Use What you Have

In 1991 and 1992, I lost both my grandparents.  They were the highlight of my life, as they were one of the only constants in my life. As a military brat, I moved - on average - every two years, so these two lovely gems were the part of our standard summer vacations, as we would always come back to Oklahoma to visit them.

I'll never forget running up the driveway, after popping out from our beat up station wagon, to land in my grandmother's soft comforting arms.  She'd be in the doorway as smells of a home cooked meal and frigid air would escape through, as we crossed into the front room.  If you're wondering why the memory of frigid air would ever register ... well spend one summer in Oklahoma and you'll know how welcoming cold air is ... it's just as amazing as my grandmother's fresh baked homemade rolls or her green jello salad.

Once inside, my grandfather would come walking in, supporting himself with his cane, as he carried his white poodle, Lucky, in his arm. He'd grin and set her down to embrace me into a strong hug.  When our heads came near - his hearing aid would whistle, to which he'd start laughing and say, "Whoops!  Now you've done it!"  His belly laugh would start me in a fit of giggles, as his eyes were filled with mischievous joy.

Papa and Grama were and are still so close to my heart.  In '91 and '92 - the hardest thing I did was lay them to rest.  I'll never forget holding my grandfather as he passed. I swear he saw heaven coming for him.  I'll never forget helping my grandmother in the nursing home, as her cancer progressed.  I changed her diapers like she used to do for me.  I'm sure she was humiliated that I saw her like that - debilitated beyond her means.  But when you love someone you care for them through thick and thin.  These were my angels then and now.

When cleaning out their home, I was amazed at how much stuff they collected.  But as children of the depression, my grandparents made use of what they had by never wasting a thing.  Papa's garage was filled with mason jars, which he used for storage.  He also had gallon milk jugs, which had the tops cut off.  He also used the jugs for ... you got it ... more storage.

As I threw the plastic away from Papa's garage, I shook my head that he had to hold onto so much stuff.  But I'd never walked in his shoes.

Last week, I was rinsing out my plastic to put in my recycle bin, but held onto a small 1 quart plastic jug.  I absentmindedly rinsed it out and stuck it in my sink to use as a watering jug for my plant on the front porch.  As soon as I saw it sitting in my sink, to dry and be stored away, I let out a huge belly laugh.  As if my grandparents were standing there at my side, I felt their smiles of approval that I'd learned their lesson.  Less is more - use what you have.

I'm still learning from them ... even today.

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