

I was on my way to Marshall, but pulled in to Casey’s before leaving town. Casey’s is typically busy after school, but today more than usual. There was only one parking spot left when I pulled up. Anna ran in to get an ice cream, while I sat in the car, engine running to stave off the cold. The car beside me pulled out and another soon took it‘s place. A young mother I know stepped out of the car. I rolled down my window, and asked her what she knew about the water main break. She said all she knew was there was a break, and that Norborne was under a boil order until further notice. She said she’d gone to the kitchen to make her baby a bottle, and was shocked when no water came out of the faucet. She’d come to the store to buy water so she could make a bottle. She said with concern in her voice, “I sure hope they get the water turned on soon.”

As she dashed into the store, two other patrons walked out, each carrying a case of bottled water. It took longer than usual for Anna to emerge. As she got in the car, she said, “Man! Everyone’s in there buying water!” I had to chuckle to myself and shake my head. I’ve seen it so many times, people scurrying around at the last minute trying to acquire supplies to see them through a moment of crisis.

I remember back to all the times I’ve seen folks race around to buy the basic necessities, when a snow storm or ice storm was forecast. Go to any big box store, like K-Mart, Walmart, of Target and you’ll see people frantic to fill their shopping carts with water, milk, bread, lunchmeat, batteries, and the like. If on such an occasion, I happen to be in one of these stores, I’m only there to do routine shopping. I watch in amazement as people anxiously pile supplies into their cart, scurrying here and there, trying to remember all the things they could possible need in the next few days.

Do they not have anything at home that they need? I wondered. Do they not remember that before the last storm, they did this exact same thing, running to the store to get the necessities to sustain life? I wonder how sparse their pantries must be if they feel the need to rush out and buy food and drink to make it through a storm expected to last 5 days. Have they not even stored enough food to last a mere 5 days?

Over the years, I’ve had jobs that afforded me the opportunity to visit in many homes. I never cease to be amazed at those folks who pretty much live from paycheck to paycheck, yet they have all the latest high tech gadgets: big flat screen televisions, late model cars, the latest communication devices, new computers, Wii gaming systems, not to mention designer jeans, and stacks and stacks of CD’s and DVD’s. All this and yet they don’t have enough food in the cupboard to prepare 10 decent meals for their family, spare batteries for their one and only flashlight, and not even a gallon water in reserve for drinking . It’s just unimaginable to me.

As I see it, it’s my responsibility to see that my family’s needs are taken care of. I’m so glad to live in a time when I have running water that miraculously pours out of my faucet, electricity that flows silently through power lines into my house, natural gas piped in to heat my home and my water, and a trash service which hauls away my refuse, with very little effort on my part. I think most of us very much take these things for granted, and in fact, fail to realize that the ability to deliver these services to us could be compromised, unexpectedly, at any time.

As I pulled away from Casey’s, I made a cell phone call to my husband who works in Independence. “There’s been a water main break in Norborne. We’re under a boil order,“ I said. “There’s water in the filter pitcher on the kitchen counter, along with several two liter bottles of water, that I filled this morning.” I continued, “This should be sufficient until they get the water back on.“ My habit, for years has been to fill any empty, two liter bottle with water. It just so happened that I filled some that morning.

It gives me a sense of peace to know I’m prepared to meet the needs of my family, especially in the event of a short term interruption of services. I don’t have to race around, panicked, wringing my hands, wondering what I should do first. I don’t have to rush out to procure supplies that I could have easily purchased at a more tranquil time.

I long ago developed a plan for many different scenarios that might interrupt ‘life as usual’ for my family. All I have to do, when a situation arises, is simply follow the plan I’ve already developed. One of the mottos often quoted in our house is, “Plan for the worst, but hope for the best.” With this philosophy, we’re seldom caught unprepared.

Seems to me, that as a town, we should be mindful to take this as a lesson, and determine here and now that we will work together, and as families, never again be unprepared. It seems like the least we can do is store enough water with which to take vital medications, to clean a wound, or even to make a bottle for a baby. In these uncertain times, we never know when we might be faced with something of greater magnitude than a mere water main break. Will we be ready?

Do you have a similar experience? Add a comment below!

Opening photo by Fox news insider

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