Years ago there was an air freshener commercial on TV, where women were walking into the home of another woman for some sort of gathering. One says in a snooty tone, “Had fish for dinner last night, Jane?”
I couldn’t help but imagine that scene when Duane told me how a conversation in his basement started with his brother-in-law Bill earlier this morning. He and Diane had invited a few friends and relatives over to watch the parades and some football on TV upstairs and to stay for lunch. I just popped in to see Duane about some personal business when he gave me this account.
Before the football games came on, Bill was loafing in an old chair downstairs, while Duane gathered up the garbage. A dark plastic wrapper fell to the floor. Bill, eagle eye that he is, blurted out, “Had MRE’s for dinner last night, Duane?”
“As a matter of fact, we did,” Duane replied. “Survival Sam and Sally came over last night for a little New Year’s Eve survival party.”
“Survival party?” Bill asked. “Not that survival stuff again. You’ll just make my headache worse if you tell me about it. I’ll bet it was a thriller.”
“Yes, it was, as a matter of fact,” Duane said. “We had it down here in the basement, since it’s a little more primitive than the rest of the house. We tried out a camping stove Sam and Sally brought over, and it worked wonderfully. The kids thought it was fun to heat a can of beans over one of those little fuel tablets Sam bought from Nitro-Pak. We opened a window for a little ventilation. Those little tablets are pretty pungent.”
“So what glorious goodies didst thou feast upon, Mr. Survival Buff?” asked Bill.
“We ate a variety of MRE’s and sampled some freeze dried food Sam got from Nitro-Pak as well,” Duane said. Sally especially liked the manicotti with vegetables. Diane and I thought the grilled chicken breast was quite good.”
“Let me guess,” Bill sneered, “I’ll bet you ate by candle light to turn this place into
“No,” Duane said, “actually, we had two fluorescent camping lanterns going. You’d be surprised how much light those things throw out.” He tossed the fallen MRE wrapper he had been holding into the garbage bag.
Bill yawned loudly and stretched, making Duane wonder how much the flimsy old chair could take under Bill’s bulk. “You’re just a party animal, dude. Plan on throwing any more of these wild and crazy shindigs?”
“Sam suggested we try doing it once a month or so to give us a chance to try new things,” said Duane.
"Sounds to me like you’re pretty familiar with this stuff already. You sound like an advertisement," said Bill. "How do you know where all this stuff came from anyway?"
"Sam told me," said Duane, "and I rang in the New Year looking things up on John’s blog where those companies have listings."
“Well, you know, Duano, Bonnie and I may have to crash your next big survival bash,” Bill said, “especially if you’re putting on the feed.”
“Oh, Sam and Sally brought everything over for this one,” said Duane. “They’re getting us introduced to different survival foods and gadgets and gizmos. We may get our own stuff one of these days.” Sam says once we have our own storage food, it’s a good idea to rotate some of it on a regular basis.”
“What do you plan on doing for an encore?” asked Bill.
“I’m not sure,” said Duane. “Sam and Sally said we’ll play it by ear the first few times. But when the weather warms up again around here, we may try out Sally’s Dutch oven over a fire outdoors.”
Bill had found a rubber ball on the floor and was tossing it from one hand to the other. “I don’t know about you guys, Duano. Next thing you know, you’ll buy one of those wind-up emergency radios I’ve heard about so you can blast out tunes and have a block party after the MRE banquet.”
“Now you’re talking,” Duane said.