A Cold Day in Hell: Brigadoon Army Surplus vs. The Oklahoma Winter

Oklahoma winters are, to me at least, always so post-apocalyptic. It doesn’t help matters that, around this time, the local news channels begin their yearly holiday of frightening the populace with the latest in ratings-grabbing theories of a fully winterized Armageddon of sorts.

Fearing a sudden sheet of permafrost descending upon me very soon, I preeminently made a trip to Brigadoon, 1805 S. Sunnylane Rd. in Del City. Advertised as the last “genuine” military surplus store left not only in town but in Oklahoma, it was a good time and a great place to get a jump on avoiding this year’s ultimately frigid death by using and abusing the best of the best of military trash and treasures.

A budget-minded survivalist’s wet dream—well, I guess more frozen than wet—Brigadoon is really the only place that those of us who dwell in the shacks, lean-tos and shanties that are sprinkled throughout Oklahoma City can go to find the gear needed to survive another winter in this Okie Hell; from thermal blankets to formal rations, the goods at Brigadoon can really take the edge off as you breathe your last few visible breaths, all for just a couple of American greenbacks.

Now, whatever philosophical disagreements I may have with the owners or customers—per the vehemently pro-Trump discussion overheard as I was scouring the aisles—they are immediately put to the wayside because in this one moment, right or flight aside, we are all bonded in one common goal: to make it out mostly unscathed to a far more first-worldian season of a virgin mother’s vernal warmth in a couple of months.

Trump, schrump…pass the Hot-Hands…

The military-strength coats and jackets were on sale out front, but I preferred the attack force-style snow-suit inside, bundled together tightly with all types of internal layers of warmth, the protective use of a “for entertainment only” gasmask added for end-times panache. And maybe strapped to my hips a small axe and a folding shovel—you never know when you’re going to have to axe something or shovel something in this hyperborean landscape, cluttered with the refuse of a society that took their heaters for granted.

A single tear made a wet line down my face, but it soon turned into a clear salty crystal as I lamentably started to think about protection from looters, wolves and most other survivalists. Brigadoon has an excellent selection of pocket knives and bigger blades on the cheap, along with plenty of ammo for that 12 gauge or 9mm Luger in case that neighbor who still has your screwdriver tries to forcibly come inside your abode, aiming to steal batteries, water and food for his children. Sorry pal, but it’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel…

Wait a second…dammit, I forgot to pack some provisions.

Thank God that Brigadoon has a very well-stocked supply of government-supported MRE’s—that Meals Ready to Eat, son—from the packed-tight cases of a dozen on sale right down to the economical individual packets at $8.95. Even better, they all have somewhat agreeable flavors that should appeal to even the most hard-to-please bastards at your emergency folding table down in the basement.

It was the film Top Gun, if I’m remembering correctly, that told me these armed forces-loved food-packets were a delicious time with the boys, be it playing volleyball with your shirtless pals or taking heavy fire in a Russian warzone. Convinced, I bought a couple of packets of the Department of Defense’s “Warfighter  Recommended, Warfighter Tested, Warfighter Approved” vegan-special Vegetable Crumbles with Pasta in Taco Style Sauce, only 210 calories. God bless America.

I mostly cooked my Vegetarian Taco Pasta, as the box instructed, with the handy portable food-cooking sleeve—do not overfill, it warns you—providing the only warmth I felt as the temperature dropped to record lows. Thankfully, the military-level serving was a wonderfully compact mush that not only, per the package, gave me “top performance” with more energy, it was also quite delicious, like a premium can of Chef Boyardee.

And while the arctic chill can make those hunger pangs even stronger than usual, don’t worry, they’ve got you covered there; included in the package is chunky peanut butter and a large square of crackers, mixed fruit in heavy syrup, smoked almonds, an oatmeal cookie, peppermint candy rings, a nice selection of condiments and, to wash it all down, French Vanilla Cappuccino instant powder, which I mixed in my half-buck packet of U.S. Coast Guard-approved Emergency Drinking Water.

Stomach filled over-the-line on Vegetable Crumbles with Pasta in Taco Style Sauce, I turned the light on my kerosene lamp down a couple of notches, the dim flame bringing to mind the once mighty sun that warmed our precious faces, now blocked out thanks to the choking clouds of gloomy climate change. So thanks, Brigadoon, for the cheap survival goods—with this well-rationed protein and by sheer fate, God’s will, I know that I’ll be here to help defibrillate this damned state come ‘round April or so.

Good luck, Oklahoma, and always remember: steal here…die here.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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16 Responses

  1. My husband is very fond of military surplus stores, and he rates Brigadoon very highly. I’ve always wondered if it is named for the movie. ( Brigadoon, a miraculously blessed village that rises out of the mists every hundred years for only a day)

    1. What a day this has been!
      What a rare mood I’m in!
      Why, it’s almost like being in love

      1. ❤❤

  2. If military wannabes haven’t aged out of their eligibility and don’t suffer from some other disqualifying condition, like a criminal record or bone spurs, the American Armed Forces are accepting enlistees! Cómpralo ya!

    But if one is not qualified to actually serve, or if he simply hates following orders from people with short hair, there’s always the militia experience. I suspect that those folks make up a big chunk of Brigadoon’s business. And hunters too, of course.

    I’m a veteran of the Army of long, long ago, and our field rations were far inferior to the cuisine that Louis enjoyed. I had no idea that our troops today are able to partake of such fine dining. They deserve every delicious morsel, as good as we can make it.

    1. I was in the Navy on an aircraft carrier. The food wasn’t all bad if you could get it. But often you couldn’t with the duty hours a GQ we had to do every day. And the short mess hall hours.

      The line to the mess hall was rarely less than an hour, when you only had 4 hours to sleep, that kinda sucked.

      What we did was stock up on pistachio nuts from the com while we were in port. That kept us going along with some small white pills that had a cross on them.

  3. Ha! I love the description of your MRE experience. I’ve had many, many MREs and while they are not the tastiest meal, they do get the job done in an “austere environment” (I think “austere environment” is the military’s way of making you think you’re in an exotic/fun location when you’re really in a true [email protected] of the earth.

    I shouldn’t complain about MREs…they are really good when you have no other alternative. They even help reduce your trips to the bathroom…whish is a good thing in an austere environment.

  4. Thank you Louis, I had totally forgotten about this place. Just in time for Xmas

  5. The folk up there are super nice and will go out of their way to help others. Don’t judge them because they like their idiot and not your idiot.

  6. They didn’t eat MREs in Top Gun. They were too busy at the bar.
    Brigadoon does give discounts on them if you buy all vegetarian MREs.

  7. As an extreme survivalist I’ve discovered you only need two things to survive an apocalypse. A loaded gun and a list of names and addresses of people who stocked up for the apocalypse.

  8. Article was a great read! We are flattered by your comments, and humbled by your wit. Thanks for noticing that EVERYONE is welcome in our store. While we hear more than our fair share of political rhetoric and opinions in this business, company policy is “No Politics, Just Product.” Appreciate you getting our name out there and your visit. God Bless! – Staff of Brigadoon Army Surplus

  9. I didn’t know they still had these stores with real Army surplus and not just a bunch of cheap camping type stuff. I remember when I was a kid we had a store like that. I would go there all the time with little or no money of course.

    They always had a barrel full of GI issued M1 Carbines for I think $10 each. Who would have thought how much those would sell for today.

  10. I remember the Army Surplus store somewhere on Classen Blvd in the 60’s. Went there to get a Navy Pea Coat when I was in Jr High.

    1. There was an army surplus store on the north west corner somewhere on west 10th street long ago. Might have been it.

  11. Louis should check out the HUGE army surplus store out in Okarche, just a quick 20-minute jaunt over the rough-as-a-cob Northwest Expressway. They have a wonderland of great stuff.

  12. That vegetarian taco pasta looks like what my dog threw up on a recent 1700 road trip, in the back seat.

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