Thursday, 24 July 2014


No one alerted me forty-five years ago when I married Jim - not his parents, not his siblings, not his friends. No warnings were ever forthcoming.

My first concrete evidence surfaced just after Jim and I were married when we packed our little navy Volkswagon beetle, Bluebell, for a camping trip to the Maritimes and American east coast. Floor to ceiling, window to window in the rear seat was packed with compressed camping gear.  The rear view mirror provided no view out the back window, merely a reflection of tarps, shovels, lanterns, gear, gear and more gear. Seats pushed forward to create extra room for camping equipment, sentenced driver and passenger (Ouch! That would be us.) to a "loooong" journey of cramped legs.  I swear even to this day that the sides of our little blue auto bulged out with the pressure. Clothing, of course, was relegated to the teeny-tiny front trunk.

Upon first seeing our trip-ready car, my lifted eyebrows and astonished facial expression were met defensively with, We have to be prepared. And therein lies the crux of the matter.  In his youth, my lovely husband didn't simply adopt the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared, he was brainwashed with it.

Drummondville, Quebec was our first stop. Jim erected our little tent while I set up the picnic table with my cute colourful plastic tablecloth, artistically placed lanterns, Coleman stove and most importantly, wine glasses.  Wine glasses - now that's what personally call being prepared.  Like a puppy dog anticipating a walk, I  excitedly suggested an exploratory hike.  Alas, no hike yet for our Boy Scout.  Now it was time to dig a trench around our tent.  We need to what? I whined, but dig a trench we did.  We must be prepared, you know!

That night, our very first night of camping, the Drummondville area suffered torrential rains.  You knew that was coming, didn't you?  God, I think, was trying to make a point. Suffice to say, Jim and I were dry and snug as bugs in our "trenched" tent.  The following morning, as I emerged  to a puddled, rain ravaged and drenched campground, I learned to fully appreciate the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared!

Over the years, my Boy Scout has continued to be prepared.  Our sailboat boasted two, if not three, of everything - tools, flares, sail repair kits, safety harnesses......the list was endless.  Batteries?  What kind?  Our home is plentifully supplied with every type imaginable.  Christmas light bulbs?  What colour do you need? Candles? Flashlights?  Battery operated radios?  Weather warning systems?  Bottled water? We have it all!  Ah, now do you understand my brainwashing theory?

As well supplied as we are, this past winter's ice storm rocked my Boy Scout to the very heart of his prepared core.  Although Uxbridge's lights remained on, the realization hit Jim that he had not prepared us (heaven forbid!) for a loss of electricity over an extended period.  This cannot be!  And so my beloved Boy Scout took immediate action.  What ensued were months of research, product analysis, comparative shopping and electrical supply experimentation.  If I have to reset our digital clocks one more time......well, I won't go there.  At the side of our home, hooked into our hydro supply now sits a giant generator with enough capacity to power our home in the event of another devastating ice storm or 2003-style blackout. Jim can now breathe a sigh of relief; we are prepared.

I do love my Boy Scout and it can never be said that my Be Prepared life with him is dull.  I do have one urgent request of you, though - please do not mention recent damaging tornado activity in Southern Ontario.  I hesitate to imagine what Boy Scout Be Prepared reaction that discussion could potentially unleash!

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