Monday, November 9, 2009

Survival of the Most Prepared

The fittest may look better, but the most prepared last longer. I've been interested in survival techniques, kits, gadgets, etc since I was a young Boy Scout. I've always tried to be prepared to stay alive by knowing what to do and how to do it. Lately I've once again been trying to compile what I think is the perfect small survival kit. I even included some of my ideas in my book, Tall Trail Tales. A couple of the items on my list are really bigger than I'd like, but I would still include them in my ideal kit. Here's my list of what I've come up with so far. If you have a favorite not on my list, let me know what it is and why you'd include it. Remember this is trying to be space conscious.

Obviously my ideal kit would be a motorhome full of stuff.



Hot Spark Flint
Fire starter chip
Plastic Magnifying lens
Small Bic lighter
Tinder wick


Duct tape
Orange bandana
Parachute cord
Pencil / paper
Signal mirror
Small knife
Survival cards
Wire saw


Dental Floss
Snare wire


Emergency blanket
Tube tent


Gallon ziplock bag
Mesh bag
Plastic sheet for solar still
Potassium Permanganate
Water purifier tabs
Water tubing for seeps


Candle wick
LED light
Small glow stick

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Farewell to Pat

Uncle Pat just passed away tonight. About 20 minutes ago. He went to the hospital a week ago to have stomach surgery. There were many problems which pointed to things getting worse instead of better. All his organs were shutting down and he was not expected to last the weekend. I understand his family was able to be with him at the end.

When I think about Uncle Pat a lot of things go through my mind. Their dogs they have had over the years. Baseball games. Family History. Cincinnati. I remember a chicken coop in Panguitch and a belt spanking afterwards for my Kelly. Butter ice cubes. The Dugout. Mustaches and sideburns. Spam.

I once had an email folder labeled “Uncle Pat” so that all his spam emails would be directed there. I usually looked at all of them. Pat sent lots of spam, but he usually sent some good stuff. It was better than getting catalogs in the mail. You know, when you don’t have any other mail you get the catalogs. His emails were spam, but they were spam with thought put in, kind of like Grandpa’s spam and eggs for breakfast.

I only remember about three emails that were regular emails. One was about the family reunion. Two were about his surgery. They were brief. He was anxious about needing/having the surgery, but guardedly optimistic. We all do that. We have a great sense of our own mortality, but cannot accept a reality in which we no longer exist in this physical world. We can think about death, but not about us not being here anymore.

I’m going to put this on my blog for everyone to see, but I’m also going to send it in an email to my family. Send it out again as spam to people you know, just for Pat.

Miss you Uncle Pat,


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Strange, But True

In the area of truth being stranger than fiction, a couple of stories always come to my mind:

As a district supervisor for a chain of clothing stores, my father travelled out of town all my life. Such a schedule requires the traveler to eat at many restaurants. On one such occasion, my father had just paid for his meal, a hamburger, fries and soft drink, and was seating himself in a booth. To his surprise, seated in an adjacent booth, was Colonel Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, dressed in his traditional attire. Colonel Sanders noticed my father's surprise, turned to him and remarked, “Well, we can't eat chicken all the time, can we."

Not long before my grandmother passed away, the greeting card industry entered a new era of technology where computer chips and a small battery were added to cards enabling the cards to play a variety of Christmas carols when opened. My wife and I bought several cards to send to a few relatives. One of these cards was sent to my grandmother.

In her mid-seventies, she had seen many marvelous improvements and technological advances over the years. In her town, for example, you didn't need to write a full mailing address or box number for her to get your letter. Her name, the name of the small town in which she lived and the zip code were sufficient. The post office only had about 200 boxes total, and some of those were not in use. Somehow, somewhere the card we sent my grandmother was bent slightly. The computer chip inside began to quietly play its repertoire of about eight songs.

The postmaster's wife, who doubled as attendant at their grocery store-gas station-post office, upon hearing the music, sent her husband outside to check the restrooms to see if perhaps someone was there with a radio. Dutifully, the postmaster checked both restrooms then all around the building without locating the source of the music. As the two of them listened more carefully, they could tell that the music was coming from the mail room

"It must be one of these packages." one of them remarked.

They must have been quite a site as they carefully listened to each the large packages, then continued with the letters and cards until they located a cheery little envelope performing its own recital. They decided that it would be best to make a special delivery of the mail and promptly took it to my grandmother.
"Special delivery for you, Velma." they said as my grandmother opened the door.

They explained what happened and waited as she opened the card. By carefully straightening the bent card the two of them were able to repair the card's on/off switch and make it function properly again. Anxious to share this marvel with someone else, my grandmother called one of my aunt's

"Reva," she began, "Would you like to hear my Christmas card from Twist and Helen?"

My aunt said she would and listened for her to begin reading the card over the phone. Instead she heard the miniature recital which had been performed already for my grandmother, a postmaster, his wife and unknown countless postal and airlines workers