Monday, March 16, 2020

Do you need perspective during these hard times?

Do you need perspective on how to live during hard times? 
Try The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

We Americans are pampered and spoiled and are not accustomed to waiting in long lines to get basic necessities, such as food, daily supplies, or medicine. We are definitely not used to seeing empty shelves. The last controlled situation or shortage I remember in my lifetime was when I was 8 or 9, back in the 70s, when my parents could only get gas on specified days. But I've never had to deal with this...







Over the weekend my family was in Arizona to attend a Spring Training Dodger game on Saturday -- which was suspended beginning Friday by Major League Baseball for two weeks --  but we went anyway because we had plans to meet up with long lost friends.

The week before we left for Arizona, I had heard about the run on grocery stores for items like toilet paper and water, and I told my husband I didn't want to stand in line for toilet paper; so we chose not to go shopping that week, and subsisted on whatever we had already at home.

We had left our pantry and refrigerator bare while we were on our trip, and considered while we were in Arizona to see if conditions were better as we searched for some items we did need; but even there, the shelves were bare.

When we arrived home on Sunday afternoon, we knew we needed to just brave it and go to Costco and Winco, where we normally shop. The stores had crowd control systems in place, which worked efficiently. They were totally out of chicken, so we got steak instead. And my patient husband stood in line for newly arrived toilet paper and grabbed some coconut milk, while I got the frozen fruit for smoothies. We can live on fruit smoothies for awhile, I imagine. Unfortunately, they were out of dish soap and didn't have the laundry detergent I wanted.

We thought we could get those things at Winco, but as you can see from the pictures above, Winco was in a worse predicament than Costco, and they were out of mostly everything. Instead of frozen chicken, I had to buy a cooked whole chicken. Instead of sliced bread, we bought frozen rolls. Instead of grape jelly, we had to buy blackberry jam, (which my son said was actually good). I'm definitely bummed about not having a banana every day. 

Since the store was out of soap, I bought dish soap and laundry detergent online, and thank God I found something available via Amazon because most everything was unavailable, though I think my items are not expected until April. Although we use laundry berries to wash most of our clothes, I like to use the detergent for towels and sheets and other things I want to be disinfected. So we aren't totally out of a soap option because we have plenty of berries left.


So...while I was bagging my anemic shopping results, I worried..."How am I going to feed my family this week?"

And that is when I thought about the Ingalls family during the Long Winter. They did it for months. They lived on brown bread and potatoes. (Which reminded me, there were no potatoes either!)

"We can do this," I encouraged myself. We are far better off than the Ingalls during the Long Winter. I will be resourceful and creative. And we will talk to the kids (for the millionth time) about being conservative with their servings and portions. We need to make our food and supplies stretch because I refuse to hoard or panic in fear like so many others.

In fact, God will provide. Immediately I got ideas like how to make my own disinfecting wipes, since we are out of Clorox wipes and they are not available online or at the store. I still have a few packages of baby wipes left and I have hydrogen peroxide that I can use to wipe down surfaces if I need to. See? Simple enough!

I really think it is probably time to reread The Long Winter...again! If you need perspective on how to live during hard times, how to be resourceful, how to be neighborly, and how to be encouraged and strengthened by God's provisions and timing, then this is the book to read.


Jean said...

Wow! We have not yet experienced anything like that. My thinking is the same as yours, however -- we have so much to work with. Knowing some history is very helpful in giving a big of perspective, I think.

I was just saying to my 16yo yesterday that someday she can be like the pioneer grandma...instead of "let me tell you about the blizzard of 1882," it will be "let me tell you about the quarantine of 2020!" My poor kid, only 16 and has already had fire, flood, and plague.

Ruth said...

She sounds like she has had lots of lessons on preparedness and patience and courage. It can only make her stronger and wiser.

Speaking of weird husband told me Saturday it was kind of exciting, like pioneer days, when Pa (Charles Ingalls) had to find ways to provide for his family. (He would find adventure in chaos.)

Jillian said...

Ruth, I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday. I actually said to Mom, "This must be how the Ingalls family felt." :)

(Our shelves look the same here. NO TOILET PAPER ANYWHERE.)

Ruth said...

JILLIAN: Yes, we are in good company. It's hard to swallow, but we really are blessed everywhere. We just don't know it until we are challenged. Time to be resourceful and help those you cannot help themselves, too. P.S. When my husband and I went out yesterday, we did not think we would be able to get toilet paper. We counted what we had at home and figured we could make it stretch for a little while longer. Even the employees warned before we got into the store that there was no paper goods, if anyone was coming just for that reason. But while we shopped, they put out a new shipment, and my husband got in line. That's God's timing. ; )

Jillian said...

God's timing is awesome. x

Marian H said...

Ruth, I'm glad to hear your family is hanging in there!! Here in WA the situation is about the same, empty shelves, no bananas. :( There's also bans put in place by the governor. Restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, hair salons, etc have to close by midnight tonight, till the end of March (best case scenario). There's going to be restrictions on how many people can be in retail stores at a time. I think we're pretty well set for 2-3 weeks, but it is a bit disconcerting nonetheless.

Carol said...

Goodness! We’re short on long life stuff eg pasta, rice, flour but there’s plenty of fresh food such as fruit & veges & meat. I had to hunt around for some flour today & ended up in the health food bulk place, paying about 4 times as much than I would in the supermarket. From what I remember of the Long Winter there were some people who behaved pretty selfishly and others who were more community minded. I feel like its every man for himself a bit here.

Ruth said...

MARIAN: Yeah, we just got word yesterday that many entities are shutting down for two kids' dance studio, my son's piano, my gym, all schools in the area, City offices are closed to public, though nothing yet on restaurants, theaters, the mall...but I may have not heard, yet. It's very disconcerting, however, I think it is a good idea if most of us can just self quarantine and then reassess to see if we have slowed down those confirmed infected. I think most people are being proactive and doing the right thing. So we'll see how these next two weeks go...

Ruth said...

CAROL: Yesterday we heard from friends in our area that other stores had produce, and my husband and I figured that it must be the clientele that shop at Winco. They tend to be really selfish! It's sad. So you are right about how some people respond to will bring out the best in some, where others will be selfish and arrogant. We will see that in our society today.

Sharon Wilfong said...

I may have told you my son lives in China and we don't know when he'll be able to leave.

Although interestingly, he doesn't want to. And they have plenty of toilet paper in their stores there, so go figure.

It's tough, but we'll get through this. Just another reminder that God is in control!

Stephen said...

From what I've heard, there's no real problem with the supply lines -- people are just panicking and buying in bulk. :-/

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

The Long Winter sounds like an excellent recommendation for these times. Our store had everything we needed except paper products and soap. I was most happy about finding fresh fruits and vegetables.

You are right: none of this is in our control. I'm trying to focus on other things, especially soothing books.

bermudaonion said...

Our grocery stores have been busy but, for the most part, well stocked. I've decided we'll have groceries delivered when we start to run low. Stay safe!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I found a copy of The Long Winter at my library's Overdrive. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am reading it now. It puts our lives in perspective.

stacybuckeye said...

It's crazy what's happening at the grocery stores. I haven't been in two weeks but need to go tomorrow. I'm not optimistic.

Ruth said...

SHARON: What part of China is your son? And interesting that he wants to stay. Does he mention if it has calmed down? I mean, that the curve has flattened out?

STEPHEN: Yep, people have created this chaos. We don't have a food shortage, but they panicked and that caused a tidal wave! So frustrating.

DEB: How awesome that you found a copy available to read. Hope you enjoy it. I visited a different store this week and found plenty of fresh produce. It was a relief.

BERMUDAONION: Glad to hear you guys are well supplied. Thanks. You, too!

STACY: I did that too -- stayed away for two weeks; and it seems like every day there is a steady stream of's not letting up! Good luck!