I walked into a used-a-bit store this last week looking for canning jars and came across this old picture.
I believe the copyright was 1917, during the peak of WWI and just before the 1918 influenza pandemic struck and killed nearly 25% (And I have seen the figures as much as 40% of the human population at that time.) of all people worldwide, my own great-grandmother died of influenza in 1918. I was watching a documentary a year or so ago that traced the flu back to a camp in France where it mutated from swine.
Then there were the “Roaring Twenties” and then the Great Depression. Another world war, and the booming fifties, social unrest in the ’60s and early ’70s, another severe recession, the ’80s were bumpy but okay, the ’90s boomed, then several regional wars wearing down our economy and in 2007 what they are now calling the Great Recession. I’m getting old…
Why do I prepare? Because as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, with or without me, there will be personal hard times and there will be hard times globally whether it be the economy or a pandemic or natural disaster, whatever. I prepare to survive hard times.
Preparedness is not something we do and then quit. It is a mindset, a way of life. Generations of people since pre-history have been setting aside food, using what they had, making do with what was at hand. And they survived because of that thoughtfulness, or necessity, to prepare.
What has me confused is – What happened that preparedness has become a movement that people (Our own Government) fear? That old picture of Uncle Sam with Cream of Wheat tells me that a hundred years ago our government was encouraging people to prepare. That mindset went at least through the ’40s. And it is still here with financial planning, etc. I’m thinking it is the fear mongering and gun toting part of the preparedness movement that has almost made “preparedness” a dirty word.
I met a guy a couple of weeks ago online through my fossil hobby. We were chatting and I mentioned preparedness and he went ballistic! I was shocked, needless to say, and directed him to take a look at seasonedcitizenprepper.com. He read a bit and came back saying that it was a “Practical, common sense preparedness site; not like some of those…”
Has basic, common sense preparedness been hijacked by the fringe “Doomsday Preppers”? I’ve seen some of the videos by radical young men with their AR-15s and rants against the government. I personally just move on to more sane voices. But somehow, I get lumped in with them when I mention preparedness. I suppose it is kind of like being a working homesteader and getting lumped in with the pot smoking hippies and communes. Not at all what it is about, but what mainstream media paints the picture as being.
For me, homesteading is a lifestyle of self-reliance as much as possible, NOT self-sufficiency. I am part of a community. Preparedness is one aspect of that lifestyle. And I can’t say that after two strokes I am anywhere near as self-reliant as I was, but still trying. And preparedness, well that is just trying to be as self-reliant as possible – that’s it. Nothing more; nothing less. Not relying on the government to protect you all the time, hand you food, or keep your lights on. And for me, to hopefully be able to help others in need as well.