“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature” declared the actress who portrayed her in what became one of the most popular, often quoted and well-remembered television ads of the late 1970s. “You’ll think it’s butter but it’s not,” she claimed. The “it” being referred to was margarine, not butter.
The true Mother Nature, or who or what we understand “her” to be, certainly can’t be fooled. In real life if there is any hoodwinking going on it runs in the other direction from what the ad portrayed, with Mother fooling or meting out her tricks and wrath on us ordinary humans. That is certainly what happened in California earlier this month when what might have begun as a lovely winter wonderland ended up as an ugly and life threatening weather debacle. Snows buried areas of the state that were unaccustomed to even a dusting and were therefore reasonably unprepared and unequipped for what could not be anticipated.
Needless to say, national news covered the event and reported on drivers stranded on snow-buried highways and homeowners struggling to dig out from the storm. And all of that news coverage was how it should be. But there was more to that story than most media reported.
What we didn’t hear much about then was what we don’t ever hear much about. That is the plight those senior citizens and others who, regardless of the weather, are daily confined to their residences (hence we sometimes refer to them as shut-ins) and therefore are reliant on others in the community, like home-delivered meal programs, for the provisions they need to meet their basic nutritional needs every day. Every day, rain or shine, heat wave or blizzard.
As we write this post we have no way of knowing what kind of toll these unusual and catastrophic weather events have had on those vulnerable individuals. Clearly the routine deliveries on which they regularly rely, regardless of the weather or season, could not be made. Likely they were more shut in than even they could imagine.
But there are other things about which we are certain, based on our decades of involvement with local home-delivered meal programs and other senior nutrition programs. Even before they knew this particular storm was bearing down on them those programs had supplied their clients with so-called “blizzard bags” stocked with shelf-stable provisions that could carry them over for a few days until routine services could be restored. During the storms program personnel doubtless reached out by telephone giving “reassurance calls” to as many clients as they could reach. And the moment roads are passable and travel is safe, senior nutrition program staff will be back in the office and the kitchen gearing up for the next congregate meal and home delivery.
It’s who they are and what they do. They aren’t fooled by Mother Nature’s weather surprises and other catastrophes; they are prepared for them. They aren’t just willing and able –- they are dedicated to serving those elders in need in their communities. In any and every circumstance. No fooling.
It’s just in their Nature.