Thursday, December 8, 2011


For years my mother prepared a "Winter Survival Kit" for me to carry in my car. She was worried about my driving long distances to work and becoming stranded in a snow drift. She'd seen a television report about a woman who was stranded in a snow bank and she kept the engine running, not realizing that the tail pipe was packed with snow and she died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The report suggested that people make a Winter Survival Kit by packing items into a 3-pound coffee can and the first year that's what she made. It is amazing the number of items one can pack into a coffee can. However, with each year the kit increased; after several years my kit was in a valise and eventually in a suitcase!

Among the items:

a coffee can to make a candle stove
long burning candle (a candle can add 8-10 degrees F)
a metal pan to melt snow for drinking
black plastic garbage bag (to keep warm)
snack packages
colored ribbons

Throughout the years other items were added:

flashlight, batteries
cigarette lighter
socks, hat, scarf, boots, long underwear, sweater and pants, ear muffs
sleeping bag
first aid kit
collapsible shovel
Kleenex (to use as toilet paper)
note pad and pencil
nuts, dried food, backpack meals

Each time my mother would get in the car in the winter she would lecture me: "You know you're supposed to keep it on the passenger side of the car in case you can't open the boot!" (Fayette County talk for "trunk"!) Invariably I would answer, "I knew you were going to be in the car.", to which she would respond, "Then you should have it in the back seat!"

Fortunately I never had to use the kits she so lovingly and thoughtfully prepared.


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