This is my story of how I became a Prepper. Let me give you a little history here. I’ve always been a country girl and I grew up being the only girl in a family of all boy cousins. I can remember learning to skin squirrels and rabbits by tying their legs onto my swing set. I loved running the woods, I played softball, I did every event a girl could do in a rodeo (and I worked the chutes for the guys events) and I loved riding my horse and pawpaw’s 3 wheeler. I didn’t get to hunt cause guns were a boy thing and the only time I got to go fishing I came back with 2nd degree sunburn on the top of my head (Daddy forgot to pack me a cap and I had white blonde hair). When I got married for the first time (3 days after my 18th birthday), Grandpa took me to a local store, bought me a little .22 semi-automatic pistol and a box of bullets, and told me to learn to use it. That was my intro course to self-defense.
Fast forward, many years…and now I’m married to a wonderful man. He’s a good husband; he’s a good father and just one of those rare breeds of really good men. He doesn’t get drunk, he doesn’t mistreat our kids or me, he doesn’t run around but he does have a weird hobby, he likes to stock up on things, lots of things. I’m a good wife so when I’m asked “Why did I let him (hahaha as if I could stop him) buy all of this silly stuff?” I respond with my bills are paid, my kids and I are taken care of, what do I care what he spends his money on. So what if I got a rifle for Christmas. I like guns and it’s what I asked for. So what? if I got a camouflage pocketknife with my soon to be initials on it by way of a proposal. I like knives and I already knew what ring I wanted.
Fast forward 10 more years…I watch the devastation of New Orleans and am horrified by what I see. I’m a good small town Louisiana girl so when the refugees flood our local churches I donate goods and help at the local schools. Just as things seem to get back to normal we get word of Rita coming. My husband has been working in Iraq as a civilian contractor and is home on R& R for 2 weeks. I make an emergency run to the grocery store, stock up on the essentials; toilet paper, sodas, ice, bottled water, bread, bologna, charcoal and fill the truck and gas cans. Then I come home and start panicking, remember we had seen how bad it could get. I decide we are leaving and that is that! We’re going to South Carolina and will stay at my mother’s house (an 18 hr. drive). So I start packing the family pictures, our marriage license, clothes, food, anything and everything I can think of. This whole time my husband is calmly watching me, not arguing, just doing his own thing, (this was 2 or 3 days). Then I ask him an innocent little question…what do you need me to pack for you…he responds “I don’t need anything, I’m not going. I’m going to stay here. I’m heading to daddy’s to check on them, love ya, I’ll be back in a little while.” I’m left standing there with my mouth open thinking WTH!!!!!
Breath girl just breath!
This is where my redneck side rears its little head and I think there is NO WAY I am going to travel half way across the country with just my young son leaving my husband behind not knowing if I’ll be able to get back or even call him. NUHUH!! Not gonna happen! By the time he got back from my in-laws I had called my mother to tell her we were riding it out, unpacked everything that I had packed in the past few days and put it all away. He gets home and wants to know what I think I’m doing. I told him I decided we would stay…long story short he says no I want ya’ll to leave and I tell him if he stays we stay period end of discussion. We are a family and families stick together no matter the outcome.
Rita hits and Rita hits hard. I’ll never complain about not having a shade tree in my yard ever again. Every power line on our road was gone. Roads were flooded. Stores were closed. Cell towers and landlines alike were down.
No power, no phone, no water and no help. Because my husband had prepared all of our marriage (and before) we were able to take gas to my elderly grandmother and aunt and uncle to run their generator, water and supplies to my in laws and we were even able to provide gas and distilled water for my newborn niece so my sister in law could evacuate (my niece had just been released from the NICU the day before after being born 4 months premature and had a feeding tube that ran on electricity inserted into her stomach that she could not survive without, we had already lost her twin sister). For 2 weeks with my hubby and without my hubby, we didn’t lack anything except hot water and after the summer heat, humidity and no AC cold “showers” (5 gallon bucket and a water hose) weren’t so bad.
3 days after Rita hits, my hubby has to get on a plane heading back to Iraq. I’m still worried, I’m still scared, we still have no idea how long this is going to last, FEMA is not riding to the rescue but I am NOT going to send my husband off to a war zone worrying about us. So I kiss him goodbye, tell him don’t be silly of course we’ll be fine and put him on a plane. Then I go home and load the guns , which I proceed to carry around the yard with me.
Thank god, I had done that! I don’t even know if my hubby knows this part of my story, I don’t remember if I ever told him or not.
We live in the country on a dead end road; there is nothing beyond my house but pasture and woods. It’s hard to find when you have directions. One afternoon as my son and I are sitting outside a car full of young (20’s or so) men drive down my road. I did not know them, we have no neighbors, they in no way belonged where they were at, they weren‘t lost, they didn‘t have family in the area. I have my 9mm in a holster on my hip but I’m scared. I tell my son to go inside and stay inside. I reach inside the house and pick up my 410 shotgun that sits by the door and I step into the yard to meet them. They stop the car in the driveway, sit there, and stare for what seemed like a really long time but was probably only a few minutes. I can see them talking, pointing, and looking around but they’re not moving and I’m not going to get any closer. I had been standing there with my shotgun for what seemed like forever when I finally find my voice and yell “Can I help ya’ll” (in that voice that we southerners have perfected that really means YOU ARE WHERE YOU DO NOT BELONG! NOW WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT!) They sit there for a few more seconds and then they reverse down my road. As my heart finally returns to normal and I begin to calm I turn back towards the house to put my shotgun back. I see my 7-year-old standing on the porch. He had gotten his 410 out of his room, loaded it, and was standing there pointing it down the driveway. He says, “I got your back Momma.”
From that moment forward, I knew we could survive and we would be ok no matter what happened. My honey still works overseas, he still preps more than I do (but I’m catching up with him every day). My son’s now more interested in how this all applies to zombies. At least now, we’re ALL in the race to prepare and I’m not scared of what ifs, because I know I’m prepared.
We are a family and families stick together.