Waste Not, Want Not

Looking back over the past fifty years so much has changed. Females are living longer. In 1960 a woman?s life expectancy was 72.2 years, now it is 82 years. If I am one of the higher averages I?ve got about thirty more years. What will the coming days offer? A few things I?m sure of, more aches and pains, probably loss of memory, more gray hair and wrinkles. Those may be bad things but I know there will be all kinds of wonderful things too. Watching children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow and become independent individuals. Peaceful moments as we age and become more comfortable in our own skin, even if that skin is sagging. There will be magnificent sunrises and full moons, fall foliage and white snow.

Isn?t it a shame that we forget our blessings? When we don?t see the beauty around us because there is too much ?stuff? that we don?t need in our way. There is so much to be thankful for that sometimes I am overwhelmed with humbleness. If I were to live to be one-hundred-years old I could never repay The Lord for all he?s given me.

Just looking back fifty years here?s a few things that I have now that I didn?t have then: A bathroom, yes an inside toilet. There wasn?t the luxury of toilet paper either; if you were lucky you had a piece of brown paper bag or a huge poplar tree leaf. Paper towels were non-existent in my early years. We used a dishtowel. Soda pop was seldom seen at home, but it was a treat when my grandpa bought us cola?s when we were helping him in tobacco.

Too many vehicles are another major waste. We have a car, truck and an SUV. Plus three work trucks and a tractor. Now mind you all these vehicles are pretty old, ranging from 1979-2008 but in actuality we could do without two of those personal vehicles. Look at the saving in taxes and insurance. Not to mention oil changes and regular maintenance. Years ago we had one vehicle and if we were lucky a bicycle. Not a golf cart or four-wheeler? a plain old, no gear, foot-braked bicycle.

Then there is food. Oh my goodness at the food that is thrown away. Thank goodness I have cats that eat our leftovers. When I open my refrigerator or pantry door, I see more than can be eaten in a year. Not to mention all the canned goods I preserved this summer in the basement. Some of us have so much while others are starving. Not all the way out in Somali either, right her in our own country. World Hunger day is coming up in October, lets be generous. Maybe cut back on our rations and share with others. There is also the local Tri-County Christian Crisis Ministry. They are always in need of food to share with the less fortunate. Growing up we ate dried beans, potatoes, food preserved from the garden and pork from a pig we?d raised ourselves, and we never ate out. My how times have changed.

Back then I had two pairs of shoes and a few sets of clothes. Now I have a closet packed full of things I don?t need. In the early 60?s you chose shampoo from a list of maybe ten varieties from the five and dime downtown, now there are two entire aisles of different brands at WalMart. Growing up we didn?t have zip lock freezer bags, we used freezer boxes or bags with twist ties, and when we emptied the bag we washed it out and used it again. Same with tin foil wiped it off and re-used it. Some much is wasted in today?s world. I recycle my aluminum cans and newspapers but there is so much more I could do.

Electronics is another thing that has changed drastically. We had a television when I was growing up but it was black and white and picked up only one channel. Now, counting our campers we own seven TV?s and they are all hooked up to a satellite. How wasteful is that? And, I don?t even like watching TV. Phones. Somewhere around 1966 we got our first telephone. It had a rotary dial and we were on a party line. That wasn?t much fun because our shared line was with the pastor of our church. He had two little boys and they were forever leaving the phone off the hook. My daddy said words the preacher wouldn?t want to hear when that happened.

I was looking around yesterday and took in all the waste around my house. There is an un-used television and VCR/DVD player in the basement. A refrigerator that was given to us that we don?t need, a printer that works great except the lightning ran in on it and fried the faxing part. I just can?t bring myself to throw these items away. So I?m going to load them up, plus a whole lot more ?stuff? and off to Goodwill I?m going.

One last thing I want to share with you. In 1969 when we finally got an inside bathroom my daddy wouldn?t let me and my siblings run but about an inch of water in the tub, just enough to rinse the soap off. He said it was wasting not just water, but hot water. I am still stingy with water. I do fill up the tub a bit more than I did all those years ago, but what my daddy instilled in me stuck. When my granddaughter spends the night she always asks, ?Gigi, can?t I have just a little more water?? At these times I shut out the voice of my daddy and, waste or not I fill her up.

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