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Survival of the least stupid


I know some readers are too young to remember those long ago days, but the rest of you might recall way back when we had that nice weather just last week. Wasn't it awesome?! So now all of a sudden we have winter again, complete with multiple power outages, and I'm all, like, huh? But, but, but I thought I was totally pretty much prepared, and then I found that I'm all, like, caught with my pants down. Again. I swear, it's like no one sent me a memo that we were going to have winter this year. And who'd've thunk it'd last, like, months. Honestly. Here I am: Coleman fuel on the porch — Coleman lantern sitting empty in the house. Candles in the cupboard — no clue where I moved the holders to when I mucked through the recesses of the house last time. Second sleeping bag for zipping together extra, emergency bedding insulation — in the camper, with high winds and snow between me and thee. Battery operated radio — donated by my generous husband to Salvation Army. Like, radio? We don't need no stinkin' radio. Oil lantern — Oh, hey, we got that one right! It's sitting on the shelf half full of oil — oh, hey, but the wick hangs only onethird of the way into the reservoir. Thus, the lamp was half empty after all. I just kept sitting there in the dark thinking about that PBS program, "Frontier House." The six-hour series documented the experiences of three modern families who had agreed to spend the summer and fall of 2001 living as if they were 1883 homesteaders in Montana. The show was like the alter-ego, love-child of reality TV and the "Beverly Hillbillies." I expected to hear: "The first thing ya know Jed's leavin' city fare. Kinfolk said 'Jed, be a homestead-aire!' Said, 'Montany is the place ya oughta beeee.' So they loaded up the cart and moved to 1883." At the end of the program, judges analyzed whether or not the families would've survived the winter but were split on the success of the family from Southern California: The family's adolescent boys were too young to do much. Their teenaged girls were mostly interested in running around in their camisoles for camera guys. The dad got sick from malnutrition, and the mom got plain sick and tired of cooking, cleaning and doing laundry for a family of six all day. They didn't cut enough fire wood, didn't harvest enough food for themselves or their livestock and didn't have warm enough shelter or clothing. Plus, they broke the rules of the program by sneaking out and bartering for modern goods, including a box spring mattress, and broke the law by fishing out of season and setting up a distillery to make hooch to sell. Judges' summary: All things considered, we're impressed with what you city folk did accomplish, but in all likelihood, you would die before spring came to your mountain homestead. Thanks for playing. We'll hold a nice wake and scatter your ashes on Rodeo Drive. Me? I think judges don't like rule breakers. I say the family had the brass moxie to do just fine in 1883. Those girls would've quit the homestead to marry some rich fellas. The dad would've earned, borrowed or conned a living, as well as seed money for his wife who would've started a first-rate brothel to support the whole bunch of them. And those boys would've thrived no matter where they landed, especially a brothel. I am saddened to announce that my opinion regarding my own survival is bleak. Given my performance this winter, I would've been destined to die in the cold and dark of winter 1883. As the neighbor's gathered around whatever the coyotes don't eat of me, one wise sage would say, "She's awfully dead, frozent and et up like that. But at least she got her strain of stupid out of the gene pool." (Thanks to the power line crews, I shall be blogging at http://viewnorth40.wordpress. com.)


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