I’ll never forget the moment as long as I live. I’m with my buddy hunkered down around the corner of a building. Looking briefly at each other and then back to the scene of such unbelievable carnage, we both knew this might be it for both of us. It was now or never and the situation was getting more unstable by the minute. Our final opportunity was at hand, so after a deep breath a fist bump and a nod we rounded the corner quickly and made our way….into the grocery store.
Kris originally from Maine was a haggard veteran of many of these campaigns. He was raised in a small town by parents who knew how to hit a grocery store before a big storm. Kris has a take no prisoner attitude and a keen eye for weakness. I saw this first hand in the famous Halloween Eve Storm of 2012. He sent an elderly woman down the bread aisle as the tempest raged because he had heard “rumors of fresh bottled water and batteries down there.” That sick son of a bitch, I think I even saw him smile a little bit.
I myself was no slouch at this as I had my first taste of grocery store battle during the “Blizzard of 78.” That was back when storms didn’t have names, they had numbers. We hit the store running on February 5th 1978… I became a man that day. Nobody suspected a boy of 10 yrs could Indian leg wrestle so well. What can I say, the man was elderly and the prize was a box of Slim Jims. I needed those Slim Jims because it snowed for nearly three days and we got almost 40 inches of snow! (To the Europeans that’s nearly 100cm of snow…I’m not sure what 3 days is in metric terms)
We were shocked by what we saw when we breached the entrance. “There are still carts!” Realizing our fortune; we grabbed the last two carts and made our way into the store. In past conflicts such as this, carts were nowhere to be seen and we were left to our own devices. Thankfully the good and kind “Remember Your Reusable Bags” brigade had spared us these luxuries. On our way in we saw some casualties who were making their way out, with looks etched into their faces that told of the many horrors they had witnessed.
“I’m going for butter!” Kris shouted. I think it was nerves, deep down he knew there would be no butter but I had his back and we made our way into the scrum. I saw people coming back out with big tubs of yogurt spread and vegetable spread and knew if we didn’t turn back now, all would be lost. “Forget the butter!” I shouted as I pulled him out of the crowd by his jacket. “But I…” he protested. “It’s a trap” I insisted.
Sure I’d seen it a hundred times… Husband or wife goes ahead while they sacrifice their better half to muddle around the butter and egg section as a delaying action, in hopes that they might make it to the milk. Sadly this was an amateur tactic and everybody knew the milk had been cleaned out some hours ago by the soccer moms after dropping their little angels off at school. There was only sadness left in the milk section, sadness and vanilla soy milk.
Kris and I regrouped, and knew what we had to do to recover from this hiccup in our operation. Cured meats would be the answer. Hot dogs, kielbasa, smoked sausages, bacon, dried sausages were all that was truly needed. Think about it, most of these products have so many preservatives in them that they’ll outlast cockroaches, and it doesn’t hurt that they taste good. Let’s face it, if you’re living in New England and don’t have a goodly amount of rice, pasta and staple canned goods in your pantry you deserve to be going down the bread and water aisle.
When checking out grab lots of candy bars because they’re good for quick energy. Remember, you’ll need that energy for your trips to the fridge and cupboards for beer, snacks and yelling at the plow guy for knocking over your mailbox. Then you’ve got hours worth of Storm coverage, an 80’s movie marathon, and the tedium of putting up with your loved ones in the same room playing Yahtzee for two days. Don’t underrate snacks, it’s amazing what a Zero Bar will do for moral when your wife has shown you home decorating ideas for 5 hours straight. (Casualty of The Blizzard of 93, but the Zero Bar was excellent)
So Kris and I got out fine people… we’re survivors, that’s what we do. Some aren’t so lucky and will get hung up on bread that sucks to begin with, milk that will spoil and water you have a faucet and bathtub full of. (Bathtub water to flush the toilet…THINK PEOPLE!) As for the batteries…well it depends. Are they for your kid’s toys, or your wife’s? Good luck with winter storm Nemo people, you’re gonna need it.