The Kenwood Press
Publishers' Corner: 06/15/2019

Ready, Set, NoÖ

Jay Gamel

Itís fire season again and the windís been blowing a lot over the past very hot week, bringing back memories of the days that led up to the rampaging fire that hit us so hard in October of 2017. Standing in the driveway, watching the trees swaying and stuff blowing all over, I realized, ďIím still not ready.Ē

Iíve written about being Ready, told people how to get Set, and where to Go, but have been content to think about it for two years and not make even the minimal effort it takes to stock water, cans of Amyís soup (couldnít exist without Amy), some clean underwear, and a spare toothbrush in a go-bag near the door.

Maybe a flashlight, some extra hearing aid batteries, phone charging cord, a solar phone charger, battery-operated radio, first aid kit Ė you know, ďThe List.Ē There are about two thousand lists of what to do, pack, think about, prepare, and purchase to get your act together for emergencies, but if youíre anything like me, itís the last thing you want to deal with.

The trouble with being prepared is that itís not a thing you can do once and forget about. The emergency supplies need to be refreshed and kept current. Some things last a while, like those two-dozen cans of pork and beans, but other items need to be replenished frequently. Water can get stale or worse, boxed food can be invaded, dry kibble wonít last forever, even canned food can spoil if it gets too hot, and you can bet the batteries will all be dead the day before you need them.

I live in a forest thatís going to burn Ė again Ė some time in the future. I live near major earthquake faults that are going to slip Ė again. Itís going to rain so hard one of these days that the creek will wash away my bridge, shutting me either in or out for weeks.

And those catastrophes can happen any day, any time. Itís too much to keep in the forefront of my mind without becoming terminally depressed or moving to Topeka, and they just had another tornado.

As one 17th century pundit wrote, ďThe answer to your prayer is often heard in the echo of your resolve.Ē

I therefore resolve to put together a minimal emergency kit first thing next week. To start, Iíll re-read the excellent online advice at and, and make a list of what will work for my situation, and store it all by the front door, making sure that it doesnít look too much like the haul-stuff-out-of-the-house pile right next to it. And then Iím going have Alexa nag me to check the emergency supplies at least once every three months.

There, I feel better already. Next time you see me, ask me if Iím ready.

Ė Jay Gamel