September 2015
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How Did I Become a Prepper?

It isn’t something that happened overnight. It was a long slow process that included many twists and turns along the way. While it took a while, I attribute one particular event to the light bulb going on in my head.

I think I’ve always had the right mentality to prep but never really thought about doing it in an organized way. For example, I’m frugal by nature. That’s a common characteristic of preppers. I like to repair things and reuse things. I don’t like to throw things away that might have other uses. Some call it being a packrat. If I am, I come by it honestly. My father was the same way and his father was too. I remember my mother would tell my father to throw something away and he always said the same thing: “Well that’s still good yet.” Doesn’t everyone have a box or a drawer in their workshop where every screw, bolt, or nut goes that is left over from a project? The unwritten but universally understood rule is you only have to find one useful piece from that drawer to justify all that stuff. But that doesn’t make me any different from most people.

What happened to get me more focused?
About seven years ago, we experienced a gasoline shortage in the Southeast. Two hurricanes in the Gulf triggered most of the refineries to be shut down. Quickly the local gas stations had trouble getting supplies. The shortage lasted nearly two weeks. I remember seeing long lines at the stations. There is a QT near my house that I pass every day. It sits on the corner of a major intersection, so it had entrances from two streets. The cars were lined up in all directions trying to get in. I saw people looking frustrated and sometimes shouting at each other. The last time I saw anything like that was in the mid-70s when I was a kid. Back then I wasn’t driving yet, so I must not have worried about it.

So why wasn’t I stuck in those long lines? Sheer dumb luck. At the time I had two old vehicles that I didn’t drive much. I kept them around because – you guessed it – I have a hard time getting rid of things. They might still be useful, right? Both vehicles had 25 gallon fuel tanks and both were full. Not because I planned it that way – like I said, sheer dumb luck. During that two week period, I siphoned gas from both of them to keep to keep my tank and my wife’s tank topped off. We managed to get through the shortage without once having to deal with the frustration of the gas stations. I remember when it was over thinking how much worse it could have been.

The Beginnings of the journey
Back in 2008, I was early on the journey to self-sufficiency. I still didn’t get it back then. I did learn something though. I appreciated those old vehicles. These days I take a good look at things before I throw them away. One of those vehicles is gone but I still have the other. I’ve gotten better at telling the difference between trash and junk. The trash goes in the garbage can and the junk finds a home because, as my father always said, it’s still good yet.

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