The heaven of hibernation and hunkering

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Our recent rounds of awful winter weather were celebrated as unique, even when we live in Nebraska.

So when the word was spreading how we were all pretty much going to be buried in snow and paralyzed with wind chills, wasn’t it almost kind of fun to prepare for hibernation and hunkering?

Granted, many people didn’t get the luxury of staying home, such as those moving snow, tow companies, livestock producers, firefighters, first responders, law enforcement officers, medical personnel and many more.

But with our world literally coming to stop, there was the blessed opportunity to not worry about our typical day-to-day operations. All we had to do was transition into “survival mode.”

I say “survival” with a smile on my face because a lot of us “snow preppers” act the same.

Sure, we are careful to have extra water and candles just in case the power goes out.

But have you ever noticed in the grocery store what items seem to be moving the fastest in the hours before a pending blizzard?

I went to a number of local businesses before the first awful storm, to see what the trends were. That’s when I saw what the majority of people were buying in order to stay alive during Snowmageddon: bread, milk, hamburger, Doritos, Kraft macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, sour cream, frozen pizza, powdered Ranch dressing mixes, Cheetos, jars of nacho cheese, candy bars, entertainment magazines, Busch Light, Marlboro Lights, Captain Morgan, tequila and Moscato.

Yes, I thought, these are the essentials to keep up our strength while the frigid wind blasts against our windows and the streets pile with blinding snow.

For my house, I had a few particular extra essentials: a whole chicken, a bag of potatoes, tomato soup, a bottle of vinegar and two cucumbers.

This is because the vital lunch on a blizzard day is, of course, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Without this combination, we would surely be doomed.

You can’t survive an arctic blast, in seclusion, without fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, with the summer’s sweet corn and cucumbers/onions/vinegar salad over top the whole plate, for supper. That’s just the way it is. It should be written into law.

I understand the appetites being amped up by people working in those awful conditions – but why is it that the rest of us, in the luxury of heated buildings, feel the need to eat so much when it is snowing like that? I guess it’s a hibernation gene.

And why do we suddenly think we will need a month’s worth of toilet paper and booze when we will probably only be stalled out for a day or so? I highly doubt the drop in temperature will rile up our digestive systems and drinking a week’s worth of beer will probably not make the birds chirp sooner. It’s maybe the fear of being without. Maybe it’s bomb shelter mentality. It must be the tendency that comes with hunkering down.

So the snow flew and when I could no longer see the houses across the street, I sighed and hoped everyone was safe. There was nothing left to do but eat chicken and cucumbers while the husband thawed out, make a castle out of the case of toilet paper rolls, watch “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” write columns for this website, clean out cupboards, do press releases for the county, keep the chicken water from freezing, keep the wood burning in the stove and try to find ways to keep the dog from losing his mind.

Some of it wasn’t fun but there was still a semblance of the heaven in hibernation and hunkering.


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