Monday, October 19, 2015

Why I Prepare. Bringing Rural Back Podcast #8

I wasn't going to do a full writeup for this podcast because I have told this story in parts and pieces scattered through the going on three years that I have been doing this blog. Then I realized that I haven't put it all together and there are people that would much rather read than listen. So here you go. This is my story of why I prepare and how I got to the point I am now.

My Family and How I Grew Up

I have been blessed beyond measure when it comes to my family. I not only was able to know all of my grandparents, I was able to know three great grandmothers. One died when I was fairly young, but I remember going to her house and I remember talking to her. The other two lived long enough to make an impression on me. Now they didn't contribute as much to who I am as my grandparents did, but they were able to reinforce what their children were teaching me. My grandparents were children of the Great Depression and by today's standards they were all preppers. Each set of grandparents went about their preparedness in different ways, but they would be preppers.

My Paw Paw


Paw Paw lived in town. Not a big town, but town none the less. He had a double lot, the largest lot in that whole section of town. He had pecan trees, grape vines, fig trees, and always had a fairly large garden. They canned everything they could. I guess you could call him a knife trader. He had a knack for finding knives that he considered affordable and finding someone who thought the price he was asking was fair. I never heard anyone say that he cheated them. He just knew what he was looking for. He did some trading in guns, but knives were his passion.

Paw paw also kept and traded in silver as much as possible. He kept cash on him at all times, but if someone had silver to trade that was what he preferred.   He would tell everyone who would listen this warning.

During the Great Depression every store had things to sell, but no one had any money. During the next Great Depression everyone will have money, but there will be nothing to buy.

My Granddad 


Granddad lived in the country. He worked hard until he just couldn't do it any longer.  He gardened big time. He hunted and raised animals for meat. He was a very hard man. He was a gun guy. He always had multiple calibers and ammunition for them all. He made sure all of us knew how to hunt. He is also the one who got me interested in foraging and herbal remedies. He too believed there would be another Great Depression. Even though he didn't say it the same way I think Paw Paw and he were very close in what they expected to happen.

He would say.
Boy, it is going to get bad again someday. When it does the people who know how to grow their own food will be the ones who are better off, but they will probably have to defend their food or be robbed blind.
The wording is different, but the end result would be the same. People would not be able to buy the things they need. Both men talked about the decreasing ability of people to do things for themselves.

 I Became an Adult

Like many, after I became an adult, I went through a stage where I thought I knew better than my ancestors. Come on, I was better educated and the world had changed. I was busy working and trying to make a living to support my family. I still gardened, but it was for the love of the produce and I guess a little in homage of those who taught me. I did deviate a good bit. I went to organic gardening, they never did. As far as preparedness goes, I wasn't. Not in any stretch of the imagination. We were just weathering the storms, bot financial and literal, believing that everything would be okay and it really wouldn't hit me. I mean come on, what are the odds of something catastrophic happening to me?

The Tornado and A Revelation

April 27th 2011 was a day that I will never forget. I owned my own business, times were tough, but we were making them, barely. The tornado wiped my business off the map. Everything was destroyed except for one an a half room. I lost everything that was stored at the business that wasn't in those two rooms. I had insurance which paid all of the debts, but I didn't have "re-builders" insurance, I guess my agent forgot to tell me about that. When I opened the business, banks were loaning money to almost anyone. By the time the tornado hit we were in the middle of the Great Recession and banks were loaning as little money as possible. What a difference six years makes. When I was looking for financing for the business to open, I had banks call me and ask me if I would come to their bank. After the storm, none of the banks would even talk to me, they said it was too risky.

I had no way to support my family. FEMA helped a little and I mean very little. I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and hit the ground running. I had to take care of my family. In the nearly two months it took me to find a job I had to sell several things just to make sure my family could eat. Some of those things were precious to me, but me family was much more important that they were.

A Promise

I made myself a promise that as soon as I got back on my feet, I would do everything I could to make sure that my family didn't have to go through that again. This is how I was pushed back into preparedness. It would have been so much easier on our family if I had taken the lessons of my grandparents to heart. If we would have had food stored we wouldn't have struggled near as bad. It happened to me, it can happen to you.

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