American Survival Guide - - FIRST WORDS - —Mike Mccourt

At this time of year, most Amer­i­cans come to­gether to cel­e­brate Thanks­giv­ing, a hol­i­day that, among other things, com­mem­o­rates the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the early Euro­pean set­tlers and the na­tive Wam­panoag pop­u­la­tion, along with the cel­e­bra­tion of a suc­cess­ful fall har­vest. With­out that co­op­er­a­tion and the bounty from their crops, the Pil­grims prob­a­bly would not have sur­vived their first win­ter in their new home. (For the con­ser­va­tive Pil­grims to have cel­e­brated for three days, they must have been pretty ex­cited about their im­prov­ing sit­u­a­tion.)

These days, the fourth Thurs­day of Novem­ber is also in­tended to re­mind us to pause a mo­ment, take stock of what we have, ap­pre­ci­ate our fam­ily and friends, good for­tune, our Amer­i­can way of life and, ide­ally, reach out to those around us who might not be as well off as we are.

Of course, many peo­ple just look at this hol­i­day as a long-awaited day or ex­tended week­end off from work and an op­por­tu­nity to over­dose on football, pro­tein, carbs and sugar, or to kick off the Christ­mas gift-buy­ing blitz.

For tra­di­tion­al­ists host­ing a gather­ing of fam­ily and friends, there can be months of plan­ning and a small for­tune in­vested in en­sur­ing the event is ex­traor­di­nar­ily en­joy­able for all the par­tic­i­pants. There are mul­ti­tudes of de­tails to be ad­dressed for ev­ery­thing from the menu and seat­ing ar­range­ments to lodg­ing and travel lo­gis­tics. In many cases, the host’s time-hon­ored fam­ily tra­di­tions are in the process of be­ing passed down to will­ing mem­bers of the next gen­er­a­tion in hopes that the fu­ture’s con­nec­tion with the past will con­tinue to be as strong as ever.

Train­ing has its place in the plan, as well.

For true prep­pers, a lot of the in­tri­ca­cies of this hol­i­day are no great chal­lenge. We know how to plan for all sorts of se­ri­ous events; and while Thanks­giv­ing is a won­der­ful, en­joy­able time, it’s a good op­por­tu­nity for us to make a dry run on our plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion skills for emer­gency sit­u­a­tions. We know we’ll need to use those abil­i­ties at some point to pro­tect our lives, so why not prac­tice on this sim­i­larly com­pli­cated, but much-less-per­ilous, gather­ing? Hope­fully, the worst-case sce­nario if your Thanks­giv­ing plan tanks is no worse than cre­mat­ing the turkey or for­get­ting to pick up Un­cle Harry from the air­port.

Con­versely, I won­der how much far­ther along my emer­gency prepa­ra­tions would be if I com­mit­ted the same time, re­sources and pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to them as I do my Thanks­giv­ing plans? How much more con­fi­dent in my suc­cess would I be if I ap­proached readi­ness for a dis­as­ter with the same fo­cus and ex­u­ber­ance as I do my Thanks­giv­ing prep­ping? Af­ter all, the stakes are a bit higher if my fam­ily and I are to sur­vive a 1-in-1,000-year flood, a record-set­ting bliz­zard or a man-made catas­tro­phe.

If I’m hon­est, I’m go­ing to have to work harder to change my mind­set from one of great con­cern about the as­sort­ment of po­ten­tial emer­gen­cies we could face to fo­cus­ing on the ben­e­fit of be­ing able to sur­vive a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent and thrive in its af­ter­math.

Un­like my fo­cus on Thanks­giv­ing, where I look for­ward to the event it­self but am ap­pre­hen­sive about the en­su­ing days of mo­not­o­nous left­overs, I ought to zero in more on how re­lieved I’ll be af­ter the dis­as­ter, when we will have as much of what we need as we could have planned for.

(I guess, in ret­ro­spect, I’ve known all along that I have to deal with the turnip casse­role if I’m go­ing to get the ap­ple pie à la mode … .)

Best wishes for a safe and happy Thanks­giv­ing!

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