I grew up in the forties and fifties with practical parents - a Mother who washed
aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. A Father who was happier
getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. Their marriage was good,
their dreams focused. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat
and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, dishtowel in the other. It
was the time for fixing things - a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the
oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes
it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, reheating, renewing, I wanted just once to be
wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant there'd always be
more. But then my Mother died, and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth
of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there
isn't any 'more'. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes
away.....never to return. So, while we have it, it's best we love it and care for it.....
and fix it when it's broken.....and heal it when it's sick. This is true for old cars.....
and children with bad report cards.....and dogs with bad hips.....and aging parents
.....and grandparents...and marriage. We keep them because they are worth it,
because we are worth it. Some things we keep.