Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thoughts from the road...

After a favorable first attempt at guest blogging, I was going to refrain from another attempt until next month to build some creative energy, but given Joanie’s recent return to the employment ranks, I fear her blogging time has been reduced, and there could be a need for a substitute entry- at least to tide the masses over.  I’m guessing my writing style (which follows my dating history) has been described as that odd flavor gum.  You really don’t want to try the rhubarb flavored gum, but once you do- you find its very good, but then after a few minutes, it gets pretty stale again.  Which is why I’ll be content to be a guest blogger vs owning a site myself.  It would be like Cleveland from the Family Guy.  He’s OK on the original, but when he got his own show, lacked the carrying power.

Traveling this week for work, it gave me plenty of time to ponder the next blog topic.  So as I was relaxing in the hotel room, I was lucky enough to catch Little House on the Prairie “Tragedy Week” episodes (you know the ones, Typhus epidemic, anthrax infected mutton, smallpox outbreak, lost wheat crop- I’m sure they’re on the “best of” DVD’s).  Somewhere around the time Pa was hauling dynamite to earn some extra cash for Mary’s life-saving surgery- on a side note how did they find mountains in Minnesota?- I started to reflect on my South Dakota poverty driven childhood.  I guess it should more accurately be called my Mom’s thrifty efforts.  While in grade school- occasionally there would be a group selling rolls and orange juice before school for 50 cents.  Mom was so afraid I’d lose the 50 cents (rather than just give me a dollar or 75 cents), she’d tie the 2 quarters in a handkerchief.  She’d tie it so tight- most of the time I had to get a teacher to help untie the money- which maybe was a reflection of Mom’s cost saving efforts.  Regardless- the childhood stories always lead to a fun game I like to play called “I was so poor as a child that…..” where you fill in the exercise that would warrant the extra special thriftiness.

So let’s play a few rounds: 
  …Mom would cut napkins in half because you really didn’t need a full napkin
 …we never got a full piece of juicy fruit- ½ was just fine
…you can save that gum- it’s still good
 …when the ketchup bottle was ½ empty, water would be added
...the highlight Christmas gift was a “Slinky” (though it could be worse, a HS friend used to get          a brand new shovel to clean the barn)
...pretty sure I got year old socks for Christmas once- they were only worn once or twice
...we washed paper plates
...those heavy duty paper towels were washed and reused
...if you ever needed a rag- pretty good chance it was somebody’s old fruit of the loom
...Christmas papers and bows were used at least 2 or 3 years
...break a shoelace….nonsense- just re-lace it using less eyelets
...we did more than squeeze toothpaste- it was sliced open and scraped out

I could go on forever- though recently while playing a particularly competitive round with a friend- she responded during the volley with ….. we were so poor we used a tumbleweed as a Christmas tree one year.  I still doubt the accuracy of the statement and think it was exaggerated in the heat of competition, but all I could say after that was- you win.

In closing- as I had a moment of self-reflection driving for 8+ hours, it dawned on me that even though I consider myself an optimist (and try to be) does the simple fact that I refuse to buy a big bag of cat food in fear that the beneficiary of that cat food might go to the big litter box in the sky any day and leave me with an excess supply of unusable cat food designate me a pessimist?  I think she knows I’m talking about her mortality given the look I’m getting.

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