I was never in the Boy Scouts. I did, however, grow up in an environment that reflected their motto of “Be Prepared”.
My grandfather could fix anything mechanical, built his own barn(s) and garage, and ran an 80-acre farm largely by himself for years. Bits and pieces of his wealth of knowledge have stuck with me through the years, though my talent for fixing things is generally limited to computer software, wood projects, and occasionally some coherent wordsmithing. Occasionally coherent that is, not necessarily occasional wordsmithing.
Once I started driving my own car, Dad would always ask “How’s your spare?” “Check the oil?” “Got gas?” as I was walking out the door. Those were not 3 separate questions, mind you, but a single query of can you, and your car, get where you’re going and back again. Me, not a problem. The car, well… most of the time.
Mom was concerned with who I was going to be with, where I was going, and when I was going to be home. Trust me, “Someone, somewhere and later” was not the correct answer to that line of inquiry. Now that I have kids of my own, she’s concerned about how are they doing in school, making sure they are not sick, and of course, when can she see them again.
The questions, I realize now, were more than parental concern. They were also a backdrop against a potential emergency. At the time, the emergency could have been anything from running out of gas — we lived in a rather rural area and my weekly pay didn’t always provide enough to keep the fuel gauge above 1/4 tank — to a car wreck and everything in between. This, if my old memory is correct, was a hundred years or so ago, before the invention of cellphones which can help lessen the scale of emergency in some of the above situations.
The recent pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 has caused me to reflect a bit on the “be prepared” title of this post. This series will document that reflection and the resultant journey.