As he quite often does, Rick Watson (Life 101) hit a memory button when he wrote about getting bread and milk in advance of a storm. The memory goes like this:
It was a big storm that had blanketed western New York and left our street covered in several feet of snow. The neighbors banded together and had potluck meals made from whatever stock was available. After a few days of no plows in sight, my wife and I decided to take a toboggan and hike a couple of miles to the nearest grocery store to see what staples we could find, as our family of nine was running out. A neighbor across the street asked us to pick up some milk for their new baby. When we reached the store, we found that most of the staples and just about everything else had been cleared out. We went to the dairy section and asked a clerk if there was any more milk to be had since neighbors needed some for their baby; the clerk said he would check in back for us. There was a couple standing nearby with a cart full of milk, who volunteered to give us some of theirs because “we don’t need it all”, but I refused with the reply that they certainly must need it or else they wouldn’t have taken it all. When the clerk returned with two quarts, we thanked him and went on our way. I don’t remember whether or not the couple kept all the milk. I certainly hope they put some back for the next person.
It took a few more days before the street was plowed and life returned to normal, but I never forgot the panic that set in on otherwise sane people when they thought they might starve to death before the next shipment of groceries would arrive.