May 28, 2035 I am going up to the high ground of our property with my father this morning. We will probably be up there most of the day. My father wants to check for an elevated source of water for had times. We will be on horseback and be bringing a pack horse as well. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and at 6:00 o'clock we pulled out. The first part of the excursion was fairly easy, as the land is fairly flat with just a gentle rise. But it shortly got steep and woody and the going was tougher. We had to keep and eye out for rocks just on the surface of the land. The horses could slip and fall on such things and we didn't need to risk that. We got up on the highest part of our property and father stopped and got off of his horse. We sat down on a fallen tree and rested a bit from the ride.
"I have been watching this section of land for quite some time. In the cold weather there are places where smoke comes from the ground. It ain't really smoke. It is moist air that hits cooler air and condenses, looking like steam. That means an opening in the ground. Probably a cave or an access to a cave. Getting into a cave is a very nice thing in time of trouble."
"Where did you stay when the nuclear war started father? It must have been pretty exciting."
"It was exciting to the maximum degree, son. We had tunneled into the hills pretty deep but you never know until you have tried it whether or not it will save your hide. But Daniel had gotten the word to do that in the spirit and we were pretty sure it would work. And it did. That is why we are always interested in caves. It sorta goes along with our survival heritage. It bonded a lot of is together during all that time in the caves. We cut those babies in there with a special stone cutting device and those cave are still available down in the valley. The inner rooms are mainly for warehousing any more but they will become factories and hospitals and what ever in time of need. The main thing is to get areas of dryness where people won't get Arthritis. Dampness is a bad thing, son, for people to have to live in for any length of time."
"Did you have moisture in the caves you carved out of the rock in the hills? Did anyone get all crippled up? I don't remember much about the caves, though I lived in them. I was pretty young then."
"There were sections that were dry and sections that were wet. Naturally we lived in the dry sections. You lived in a dry section. We had food stores and old time survival foods. We ate a lot of jerky and pemmican. We had ground corn and some other dried foods. We also took in canned goods that we could buy at the store, although they wee getting scarce when the shit hit the fan. When the collapse came the economy was destroyed and it was hard to find people who would make canned food for the American public. We were not too popular back in those days. Our popularity was the direct result of our stupid national leadership. And the mass of people in this country were dumbed down and ignorant as hell. I couldn't stand to go to a bar and drink a beer with the idiots. As far as I was concerned they were nothing but cannon fodder. We got by with amazingly few health problems in the nuclear exchange. Our cave was dry, at least the sections we lived in. Now let's move around the face of this hill some more and see if there are any high springs. We ARE up here in a mission son."
So we mounted up and went across the face of the hill. We looked for water seepage and stuff like that. We found some interesting sites but they were not producing springs without a lot of work. But if we needed them we would have all the help we needed. We would have diggers galore and tools and all kinds of stuff necessary to open a small spring. We went back to our original resting log and started to fix lunch.
"Father, what did the world look like after the nuclear war? Was it all burnt to a crisp or what?"
"It all depended on where you were, son. We heard the big coastal cities were death traps. Radiation hot as hell. Sure death if you got too close. But down in the valley we were pretty sheltered and safe. When God told us we could go out we trusted him and never had any problems. We went right to work and planted gardens when we could and sowed fields for grazing to build up some herds and got busy making chicken coops for eggs and meat. In about a year we were doing okay again. The missiles struck in the Fall and we were out and working in the Spring. We have never turned back. We had babies coming on all the time and there was just no giving up and turning to something else. And we have prospered greatly and given thanks unto God. He has been our security and our savior. And he is flawless in his judgements. When he says "Go!" you can believe it"
"What was it like in the 90's? We hear a lot about it but nothing specific."
"The 90's was a time for the electronics industry. Bill Gates was cranking out Windows. Larry Eliason was building all kinds of switches and routers. Steve Jobs was building Apple computers. Down at Round Rock, Texas, they were building Dell computers. lead by Michael Dell. Intel was making processors that went faster and faster all the time. AMD came around to give them some competition. Amazon was started and actually made money after a while. Matt Drudge came in and revolutionized the news industry. Alta Vista was a major search engine but they were far surpassed by Google. Google became so popular their name was synonymous with web search. Then about 2001 we had the DOT COM bubble. Wall street went nuts financing all the stupid web site ideas. Stuff that would never work. The weather patterns were pretty normal as far as our memories were concerned. We had hurricanes in season and we had some cold Winters and some not so cold Winters. Summers in the Valley were the normal hot, muggy things we all remembered. The end of the 90's brought about global cooling but we didn't pay much attention. You could get a job pretty easily and people ate okay. There was change but a lot of it was below the radar to most people. A lot of manufacturing was shipped out of this country to countries on the Pacific Rim and to Mexico. But we seemed able to absorb the loses and go on. It all caught up with us when the collapse hit and we lost work like crazy. But the government was pushing the idea that we would develop a service economy and everything would be okay. But without our manufacturing base things we were NOT okay. We were getting our asses kicked in the 90's and didn't notice it. But it all became clear after 2000. America was in a bad fix, son, and didn't have the means to get out of it."
"It sounds so stupid", I said. "How can you not plant a garden but expect to eat from imported food supplies? You don't have anything to trade for the food!. It was so stupid."
"Right you are son. It was very stupid. But we had three successive stupid presidents. or at least that is the common explanation. Some folks think they were crooks and knew exactly what they were doing. I just put them down as stupid crooks and sorta go along with everyone."
"Well, father, what was the reaction to the collapse? What did the people do? How did they make it?"
"A lot of them didn't make it son. Many people were killed by riots and looters and starvation. We made it by having gardens and by hunting and fishing. We also made it by by being able to guard the gardens and the property. Folks would come right in and steal your food out of your garden back in those days and not give a damn how it hurt you. They were looking out for themselves before anyone else even was thought of. As the unrest spread across the country there was other types of crime to contend with. It got so a lot of homes and small farms were raided and all occupants killed for the food they had or might have. Anyone thought of as a prepper was raided very harshly. They were known to have weapons and thus were hit hard and fast by the gangs. The gangs had built themselves up to armed superiority by sending members to the armed forces to learn combat and what it entailed. Some of those gangs were very mean and hard to deal with. Again, we made it by means of group survival. We could post guards all over the place and have an alarm that would bring more guns very quickly. Our people learned quickly how to make out what was coming upon them. Any time we defeated a group we went to the battle field and picked up the weapons of the attackers. Generally it was just small arms of little importance and nothing special, but every now and them we would pick up a machine gun or something equally impressive. We even found a few Rifle Propelled Grenades. Those RPG's will really stir up the playing field, especially if only one side has them. There was a lot of theft in those days of the National Guard Armories. There were black market dealers of some very illegal weapons. Illegal in the sense that the old law of Washington D.C. said they were illegal. We never paid too much attention to that shit. When there are armed and trained gangs out there trying to kill you and eat your food then what does a little law violation have to do with anything."
"We stayed in our own area for over a half of a year after the collapse. But when we got the game figured out we went on the hunt. The first thing we did was go attack the gangs at their base camps. Not much of that was being done. They were very unprepared and vulnerable. The first one we hit was a total slaughter. Killed every damn one of them and took everything of value. There were 65 people in that camp. We let the coons and the possums and the buzzards clean the mess up for the world. A very organic approach to life. Hah! But we left our mark and told everyone that we were not to be messed with and the word got around and people started being afraid of us. It only took a couple more gang erasures to clean the area out. Things settled down and we went looking for food and animals and equipment. And those 'Search and Seize' missions were quite successful. It was sort of like when the Hebrews left Egypt. They were told to spoil the Egyptians. So the Hebrew women borrowed all the gold jewelry the possible could from the Egyptian women and left he country with it Yes they took it from their employers whom they had befriended, but God told them to do it. I guess that shows how much God thought of the people not in his clan. And we did the same thing. If we needed something we went and got it. We would offer to trade and if that was refused we came back and took it. And we never looked back, son."
"Father, how long did you say it took the people to get back on their feet after after the nuclear attack?"
"Well, we stayed in the caves until about six months had passed. It was Spring and we were all in a meeting and God spoke and said we could go out now and go to work. Let me tell you, we were out the next morning. Whooping and hollering and praising God. It was a wonderful feeling to get out into the fresh air and sunshine. We went to work a couple days after that and started putting in our gardens. Of course we had the seed all stored up proper and ready to go. The animals we had in sections of the cave were happy to get out in the sunlight also. We had more when we came out than when we went in. We had to build a couple new chicken houses immediately. We got in a Spring planting of grasses in our pastures and it was no time at all until the beasts were out eating forage instead of hay and ground grain. But we had a foot hold on meat production and eggs and milk. We had to shear the sheep quickly because they had become pretty wooly in the cave. But it made fine clothes and blankets and trade goods. We were happy as could be."
TO BE CONTINUED