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True North: Report from the Trenches of Texas

The grocery store was slammed full of shoppers on Friday when we finally felt the roads were safe enough to venture out. Power had been intermittent for over a week and as mains burst in the area, boil notices added to the strain of not having water to boil…

We put a few things in our small cart. The store was completely out of fruits, vegetables, and meats, including the prepackaged deli/breakfast meats and cheeses which normally filled the store coolers. There was no dairy or eggs. I was hoping for some Noosa Lemon yogurt. That entire area of the store was roped off. Because we had chicken on our list I approached a store manager who was standing near one of the empty coolers chatting with a young stocker-looking kid. I wondered if he had any word of when to expect the supply chain to ramp back up. He seemed almost gleeful as he launched into his version of “why it can’t be called global warming” and that given these wild extremes of temperature, “climate change” is a much better phrase for this predicament. I could tell that I had interrupted a lecture when the young guy took his opportunity to drift away. I had time to let him talk. It took some patience but he finally and abruptly did stop.

I smiled faintly, reminding him gently, “chicken?”. He might have been a Dairy section supervisor. “Can’t say, he said, “…been promised milk and eggs tonight.”

People are tired. I frequently wonder what “things will look like” in the future. The trials of confronting loss, and of preparing for the unknowns presented by what appears to be a crumbling democracy are taking and have taken a toll. I’m not seeing hopelessness in the faces at the grocery store – my only venue for observing strangers – the vibe seems to be polite, tired, watchful. At check-out, the cashier told us that we had too many bottles of tonic water. Water is being rationed she explained because so many people are without water. I felt shamed, but not ashamed and said, “Okay but that’s not water.Tonic water is not water. Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink that is commonly used as a cocktail mixer.”

When they indicated that it clearly says “water” right there on the label I said “I know you are just trying to follow the rules as we are too. …”

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • tim February 26, 2021, 11:54 AM

    I just can’t stop thinking about how many of those people have scoffed at preppers…

  • sharksauce February 26, 2021, 12:44 PM

    (accidentally commented in the earlier post)

    I’ve had agnostic moments in my life. Then I moved to central Texas and discovered H-E-B. H-E-B is concrete proof that there is a God, and he wants us to be happy.

  • Mike Anderson February 26, 2021, 3:31 PM

    Think all this Texas Trauma is going to blow over in a week or two? Home Depot doesn’t think so. They’re stocking and selling portable generators by the pallet. And good luck finding pipe insulation, it’s scarcer than chicken. BTW, H-E-B is pretty much restocked with basic milk, eggs, and meat, and slowly recovering from the Snowbounders’ Cold Cuts Massacre. Wokesters will have to wait a bit longer for their kombucha and chi-chi yogurt.

  • The Distributist February 26, 2021, 3:48 PM

    If tonic water is water, than almond milk is milk…

  • The Distributist February 26, 2021, 3:49 PM

    *then, duh…

  • Snakepit Kansas February 26, 2021, 5:28 PM

    The cavalry ain’t commin. Have some rations, some bullets, eat a tablespoon of concrete and HARDEN UP!

  • Mike Anderson February 26, 2021, 5:38 PM

    @tim: A year ago, my wife was a scoffer, and teased my regularly about the overstocked pantry and the apparently useless pile of mesquite firewood in the backyard. Now I’m that Prophet of Logistics who guaranteed delicious meals and kept the fireplace going 24/7 during the Texas Snowpocalypse. Silly me.

  • Gordon Scott February 26, 2021, 6:32 PM

    I was talking to some very liberal friends of mine about current events. They thought bicycle lanes were really cool, even when I pointed out that they are a symptom of unserious government. Well, we’ve seen the results of unserious government in Minneapolis for most of a year now. Now, they’re piling up chain-link fences topped with barbed wire, and lots of concrete Jersey barriers around the Hennepin Count District Courthouse, shortly to be the home of the trial of Derek Chauvin, and the focus of the riots.

    The rioters have had many months to plan. These are not the retarded B-team that shows up nightly in Portland. These folks are committed, trained, and they plan. They use encryption, not Facebook, to talk to each other. They know that there will be up to 2000 National Guard backing up police from all over the state. They have ideas on how to slip into gaps, strike and get away.

    It will get ugly. Jury selection begins March 8. March 15, I am out of here.

  • Terry February 26, 2021, 7:53 PM

    Wife and I lived off grid at 6000 ft. elevation in the mountains of northern Nevada for 18 years. Remote, rugged as hell area full of bears, cougars, etc. Lots of snow, windy as heck sometimes. No neighbors. In other words remote and self reliance mandatory. Numerous fools drove out and past our place and came out deceased in winter weather “excursions”.

    The temperatures reached -30 F. Oh, we lived in a 40′ travel trailer built for California summers. Ice formed on the inside walls of the trailer. I can laugh about it now, buy some of our hardships at that camp were nightmares. Got snowed in, had to cross country ski into the place a few times.

    Anyway, any power outage in cold country can be fatal real fast. We had photovoltaic, three generators, hundreds of gallons of fuel, 700 gallons of propane starting every winter. Kerosene backup heaters and lots of kerosene stored. And on and on.

    I envision a government in total collapse here in the US and anyone who is not prepped is going to be in dire straights. People who are starving become EXTREMELY dangerous. They will kill and eat you.

    Everyone here is prepped at least to a point where they think, is a self reliant level. You can never have enough in a bad situation. Having nothing in your pantry is an invitation to serious rapid weight loss.

    Nothing in gov will work. Nothing. You are your own last hope. Neighbors to help, don’t count on it. When the TV goes black screen the neighbor will drop dead.

    Food, water, rifle, shotgun, mucho ammo, medicine and a whole list of other items. Spare parts for whatever you need to keep running (generator). Reference books, radios and etc., etc.

  • MarkInKansas February 26, 2021, 8:17 PM

    I was relieved to be able to transport groceries to my brother in Waxahachie on the first day my company had it’s Dallas terminal back open. I found a store between Amarillo and Dallas that had some food left, although even that far out, the shelves had been hit hard. I had to push him to get a list but that’s how we brothers are.

  • Thud Muffle February 27, 2021, 10:42 AM

    That Southern grocery store chain has to serve its customers, repeat, has to. The government? Not so much. There’s an old management cliche about being able to spot the pioneers in an organization, they’re the ones with the arrows in their backs. Anybody in government knows there are many more enthusiastic archers than there are pioneers.