Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 186, July 5

"Use it up; wear it out; make it do; or do without." I have heard this bit of wisdom attributed to several people over the years. I like the counsel; more, I like the sentiments that prompted it.
Our world has become a throw-away world. We want the newest, the latest, the most up-to-date in every aspect of our lives. Who can blame us when we are bombarded from countless sources the virtues of upgrading? (That is a deceptive term. It seduces us in to thinking that if we fail to purchase the newest gee-gaw out there, we will be thought of us less.)
I remember stories from my mother of Depression years. Nothing was thrown away. Nothing was wasted. Clothes too worn for another wearing were carefully cut apart to salvage enough material for a few quilt squares. Buttons were removed from these same clothes to be used again. Bacon drippings were saved for flavoring or subsituted for the shortening called for in making bread. Sheets were cut part, then restitched to put the less-worn sides in the middle and the worn-out middle on the sides, a process called "sides-to-middlin'."
People were grateful for what they had and worked hard to make ends meet. I see a resurgence of this among some of us today as the economy causes us to tighten our collective belts. I also see others who whine that life has dealt them a raw hand and are entitled to live upon the labors of others. Unfortunately, this attitude is fostered by our government.
I have some dear friends for whom life really has dealt them a raw hand. Instead of complaining, they thank others for the least favor. The other day, my husband and I receievd a gift card in the mail from these friends, an expression of gratitude for a small favor on our parts. I was more than touched that they took time from their own problems to think of us.
So, for today, I am grateful for those who give thanks.


  1. Will can't remember that quote, so he improvises. . . "Use it up, wear it out. . . milk a chicken and make it shout." Can you just picture trying to milk a chicken? How about the resultant shouting (from the chicken and the person trying to milk it)? Pioneers and those living through the Great Depression would never have wasted their time trying to milk a chicken. It's ridiculous!

    Yet how many times do I try to milk a chicken? I try to extract renewal and refreshment from time-wasters. Then I fool myself into thinking that I have "upgraded" my use of time. I'm grateful for your reminder to me to milk chickens.

  2. Well, obviously I meant to not milk chickens.

  3. Great post Mom. Unfortunately, I am often the victim of wanting the latest and greatest. Sometimes, I succomb while I can think of many other times where I have made do with what I have.