Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapter 4: Childhood Memories

'Memories of the Past Hundred Years'
July 8, 2059

"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck." Proverbs 1: 8-9

"Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

I spent my childhood on a small diversified farm of 1120 acres. We had about 30 Hereford beef cows and a bull, 3 or 4 Holstein milk cows, 5 or 6 sows and their litters of baby pigs, about 50 laying hens, our faithful dog, Shep and a few bottle lambs for us kids to raise. We also had about 50 butchering chickens, a large garden and a few big, old apple trees that my Grandparents planted. The farm also raised wheat as a cash crop and on most years, raised enough oats, barley and hay to feed all the animals. We produced about 80% of all the food we ate on the farm and ate like Kings!! My Dad told stories about growing up during the Great Depression. He said that his family never had any money but always had enough food to eat!!

The farmstead was located on a large, bowl shaped valley surrounded by hills at the head of a small 'crick' which lead off to the north. The crick was very deep and narrow, flanked by towering slopes and bigger hills. I can distinctly remember my childhood by how far we children explored the valley. By the time I was six, we made it around the bend to a large clump of American Elm trees. What was way cool about this clump was that on trunk was growing straight out and about 4 feet off the ground. That was sure a great tree to climb for us little kids. By the time I was ten, we made it a half mile down the crick to the stock dam. After that, our range of exploration exploded for miles into the magical kingdom of the 'badlands' to our east!!!

Life on the farm centered around 'faith, farming, family and community!' Maybe not in that order of importance. There were times that the demands of the farm seemed to take a higher priority than family--but that's another story.

Community life centered around the local community church and the small country school. The country school also functioned as the community center for dances, pot-luck meals followed by card games, a gathering place for local deer hunters on weekends and any other social event that the community could think up. The local country church was also the center for the community to gather each Sunday morning, each holiday, wedding, funeral, confirmation, Bible study and more. These shared beliefs, values, gatherings and also sharing the huge amounts of physical work required to keep the farms productive on these harsh and unforgiving prairies contributed to family and community bonds that all but disappeared with the--so called--'advancements' of modern society. These shared values and community bonds had to be quickly re-invented during the Dark Years just for people to stay alive. Those people that attempted to survive as isolated individuals or families, inevitably didn't make it.

As I wrote earlier, I was born and raised in a German-Russian farming community out on the windswept prairies of southwestern North Dakota. I was born into a large, extended family that lived close together up and down a small gravel road. Life was dictated by the cycles and seasons of the farmwork which was made easier and more enjoyable by the close bonds my Dad had with his two older brothers and one sister. This extended family of siblings helped each other with many of the larger farming tasks. The brothers especially, worked together for most of the fieldwork such as planting, putting up hay and harvest. The bought many of the large pieces of farm machinery in partnership which greatly reduced the costs of managing a farm. My Dad also worked with other relatives on putting up corn silage.

Butchering and processing beef and pork, building and remodelling projects, the proverbial community gatherings for 'barn raising', now pole and sheet metal buildings and lesser projects that required an additional one or two sets of hands, brought differing individuals and small groups to each others' farms to 'help out'.

Individuals within the community developed specialized skills within the overall context of diversified farms. My Dad was the local, community, 'unlicensed' electrician. My cousins Clarence and Donald where 'master' welders and metal fabricators but they weren't certified either. My Uncle Hank was a very good carpenter. Others were shirttail vets, farriers, mechanics, plumbers you name it. Rarely, was a tradesperson called in from outside the community during my early years of life. Of course, the occasional 'quick trip to town' for spare parts was demanded but onlly after much time and effort was expended attempting to fix it ourselves. That all slowly changed with the coming of the telephone and the improvements to the roads and vehicles.

Chapter 4 to be continued!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chapter 3: continued, part 3

"Memories of the Past Hundred Years"
June 28, 2059

Revelation 18:4-7 "...Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. ... Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself..."

It's another beautiful, sunny day--just another GREAT day to be alive! But of course, I say that every morning that I wake up and find that I am still alive! The gardens are doing so well! My 'kids'--I call everyone that is younger than me 'my kids'---are doing so great learning, caring and loving the young plants that promise continued life to all of us here on the farm!

CHRISTIAN AGRARIANS: Many people have written complex definitions of this term but I define it simply as "devote Christians who choose to live a life closely connected to God's Creation."

I consider my 'Germans from Russia' ancestors to be early 'Christian Agrarians'. Life today, fifty years after the 'Great Crash' has a strong resemblence to how my German ancestors organized their lives on the barron steppes of South Russia. FAITH, FAMILY & COMMUNITY was the basis for every aspect of their lives, how they lived and worked together, how they organized their communities, how they treated each other, how they addressed personal and social problems, their political and court systems, their economy and commerce between communities. Everything in their lives was based on the morality and ethics expressed in the 'HOLY BIBLE'. Love for God was expressed by their love for others! It was a simple code that didn't need huge volumes of written laws and codes.

Most people from the time before the Great Crash considered Christian Agrarians to be organized groups like the Amish, the Hutterites, the Mennonites etc. that organized themselves in communities separate from the mainstream society. But that preception left out a large and diverse range of peoples from every denomination, race and economic background. These people chose to leave mainstream society for moral and religous reasons to find life and spiritual inspiration working the soil and living close to God's Creation.

Christian Agrarians are--at least by my understanding---such a broad and diverce group as to defy simple descriptions. They sure don't fit into neat catagories. Many but not all, chose to leave mainstream society because of the preceived immorality of the culture around them. Many but not all, chose to leave because of the preceived dangers that were building in our country, the economy and world events. Many chose to ignor the bright lights and temptations of the city and have lived in the country for generations. Many were survivalists, preppers, doomers etc. that found a spiritual path for guidence just by living next to other Christian Agrarians.

These individuals, families and small groups lived isolated from each other and for the most part, felt very alone in the sea of the dominant, materialistic culture. But then came the Internet. Thru the 'magic' of this technology, people were able to communicate at the speed of light from their own homes even if they lived "out in the middle of nowhere". The internet allowed people to 'connect' with others who had similar interests from all over the country and from around the world. 'Blogging'--writing and posting a personal diary of thoughts, activities, information and interests--on the Internet became a unifying force for manyChristian Agrarians.

Many Christian Agrarians shared similar traits but there again, there was great diversity within this group of people. These traits included homeschooling, homebirths, home churches, alternatives in health care including herbal and nutritional healing, large, closeknit and loving families, community networking, strong agrarian principles of self-sufficiency and mutual support which included growing, producing and preserving much of their own food, building and repairing much of what was needed for daily life and the willingness to share these skills and resources with anyone that was interested unlike survivalists and preppers who tended towards keeping their preps secret and keeping to themselves.

Unlike the preppers and survivalists, Christian Agrarians lived a productive farming life on a daily basis. When the Great Crash came, they were already knowledgable and prepared for living without the dominant society's luxuries.

These shared traits of 'love for others', family and community building, networking with others and a sincere sense of 'purpose in this world', made these Christian Agrarian families and groups 'bright, shining lights' during those horrible 'DARK YEARS'!

These Christian Agrarians played a pivotal role in saving unnummerable lives during the DARK YEARS by sharing their food and more importantly, 'how to produce food' after the economic system collapsed. They also were intrumental in re-establishing order and safety in this great time of chaos.

But ultimately, their belief in God's love and purpose gave many lost souls a sense of HOPE for the future when all those around them had given up all hope!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chapter 3 continued: part 2

"Memories of the past hundred years"
June 17, 2059

Proverbs 22:3 "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."
Proverbs 21:20 "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but the foolish man devours all he has."

Where does the time go? You'd think that I had all the time in the world to write down these memories of my life. Indeed, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my days are numbered and I could die tomorrow. I have been blessed with a very long and fruitful life. You'd think that I'd be in a much greater hurry to get my memories down on paper. I find it hard to believe that in about two months, if I should live so long, I'll be celebrating my one hundred and fourth free ride completely around the sun!

Preppers: Short for 'people preparing' commonly referring to those people that saw the dark clouds building on the horizon and made some effort to prepare. They were also called "Doomers" or "Survivalists" by mainstream society before the Great Crash.

Survivalists have been around for many decades before the preppers ever showed up into view by the mainstream media. So it was easy for most people and news sources to just lump them all together. According to the mainstream media before the Great Crash, survivalists tended to have the image of 'Rambo' but with huge beer bellies, wearing military fatigues, armed with military assault rifles, bonded together in macho, men's clubs called 'underground militias', running around the woods playing war games and planning domestic terrorist attacks on helpless 'widows and orphans'. Oh sure, there were a few such individuals and groups but the growth of 'preppers' was far less dramatic and far more widespread.

"BEANS, BULLETS AND BULLION" could have been the motto of the preppers.

With the awareness of 'Peak Oil' inching its way into the conscienceness of a few people in the late 1990s, then the tragic events of 9-11 followed by the even greater chaos of Hurricane Katrina, the break down of law & order with the flooding of New Orleans and then the years of the 'Great Recession of 2008-2009,' common people started to see that life wasn't as stable and secure as they were lead to believe. They witnessed with their own eyes the often slow and inept responses by our government to the trajedies and sufferings around them. They started to wonder what they could do to provide for the safety of their own families in the days after a major storm or a man-made disaster. Individually, they came to their own conclusions that it just might be prudent to store a little extra food in the pantry and maybe own a gun to protect against home invasion by crooks and robbers. As the economic situation started to deteriorate, some people started to buy a few gold coins and pre-1965 silver coins. "Beans, bullets and bullion", was a simple catch phrase for preparing for troubled times by stocking up on a few basic essentials.

The concept of making some basic preparations crossed the entire demographic spectrum for at least a small portion of the public that were starting to feel insecure in this first decade of 2000. Little old ladies who lived thru the last Great Depression as little children, added more canned goods to their already well stocked pantries, upper management personnel in 3 piece suits started to stock their lake homes with added supplies to ride out a few weeks of troubles if something bad ever happened. The term 'bugging out' became popular to preppers. It implied escaping the city in times of trouble and heading to their well stocked 'retreats' to wait out the trouble -- warm, safe and wellfed while the masses fought with each other trying to survive. In addition to stocking up on some extra supplies, a few suburban dwellers tore up small areas of their back yards and put in gardens. Some bought generators and stored cans of gasoline to provide power when the electricity went out. Some added rainwater catchment systems. The lists of preparations were limitless for those that took it seriously.

Just a few of the items that they stocked up on included:
Food and water in long term storable containers
Needed medications and first aid supplies
Health care and personal hygiene supplies
An 'off-grid' heat source such as a wood stove
Warm clothing, bedding and sleeping bags
Guns, ammo, strong doors and windows, perimeter fencing, lights, security systems, possibly a 'safe room' and other home security equipment
A 'bugout' bag for the car and office to help the person reach their home in times of trouble.
Bugout bags already packed and a bugout plan for the family if they would need to leave their city or suburbs quickly in times of trouble.

These lists were endless and were dependent on a person's level of concern, the support of their family and their financial ability to purchase all of this PREPARATION STUFF.

These so called 'preppers' were so far removed from the Rambo type 'survivalist' image that the mainstream media had to invent a new term to marginalize this growing awareness. The term 'Doomers' came into being as an insult to the 'Chicken Littles' described in the media as running around crying that the 'Sky is Falling!!!' Some preppers took over the term 'doomer' as a badge of honor and called the masses 'sheeple' for blindly following their leaders into the dark times like sheep to the slaughter.

Whole new industries grew up around 'preppers!' Long term storable, freeze dried foods became very popular and VERY expensive. Sales of guns and especially ammunition emptied the shelves by late 2008 and 2009. Sales of gold and silver coins to the general public doubled and doubled again. By the end of 2009, governments around the world were unable to mint enough gold coins to keep up with the demand.

The internet became the center for information and networking for preppers and doomers. Sites like 'Life after the Oil Crash' and the 'Survival Blog' had followings of tens and even hundreds of thousands. Alternative news sites openly competed with the mainstream media to get out the truth of what was going on in the world. Many of the old established printed newspapers saw a major decline in subscriptions. But when the Great Crash came, all of this was a case of "too little-too late" to mitigate or prevent the great suffering and loss of life.

Those wise enough to do even a little preparation greatly improved their chances of surviving the Great Crash but when life didn't ever return to back to 'normal', many preppers saw their supplies run out over a period of time and still suffered or died during the 'Terrible Winter' and the following 'Dark Years'

Most 'preppers' had a 'go it alone attitude' and made serious efforts to keep their preparations secret from their neighbors. Some joined together in small groups of like-minded individuals or families to develop 'retreats' hidden away in the woods and kept secret from the community. These 'stand alone' preppers almost always failed during the extreme struggles of the era after the Great Crash. The only successful ones were where they became part of a close-knit community for mutual support and protection.

I'll write about 'Christian Agrarians' if I'm still around and when I can take the time from my teaching the young ones about gardening.

"Man's mind is his basic tool of survival." ---Ayn Rand

"...nuclear warfare is not necessary to cause a breakdown of our society. You take a large city like Los Angeles, New York,, Chicago -- their water supply comes from hundreds of miles away and any interruption of that, or food, or power for any period of time you're going to have riots in the streets.

Our society is so fragile, so dependent on the interworkings of things to provide us with goods and services, that you don't need nuclear warfare to fragment us anymore than the Romans needed it to cause their eventual downfall."
---- Gene Roddenberry

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chapter 3: Of Hippies, Preppers and Christian Agrarians

"Memories of the Past Hundred Years"
June 5, 2059

Matthew 16: 2-3 Jesus replied, "When evening comes you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."

Surprise!!! I've been given the gift of another week!!........It's been a while since I wrote last. I've been'd think that after living a hundred and three years, that life would slow down a little. But that's not the case! I'm still teaching gardening skills to anyone interested and this is really a busy time of the year!

Throughout these past fifty years since the Great Crash, I've been thinking a whole lot on how some people could see the handwriting on the wall so plainly while most of society could not. Those that could see, did a bunch to prepare for the coming troubles while the vast majority that could not see, were caught completely by surprise, totally unprepared, much to their distress and loss!!!

But WHY couldn't they see???

It wasn't like the signs and warnings weren't all around us! I dug out my old diary from early in two thousand and ten to see if I could find any clues as to what was going on right before the Great Crash.

Here are some quotes from well respected news sources of that era from just one day--January 4, 2010:

Wall Street Journel--"Budget deficit woes pushing U.S. near precipice"
ABC News--"States scramble for emergency funding as (tax) dollars dry up"
U.K. Telegraph--"Printing so much money is a game with dangerous results"

And part of the climatic news from the Mid-East from that same day:
The International News: "Energy Crisis may cripple Pakistan by mid-January"

And these terrible signs of the times continued day after day while the masses walked thru their lives zombie-like, completely blind to the storm clouds building all around them..............sigh.

It is my guess that the masses of people that lived as part of mainstream society were just so caught up in their daily lives that they could not see beyond the next few days ahead of them and they were certainly clueless when it came to understanding past history or current events. What time they did have to themselves was spent mindlessly glued to the virtual world of television and video games and completely ignorant to the real world. All their daily needs were provided by big box stores or corporations. Their lives were completely separated from the realities of providing their own necessities of life. What a recipe for disaster as events would prove!!

But there were a few people that not only recognized the storm clouds that were building but made considerable efforts preparing for them. It has been my experience that these people fit into three catagories: Hippies, Preppers and Christian Agrarians. I'm sure other people could make different lists with equal or greater authority but this is how I remember that period of history.

"HIPPIES" from the root word 'hip' defined by Webster as 'keenly aware'.

As a kid, this cleancut all American farmboy first came across 'hippies' in the nightly news reports about war protests back in the 1960s. They looked pretty crazy to me! But as time went on, I grew up and got drafted into the army during the last part of the Vietnam War. Fortunately, I was stationed in Alaska.

This ol' farmboy sure wasn't in Kansas anymore!!! I sure learned that life wasn't all black-n-white, left or right, liberal or conservative, love it or leave it. I learned that God and Country weren't the same thing as I had been lead to believe. Now don't get me wrong, I love my country deeply and sincerely but I sure learned that politicians bought and paid for by big corporations don't necessarily have my best interests at heart. I came out of the army very disallusioned and questioning the very premises that were the foundation of the view I had on the world.

Well, maybe the 'hippies' weren't Satan's spawn after all. Let's see, principles of peace and love, social justice, environmental respect, dropping out of the system and moving 'back to the land', growing organic gardens and living a life of respect for each other and the earth... O.K. that doesn't sound too bad.

Loud rock music---I can dig it! Sign me up!

Maybe the free sex and drugs weren't exactly moral according to my religious teachings but most of this sure touched a cord deep inside of my heart.

What pushed me completely over the edge into becoming "a card carrying, longhaired hippie-back to the land-treehugger" was how badly the big increases in fuel prices hurt me financially after the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973. I was into my first year of college after getting out of the army and living on the VERY fixed income of the G.I. Bill. Doubling and tripling of heating oil costs over the winter of 73-74 just destroyed my 'budget'. I swore to 'never get caught by surprise again' by outside economic forces!!!! I felt betrayed---why hadn't anyone warned me that such things could happen?????!!!

The 'back to the land' movement really got moving with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 fuel shortages, the runaway inflation of the 70s, the pollution, overcrowding and stress of urban society and on and on. Many mainstream urbanites left their 9-5 jobs and moved onto little mini-farms and homesteads. Most gave up after a few years and went back to the urban culture again but a few settled in for their lifetimes.

Self proclaimed 'hippies' pretty well died out from notice by the general public after the economic recovery of the 1980s. 'CHEAP' oil brought online by the development of the new oil fields at the North Slope of Alaska and the North Sea off of Norway brought another two plus decades of 'shop till you drop,' happy motoring, suburban sprawl. Many hard core 'closet hippies' lived quietly back in the woods, raising organic gardens and developing alternative energies. Many of these old hippies became leaders of the sustainable agriculture and energy movements of the late 1990s but most were quite happy to live 'off the radar'. Some of these old-timers became very vocal proclaiming the warnings of the coming economic crash. Sadly, very few paid any attention to them.

Bedtime........I'll write about Preppers and Christian Agrarians if I wake up tomorrow!

While cruising thru my diary from back before the crash, I came across a quote from an author named "Matthew Stein". Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, his words were quite profound and very prophetic!

"the truth is that if technology fails in a big way, your ability to do things with your hands, like grow food, make a shelter and heal people without high-tech pharmaceuticals, will be quite valuable ... Strength will be in tight knit communities with a shared pool of resources and skills, cemented by strong people bonds"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chapter 2: Footnote

"The Day the Dollar Died"

John Galt is in the process of writing an excellent FICTIONAL novel on his blog called "The Day the Dollar Died". Click on this title for a hyper-link to his first chapter.

His blog novel was the inspiration for my attempt to write my own 'blovel'. In my imagination, his novel describes in detail what happened during the GREAT CRASH that I mention repeatedly in my story.

You can read his entire series that he has published so far on his blog by going to: then look on the right hand side under the catagory of "The Day the Dollar Died Series".

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chapter 2-continued, part 3

"Memories of the past hundred years"
June 29, 2059

Isaiah 1:23 Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow's case does not come before them.


I just got a telegram from 'Texas Department of Census' that my granddaughter, Sarah, is still alive!!!! ---I'm so incredibly happy! You have no idea what a huge, black hole fills a person's heart when you lose contact with your family!!! As I wrote before, my grandson Seth, returned to my life after the Dark Years but all my other children and grandchildren had disappeared---dropped off the face of the Earth for all I knew.

Sarah is the oldest child of my youngest daughter, Mary. Sarah and her family were living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when the first nuclear terrorist strike hit Washington, DC. Her parents were called up in the first wave of the mandatory draft and disappeared from contact. The last I heard was that she and her siblings were relocated into a government care center somewhere in Texas. That's all the information I've had these past fifty years........the memories of not knowing what happened to them and not being able to help them in any way are still sooooooooo painful! It was such an overwhelming feeling of darkness, dispair and sheer helplessness!

Now that telegraph service has been opened up to private messages, questions on 'missing persons' have totally overwhelmed the wires and the services trying to help relocate all the millions of displaced persons. I put in my request for information over 3 years ago. After all this time, I had given up hope of ever hearing about any of my family again. "Praise God!"

Sarah was five years old at the time of the Great Crash which means that she would be an old woman of fifty-five right now. There was no information as to her address or any personal information on her life. For now, it's just so wonderful to know that she survived!!!!!!!!!

I'll write about Seth's life and about my great-grandchildren in a future chapter. As for right now, my great-great grandchildren all pestering me for attention. Seems that I've become the family's built in babysitter, story teller and teacher--loving that role!

I'm back........

The old 'United States of America', for all practical purposes, ceased to exist after the collapse of the dollar. With deliveries of food and fuel greatly disrupted, most areas dissolved into riots, looting and then anarchy. When Marshal Law was declared in an effort to suppress the lawlessness, our old Constitutional form of government dissolved as well. The Dakotas became the 23rd Military District with its headquarters at the Minot Airforce Base. This military district was made up of the prairie region of Montana east of the Rockies, both Dakotas and the prairie region of eastern Wyoming. The military government was especially interested in controlling this area because of its wealth of coal, oil, food production and electrical generating capacities!!

Our new Dakota Territory grew out of this military district. After the Dark Years, civilian rule was allowed to return to Bismarck as capital of the newly declared 'Dakota Territory'. General William McDonald, Supreme Commander of the 23rd Military District needs to be praised for relinquishing his dictatorial control!!! His name needs to be placed beside George Washington in honor of his leadership in forming the civilian government of 'Dakota Territory' which was modeled after our original U.S. Constitution.

Outside of Dakota Territory, the Federation of the Central Plains, the Sovereign Nation of Texas and a loose federation of communities in the Pacific Northwest and along Lake Superior, all the rest of this country dissolved with the anarchy and chaos as far as I know. These three regions govern themselves but there is a push to reunite in a new 'United States' in response to the potential for foreign invasion across the Rockies.

It sounds like some areas along the Pacific coast from Alaska thru Mexico are occupied by either the Japanese to the north and the Chinese to the south. After the collapse of the dollar, China, Japan and many other countries were left holding trillions of worthless American dollars, Treasury Bills and other worthless paper promises. In their anger, they joined forces in an attempt to recoup their losses. India, Russia, many oil rich countries, South Korea and even Brazil joined in a coalition to attempt to regain their losses.

First, they froze all American assets within their countries. Then after observing the loss of global power projection by the U.S., China invaded Taiwan and Japan seized Guam, Saipan and eventually reoccupied many of the Pacific Islands in a replay of their power projection World War II. After the outbreak of the Mid-East War, the terrorist attacks on U.S. cities and the collapse of the U.S. central government, Japan made claim to a number of coastal territories in Alaska and China claimed several coastal areas from Seattle to the Baja Penincula as payment for U.S. debts owed---but I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll write more about this in another chapter.....

For all I know, it sounds like the Chinese don't venture too far inland after suffering substantial losses each time they attempted to send scouting parties across the mountain passes. Between the destruction of most key bridges by local militias after the crash and the existance of well armed and extremely hostile bands of mountain peoples protecting their territories, the Chinese can only venture into these mountain areas in considerable force. You have to remember that few military machines function due to the lack of transportation fuels. Seems that they are content to stay close to their boats and supply ships and focus on pillaging the remaining fishing grounds and develop the agricultural areas near their settlements. But that sounds like it is in the process of changing as these peoples are in great need for more productive farmland---that's a subject of another chapter.

I'll write more when I can, God willing!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chapter 2: continued-part 2

"Memories of the past hundred years"
June 22, 2059

Wow! I woke up again this morning! Praise God! I wasn't so sure last night as I went to bed. I haven't been feeling very good these past two nights, kind of unsettled--hard to explain. Well, with this gift of a new day, maybe I should write some more.

First, I want to make something very CLEAR! Life today is not some type of Agrarian Eutopia!!! It's HARD to say the least! Life these past fifty years has been filled with more pain and tears than anyone could have imagined! Oh, this past few years have gotten considerably better but life is still a major struggle. Life has settled down, the bandits have been all but eliminated in Dakota Territory and we don't have to live each day with a level of fear in the back of our minds. Today, we wake up with a sense of purpose and a motivation to put life back together again rather than apprehension as to what struggles the new day will bring.

But then again, the quality of family and community life has become so much richer that even if I had the choice, I wouldn't choose to go back to living the way we did 'pre-CRASH' -- it was that insane! Everyone lived for their own pleasures. Few cared for anyone else--maybe for their own family but it was a rare individual that cared anything for their 'fellow man' if it interfered with their self-centered gradifications.

Faith in God's plan for Salvation and living their daily lifes in a loving relationship with the God of the Universe was soooo rare. Most people claimed to be Christians but only on Sundays and only if it didn't interfere with their quest for personal pleasures. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of the undescribeable suffering that we as a society had to endure to get most people to turn back to God as the center of their lives. It was like living thru the disasters God allowed to happen to Israel in the Old Testament to turn his people away from their Idol worship and turn once again to His promises. Whereas, the people of Israel worshiped the idols of wood and stone, the people of the so called 'modern' society worshiped the gods of greed and pleasure, of money and accumulating bigger and better or just plain 'MORE' things............. sigh..............

Medical care has greatly declined in some ways and greatly increased in other ways. Preventive health care is our central focus. Naturally pure, healthy foods are now abundant for all. Daily exercise with plenty of fresh air and sunshine is just normal for everyone. The 'couch potato' is as extinct as the Dodo bird. Going to the gym for exercise ended with the CRASH. Obesity is all but extinct as well. Nutritional, herbal and what was previously called 'alternative' health care are now once again normal for society. Where our health care has really declined is in treating tramatic injuries. Extreme intervention and microscopic surgery has been hard to duplicate. But then again, everyone from the very young onward are taught 'situational awareness'. They are taught to be aware of the potential for accidents and avoid them.

There are small community 'hospitals in every town or village. Many are in family homes. There are some small regional hospitals with well educated and trained doctors and nurses but nothing like the 'old days'. Many doctors travel by buggy or train from town to town and home to home to help as they can. Most births are at home with each community having a very dedicated nurse/midwife in attendance. Only the pregnancies with complications go to the community or regional hospitals. The huge, industrial hospitals of the past era were so completely overwhelmed during that Terrible Winter that they just stopped functioning. It didn't help when the Military Government ordered most of the medical staff into manditory service during the War.

Our global trade and sales in 'plastic pumpkins' to satisfy consumer addictions crashed immediately with the collapse of the dollar. Trade in the essentials of life like food and fuel was quick to follow. The existing central government was totally unprepared to deal with the collapse of the dollar, the coordinated cyber attacks on our entire command, control and delivery systems, the explosion in the Mid-East and the terrorist attacks on our cities all in a matter of days. It was 'hyper-war'!!! Life as we knew it just stopped.

We have been rebuilding our manufacturing base on a local and regional level ever since. It was like reinventing the wheel! So much was forgotten and we just didn't have the tools to manufacture the tools and replacement parts to keep the old machines functioning. Global trade and shipping of our country's manufacturing abilities overseas for the greed for profit was an all out disaster for this country. Cottage industries sprang up almost overnight. The proverbial 'butcher, baker and candlestick maker' where once again in high demand. This region was very fortunate to have some limited electrical power during the dark years and we were able to salvage steel and manufacture hand tools, wood/coal stoves and horse drawn equipment but we were unable to manufacture the complex parts needed to keep this large scale electrical generation functioning.

This here remembering is tiring!! I need a nap. I'll write more if I regain enough energy. May God bless you all!


Chapter 2 continued.........