Possumhaw: It's not about me

September 18, 2012 5:56:04 AM

Shannon Bardwell - [email protected]


A friend showed me an email she received from her daughter. Her daughter is a full-time college student and has a full-time job at an attorney's firm. The email said that the attorney had called the office workers together and said, "Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better and it is going to happen soon. You should make sure that you have enough food in your home to last a month and enough money to pay your bills for a month. Do not have the money in the bank. Have the money at home." 


Something about that message caused a dark cloud to cover me. It's not that I haven't heard it before. I heard it in the 60s when my neighbors built bomb shelters and stocked them with canned goods. I heard the warnings when adults talked of communism and moving to Australia but still the attorney's message was foreboding. 


It could have been that I had an emergency call to the hospital that morning for a young friend who had a seizure. I held her as she sobbed over what it would mean to her future and how her life would change forever. Fear permeated the room. 


I thought about the news and how innocent people died because of an offensive-to-some movie. Fear permeates the world.  


Emails brought more news of friends with health problems, impending surgeries, medical tests ... my thoughts went back to the dashed hopes of my friend's daughter, a young college student, and her stockpiling canned goods under her bed. 


Then I looked around the house and thought of all the canned goods in the cabinet, and a freezer full of food, two or three cars in the yard, extra gas cans full of gas in the garage for a tractor, a riding lawnmower and weed eater, a recreational vehicle with two propane tanks, wood piles ready for the buck stove and I hadn't even ordered that "living off the grid" stuff yet. 


Sitting in the "new room" I stared pensively out the windows; then I noticed the globe sitting on the bookshelf. It sits there to remind me of all the people on the planet and their needs. I thought about us stock-piling stuff when more than half the world doesn't have enough for the day, not this day or any other day. I've read that 30,000 children die every day because they don't have enough. They don't have any beds to put their can goods under. 


Now that made me really sad and it made me less sad about what I may or may not have in the future. Perhaps stockpiling canned goods is not a bad one, then we can make some soup to share with an elderly neighbor and perhaps having some cash is a good idea too, there's always a guy needing a hamburger or a single mom that could use some diapers.

Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.