Wednesday, June 21, 2017

It's Bad Only if Jenny's Fried Chicken is Closed - column, 21 June 2017

Lawrence Hall, HSG

It’s Bad Only if Jenny’s Fried Chicken is Closed

Let us remember the seven categories of storms during hurricane season:

1. Tropical storm
2. Category 1 hurricane
3. Category 2 hurricane
4. Category 3 hurricane
5. Category 4 hurricane
6. Category 5 hurricane
7. Category Mr. Frank has to close Jenny’s Fried Chicken

Some decades ago a Galveston television reporter interviewed a young mother who after a lesser storm complained that she had no food and no milk for her baby. “THEY should have been better prepared for this!” she exclaimed angrily.

Let no one resort to stereotyping with the useless pejoratives of “millennials” or “snowflakes,” for in illo tempore everything wrong in the world was the fault of “baby boomers,” and the fantasy of global warming hadn’t yet been dreamed up.

And as for keeping food, diapers, canned milk, clean clothes, a pocket knife, a gas grill (for use OUTSIDE) or at least a nifty little Sterno stove (for use OUTSIDE), that is not a matter of hurricane preparation; that is a matter of good household management in every generation.

The loud a.m. radio boys advertise disaster food stores capable of feeding that famous Family of Four for a month after nuclear annihilation and / or the collapse of the Euro, and the non-panicky can only ask why. Isn’t the household well-stocked anyway?

At this point someone will bring up “the good old days when…” but it’s not about those days that really weren’t all that good. All thoughtful householders have, well, things – things like food, water, clean clothes, alternative ways of cooking, lots of paper plates and plastic utensils, flashlights, battery radios, jugs of drinking water, and a good, sturdy, American-made pocket knife.

About the only special hurricane preparation anyone should need to make are some buckets of water standing by for flushing the toilets.

A useful addition to home preparedness is a portable car battery charger, essentially a car battery residing in an attractive plastic shell and with a handle for carrying. Jumper cables are stowed on either side of the gadget. Instead of trying to maneuver cars and connect their batteries via 20-foot cables, you simply place the battery charger on a fender or other support and charge from that.

But, wait – there’s more! The more expensive battery chargers also contain an air pump and hose for inflating a tire, cigarette-lighter sockets, ports for charging MePhones and other electronic gadgets, a 110-volt outlet, and a built-in flashlight. These take a charge, good for months, from a household outlet. Always follow instructions.

No, you can’t run an air-conditioner from a portable battery charger, but you can operate a fan and a reading lamp.

If you have a fan and a can of Spam and a light for reading, you’ll get through the night just fine, while the prodigal fanless and Spam-less gnash their uncharged MePhones in the outer darkness. In the morning Jasper-Newton Electric will have the power restored, and as Vera Lynn did not sing, there’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover and the sun will shine again as Mr. Frank and his merry band re-open Jenny’s Fried Chicken.


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