Part of storm kit ready

By Steve Estes

Strictly Drivel

This week marks the beginning of another hurricane season.

And I am not so different from many in these parts.

Because it’s been more than eight years since last we felt the wrath of a major storm (many of us remember Wilma in 2005) we have gotten kind of lax on making major preparations for the storm season that has burst upon us.

I for one am only solo generator at the moment. We had two, one that we used for the office so we could stay operational and one for the house so we could keep the refrigerator running, a few lights, and one air conditioner to avoid the really sticky heat that follows a hurricane around here.

But after eight years of no use, the generators crapped out on me. I would start them every season, but then get busy and not pay attention to them the rest of the year. They paid me back for my lack of attention by breaking.

So we scoured the bargain sites and stores for generators, finally finding a good deal on an off-brand that will run the house effectively. But that means loading into the back of the Jeep and operating from there with the hatch open to prevent asphyxiation so that we can transport to the house during the day when air conditioning is a priority and to the office at night when I will do all my work. If you see me running up and down the roads after a storm with electrical cords hanging out the back…I’m not a local terrorist. I just forgot to shut the hatch properly. Honk at me, or wave at me, with all your fingers please.

My battery basket has been sorely depleted with the C and D batteries needed to power flashlights, and my flashlight stock itself has taken a major hit from three young male grandchildren who are fascinated by the beam and usually grab one while I’m not looking from the top shelf in the cabinet (I think they get some help from a cute redhead in the house) and leave it switched on for hours on end.

Or they just break it or lose it—either way, I’m dreadfully short of flashlights.

Our stock of candles has dwindled away as well. We use them for all the miniature power outages we have so we can see to walk around the house.

So now my list is three things long, and I’m sure will grow as I look into the various hidey holes I have for other supplies.

But there is one staple of my hurricane kit that is well stocked at the moment.

My bourbon.

A friend of mine, Roland, and I have been good-naturedly bantering back and forth for the last few years on the necessity to maintain a ready stock of strong alcohol during storm season.

I believe that bourbon is the ticket, probably because I like to drink it more than other hard liquors.

Bourbon can help you start a grill if need be. Bourbon can help you treat a battle wound from wrestling with that recalcitrant tree limb in the yard. Bourbon can help you keep the dogs asleep in the middle of the night as the wind howls (just kidding).

Roland, however, believes that gin is the necessary ingredient to a hurricane survival kit. He has some good reasons for his views, the best of which is that gin helps you drain your stock of fresh fruits before they spoil in the heat by serving as mixers.

I’ve never tried bourbon with lemons or oranges or pineapples or Key Limes for what I think are obvious reasons.

Roland assures me all those things help gin go down the gullet in pleasurable fashion.

But I continue to insist that bourbon is the way to go, and that’s my story that I’m sticking to.

My bourbon stock had steadily run down over the last few years. I’m usually too cheap to buy it for myself, so I rely on the kindness of friends and neighbors during holidays and birthdays to replenish my stock.

Though I may very much like imbibing bourbon, it doesn’t take much for me to forget why I have it on hand in the first place. Guess I’m just a lightweight.

This was a particularly good year for bourbon replenishment.

That is one area of my hurricane survival kit which is in very good shape going into the new season.

See I have a bottle in the top cabinet in the kitchen where it can be easily reached for first-aid purposes.

I have a bottle in the shed for cleansing wounds caused by wrestling trees. It also serves as a secondary fire starter for the pit out back or the grill if it’s being difficult.

I have a bottle in the hot tub enclosure so that when I’m sitting in the warm water watching the storm blow past, I have a friend with whom I can commiserate.

Bourbon solves many problems.

Now just because I seem to have the bourbon issue solved for this year, that doesn’t in any way imply that I have everything needed.

So if anyone has a spare bottle lying around, and they believe as Roland does that gin is a much better survival kit piece than bourbon, give me a call.

You can never have too much of a good thing.

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