*Emergency Supplies

Be Prepared“This was a terrible idea,” thought Charlotte. But out loud she sweetly said to her husband, “How quaint!”

They were hesitant to take their marriage therapist’s suggestion to get outside their comfort zone and try something new.

“Charlotte, you aren’t fond of art galleries or museums. Gary, you don’t like fashion shows or shopping. Find an activity that neither of you has done before and experience it together. Perhaps outside the city?” Dr. Zelinsky had suggested.

They’d discussed sky-diving, river rafting and sailing. But neither were very athletic although they worked out with personal trainers twice a week. A Google search for “nearby outdoor activities” led them to a listing for a gorgeous cabin in the woods just two hours away. Surprisingly, they both agreed that a weekend “roughing it” sounded like fun. They booked online, ordered groceries for delivery, and arrived right before dusk.

“Looks like the pictures on the website were taken a while ago,” Gary commented as they approached the faded red front door.

Upon entry it was obvious that it hadn’t been rented in quite a while and “rustic” was putting it mildly. Gary retrieved their luggage, while Charlotte did a quick perusal of the bedroom and bathroom.

“Gary, the lights won’t go on! It’s getting dark and cold. We should leave.”

“Trust me, Honey. I’ll figure this out.”

They had no signal so calling the owner wasn’t an option. And despite his best efforts, Gary couldn’t find an electrical panel. Back home, they’d just call the building superintendent.

The sun went down quickly and they pulled out their cellphones for light. Realizing that their food was nowhere to be seen, Charlotte searched the kitchen. In a cupboard she found a box marked “Emergency Supplies.”

“Here’s a box of candles and matches and some canned food,” she said.

“I found a pile of wood on the back porch,” Gary added.

It didn’t take long for Gary to get a fire going while Charlotte warmed up pork and beans and brewed a pot of coffee. They drug the comforters and pillows off the bed and made a nest in front of the fireplace. With warm mugs in their hands they talked about their childhoods.

She had no idea he had been a Boy Scout and had worked hard to attain the rank of Eagle. Never in his wildest dreams would he have guessed that she was a Girl Scout who spent a summer backpacking at the Grand Canyon. They lived lives of luxury now, far removed from those simple times. And they both missed camping.


“Well, how was your weekend? Did you appreciate doing something new?” Dr. Zelinsky asked, noting that they were sitting close instead of on opposing sides of the couch.

Charlotte and Gary burst out laughing. Charlotte came up for air first and responded with a shy smile.

“It wasn’t what we expected and much more than we hoped for. Let’s just say we are both “prepared” for anything as long as we’re together.”


“Be Prepared” is the motto of the Scout movement and has been used by millions of Boy and Girl Scouts around the world since 1907.

Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda February 2020 “Flash Lit” Challenge #3. We had three days to write a piece of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of 500 words or less to the theme “Emergency Supplies” and post the link in our group. 



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