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Thursday, August 9, 2012

It all started with a sandwich bag

I took the girls on a picnic today, and we had a lovely time. We couldn't find a trash can to throw our leftover lunch away, so we loaded it all back into our bag. We did find a fountain to play in, and a mound to climb. There were also several antique stores that we took our time looking through. After we returned home, and I was cleaning out our bag, I came across several plastic sandwich bags and was reminded of a conversation that took place several years ago.

My sister and I were working away, canning produce in her kitchen. I didn't have any children yet, and hers were scattered throughout the house playing with a kitchen set, Lego's and reading books. We got on a conversation about my Grandmother, and how she saved everything. "She even washes out her plastic sandwich bags and reuses them!", my sister said. At the time I couldn't figure out why one would do such a thing. I don't think Walmart has ever run out of them, and they are only a couple of bucks for a whole box of them. I just kept thinking what a waste of time that must be.

Through the summer, our family has been really enjoying watching the TV series, The Waltons. I love the fact that the values that I am trying to teach the girls during the day, are being reinforced at night while we are watching this show. I love how connected they were as a family.  I love how frugal they are, and how they "make do" with what they have. This series is set in the depression era, when families had very little money to use to buy the things they needed to survive. The women worked extra hard to pinch pennies, and reuse what they could. Perhaps they even washed out used sandwich bags. I get convicted watching this show though, and realize what a big consumer I am.  If I run out of one thing, say ketchup, I think a whole grocery shopping trip is in order. Not just for know how you find all kinds of things you forgot you "needed" while at the store? That simple trip for a $2 bottle of ketchup quickly can turn into a $75 trip. Who knew ketchup could blow the budget? ;-)

Today, as I stared at the used sandwich bags, I missed my Grandmother. I missed the wealth of knowledge she must have had to be able to stretch money, to make things homemade, and to reminisce about how it must have been growing up in that era.  Families working together to survive, and having fun all the while doing it. Evenings spent spread out on a covered porch hearing about each other's day. I know it must have been hard, but as my sweet girls and I sat on the lawn having a picnic beside a busy street, I couldn't help but look in the cars that drove past. I would say ninety percent of the children in the cars had headphones on, or were holding some kind of game device.

We have gained so much as a society since "The Walton" days...but I feel that we have lost so much more.

I washed out those sandwich bags today, and I thought about how wise my Grandmother was the whole time.