OFF THE CUFF

This installment of the column I’ve been writing on a consistent basis for about 10 years doesn’t come from an “I told you so” standpoint.

On the contrary, it’s presented with a sincere hope that a few minds might be opened and hearts softened.

Way back in November 2011, I wrote about how there was a feeling growing and spreading amongst numerous Americans that something big was going to happen that was way out of the ordinary and would result in wide-ranging hardship and difficulty. People sharing that feeling didn’t know what that “something” was, but they collectively felt it coming and knew it wouldn’t be good.

Now we know.

Not everyone had that feeling back then. Some, I guess, were more or less encased in a cocoon of false security and figured, “heck, we’ll just elect the right person and they’ll make sure the government fixes everything,” or “there really isn’t anything to worry about that technology can’t overcome.”

But the reality is, that’s not how it works in a world created and overseen by a completely sovereign entity we call God. What happens over a period of a billion years or the next 10 seconds isn’t based on human whim, but rather God’s will.

There’s no disputing that. Just look at all of human history. Never have things gone 100-percent “as planned,” because our plans don’t really don’t amount to squat. Only His do.

Anyway, here’s a condensed version of what I wrote in late 2011. Some portions have been omitted (for a lack of relevancy), but none of what’s included has been changed.

The piece was titled, “Preparedness and what’s coming.”

Working recently with Craig Wiles (founder and owner of Preferred Energy in Wright County, a firm that installs solar power systems in homes and businesses around the Ozarks) was a definite pleasure for me.

Not only because Wiles is an expert in the alternative energy field and I got to put together a cool story about yet another out-of-the ordinary circumstance in the amazingly diverse piece of the American Midwest that is Texas County, but also because I found him to be a deep-thinking, philosophical man with loads of wisdom regarding the misguided ways of the world and where it’s all leading.

In conversing with him, one can tell that Wiles truly believes in what he’s doing and that he’s not just helping people sign up for an “alternative” to anything, but rather getting on board with the “preferred” form of energy.

But he also loves to talk about his world view, and what he refers to as “preparedness” and “what’s coming.”

Now, I find guys like Harold “Multiple Doomsdays” Camping to be little more than crackpot buffoons who tarnish the name of the Lord God Almighty. It’s easy to claim some cataclysmic event is going to take place on such-and-such a date and build a big case around the claim. But that kind of baloney has been going on for centuries and I think it’s more about attention, fame and greed than reality.

But I had no trouble relating to what Wiles was getting at, because like many people these days, I have a feeling something is going to happen. I don’t know exactly what, and I’m not sure when, but it’s something not so good and it may not be long.

I can’t really put a finger on it, but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s still some big-time stuff in the offing before we realize just what “the new normal” looks like.

I’m not so sure we’ll be all be driving teams pulling buckboard wagons, washing clothes by hand in the creek and eating lots of squirrel and walnuts, but I’m also not so sure we’ll be ordering as many mochas from Starbucks, driving as many gas-guzzling SUVs, or planning as many cruises to remote tropical islands.

We’ll see.

So what do we do to get ready for “what’s coming?” Like the old Boy Scouts of America motto states, “be prepared.”

Wiles recalls how his grandmother always had rows and rows of canned food stored in the basement. One time he made the comment to her, “looks like you’re stocking up.”

She replied, “What, stocking up? This is just normal.”

Back then it was.

“A hundred years ago we called all this stuff common sense,” Wiles said. “Now we think those people are extremists.”

The average supermarket has about three days worth of food on the shelves. That’s not much if “what’s coming” makes it such that those shelves won’t – or can’t – be restocked.

Even though she was just being “normal,” maybe grandma Wiles was onto something. And maybe now is a good time to make some preparations.

Could be the time is right to put up and outhouse in the yard and stock up on .22 shells.

Could be that now is the time to learn how to hunt and fish.

Could be a good time to buy a few extra cans of beans and bags of rice.

Might even be a good idea to put up a few solar panels.

Like I said, we’ll see.

Since it’s apparent that the COVID-19 pandemic is that thing many people have long felt was approaching, and we have no choice but to deal with it, it’s interesting as heck that we really don’t know how. But then, how can a person “be prepared” for something that literally affects everyone, everywhere in so many ways?

So here we are, and like everyone else, I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m pretty sure it will differ in a lot of ways from what we’ve all become accustomed to. I think it’s safe to say there truly is going to be a “new normal” and it’s not going to fully resemble the old.

But while we may not know what exactly comes next, I do know this: God does. It’s His deal from beginning to end.

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald.

Email: ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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