Book Reviews, Books I'm Reading, writing quotes

What 5 things would you save from a disaster?

635073481225947654Cartoon BoxhankI’m challenging myself to read at least one genre book a week, and this week I’m reading, and thoroughly enjoying,  Hank Phillippi Ryan’s,  Prime Time (A Charlotte McNally Mystery), 2009. I could say lots of good things about this mystery, but in today’s post I want to focus on one sentence. Not to give away the plot, let’s just say the main character Charlie McNally, an award winning investigative reporter with attitude, is running from a disaster and has time to take only one box of “stuff” with her.

“I frantically grab all that’s precious Botox, my photo albums (including the one existing snapshot of my wedding, which I can’t bring myself to destroy), Gramma’s jewelry box and Cinnamon, my battered stuffed pony, faithful friend since age three and crucial good luck charm.” (Sorry, no page number. I read it on my Kindle)

Not only did the detailing of this frantic moment tell me a lot about her character, it also made me flash back to my own life. Good books are like. They make me think about the nooks and crannies of my world. She had me wondering what I would pack into one box, faced with an emergency?

Hank Phillippi Ryan
Hank Phillippi Ryan

Ryan let her character have five items. What would be my five? It’s not an easy question. I came up with:

  1. My laptop and flash drives
  2. Family photos (Oh oh -Too many albums to fit into one box, so I’d probably, in haste, grab the latest. Note to self: It’s time to digitize all important photos.)
  3. The two framed family photos on my bedroom wall (One has my mother, father, siblings and uncle, taken years ago in black and white and the other a pic of my three grandchildren)
  4. The framed picture of my daughters from the living room.
  5. My wedding ring.

I’m assuming my cell phone is on me, but still this list feels most unsatisfactory. I’m leaving so much behind. But what exactly do I need/want?

I started thinking about the millions of refugees escaping worn-torn countries around the world with nothing but their belongings on their backs. I bet they pack food, but what else do they take? I wonder.

I thought about my main characters. One would take her guitar, another her sketch book and the third her Glock.

Your turn. What would you, or your characters pack in a box?

12 thoughts on “What 5 things would you save from a disaster?

  1. It sure wouldn’t be Botox. I’d think the wedding ring would be on you extra there – Wow, your life condensed. Digitizing all pics onto a flash drive and cloud suddenly seeming really important – what a question to wake up too. I need coffee!

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    1. Pat
      Love your comment (as always).
      I should have mentioned Botox is the name of her cat.
      I don’t wear rings every day. They annoy me, so I wear them on special occasions. I figure if there’s a fire heading my way, I should grab my wedding ring.It seems like the right thing to do. Oh, I guess I should grab my husband first, and then the band, but he’d never ever fit in a box.
      This topic is hard for me. Clearly, I don’t want my life to exist on flash drives or be squished into boxes. I need a morning coffee too.
      Thanks for stopping by, my friend.
      Jo-Ann

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  2. Great post. I kind of had that happen, well not really , we just sold our big bi-level in Alberta and moved here a couple months ago, to a 5th wheel holiday trailer! Yep, had to give away or sell most everything we spent the last 30 years accumulating and if that wasn’t bad enough we talked my Mom into doing the same, lol. So yeah, I know how hard it is to let go of all except the most important of your possessions, and that’s got nothing to do with monetary value.

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    1. Jacquie
      Thank you for the compliment.
      We recently downsized, so I understand your pain. We still haven’t gotten rid of a lot of our stuff. It’s hard work. We only moved geographically a small distance. I can’t imagine doing “it” across a province. But Alberta’s loss is our gain.
      I love how you talked your Mom into it too.
      I agree what’s important in life has nothing to do with monetary value.
      Thanks for stopping by and telling your story.
      Happy writing
      Jo-Ann

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  3. Wrote a lengthy response (no surprise there LOL) and then couldn’t get on. Trying again more briefly. I’d take laptop, medicines, change of underwear & jeans & T-shirt, iPhone, a few sentimental pieces of jewelry, e-readers and all the cords. LOL I realize I need to take a few pictures of things in my house with my phone and remember to upload to the computer. All that stuff gets saved on Carbonite, so I wouldn’t have to take so much in the way of pictures. Always an interesting post from you, Jo-Ann.

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    1. Hi Marsha
      I’m sorry you lost so many words. I hate it when I visit a blog and it loses my comment.
      I like your “emergency stuff” selection. I’ve been saving my documents to CrashPlan but not my pics. I should rethink that, but there just seems to be so much to think about. The deluge of the ever-changing digital age leaves me feeling like I’m constantly at loose ends.
      I laughed when you mentioned your underwear. I remember when I was running away from home as a teenager, I filled the first suitcase with nothing but panties and realized I had a problem. Well, more than one problem.lol
      It’s hard to pack a life. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
      Best wishes
      Jo-Ann

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  4. I would take my favourite teapot. It’s a beautiful pot-bellied one, my two kitties in their carriers, cat food (I think a case of sardines would keep us all happy) and my grandmother’s portrait. That’s five. If I left out the cat food I could take my mohair blanket. But if this was a tsunami I would need my crank/solar-powered mini radio and cell phone. Could I bear to leave my photo albums behind? Of course in a true emergency I’d likely spook the kitties by chasing them around the house and forget my cell phone. You ask such soul wrenching questions, Jo-Ann.

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    1. Hi Helena
      I have to see this teapot. I love tea pots, and have collected way too many over the years. They have such character and best of all they give me warm tea. They are great companions in life. I get you wanting to take one.
      I love your image of running around after your cats in the final minutes before evacuation. Isn’t that life in a nutshell. Love and chaos.
      Thanks so much for commenting and adding to our conversation. Catnip to the kitties.
      Best Wishes
      Jo-Ann

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    2. Jo-Ann, can we expect to see a character much like your teenage self packing to run-away? I truly LOLed at the suitcase full of panties. Of course, if our beloved pups were still with us, I’d be like Helena above. They really do add to your have to take along list. Oh, Jo-Ann, you must get your pictures saved. In the old days when a house burned, whole generations of family were lost with the pictures. While all the whole digital thing makes me nuts, too, it has a few advantages. Instant pics of grands for one. 🙂 Have a good rest of the weekend.

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      1. Hi Marsha
        I agree I should save the pics, but I can’t believe how busy I always seem to be. Retirement is tiring!
        Glad you like my run-away image. It was one of those moments when you hit your forehead with the palm of your hand and question your sanity.
        I can see you gathering your pups, and your neighbours too.
        Thanks for all the comments, dear friend.
        Best
        Jo-Ann

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