Hurricane? Quick, get the milk and bread!

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By Larry Rowell

There’s one thing I’ve never understood about living in the South. When a crisis like a hurricane or snow storm looms, what’s the first thing we do? Pray? No. Run to the root cellar or basement? Nope.

We run to the grocery store to buy bread and milk.

I read the following on MSNBC.com talking about people’s reaction to Hurricane Ike’s sending gas prices to nearly $5 a gallon in Knoxville Saturday.

“In Knoxville, Tenn., account executive Sharon Cawood said ‘one of our local gasoline chains called a local TV station Thursday, sometime during the day and said, ‘We’re running out of gas. We’re going up 80 cents a gallon...’ It caused a major scare.

“By the time it hit the 6 and 11 o’clock news, it was like snow was falling and milk and bread were flying off the shelves.”

Why do we do this? I suspect it’s something left over from baby boomer’s childhoods where our mothers taught us never to leave the house wearing dirty underwear “because you may be in an accident,” or never to run with anything sharp as “you’ll put an eye out when you fall.”

Thus, some mother somewhere said: “When a disaster is within 500 miles, buy bread and milk!”

Frankly, I don’t know many people in their 50s or younger who use milk for much more than drinking or pouring on cereal.

My mother’s generation used milk for a whole lot more than that.

They made biscuits and homemade desserts from scratch on a daily basis.

Most folks today buy frozen or canned biscuits that they whop on the side of the counter to open.

Now, the majority of us have at least a month’s supply of canned goods and other non-perishable items that we could live on if a real disaster hit.

And that begs another question? What constitutes a “real disaster”? Why purchase bread and milk just because gas goes to $5 a gallon?

Have you priced milk and bread lately? There’s a real crisis! Recently, I paid $2.79 for a loaf of white bread, the kind that we ate everyday as kids. And milk cost almost as much as a gallon of gas.

I propose that in the event a crisis threatens, make a batch of biscuits using one of Mama’s recipes that called for lard and whole milk. Can’t you just taste those biscuits hot from the oven spread with butter and homemade mayhaw jelly? And a big glass of ice-cold milk to wash down about six of them biscuits?

We had better start practicing for the next crisis. I’ll see you at the grocery store.

Larry Rowell is a guest columnist from The Casey County News in Liberty, Ky.