Monday, September 30, 2013

Hand Me Downs

My mother is one of the most frugal people in the world.  You and I may call her "cheap", and she is, but she looks at it as being frugal and taking care of what she has so that she will have it longer and it will carry her through the days ahead.  She is constantly aware that there may not be anything in the future so you have to use what you have for the greatest good and spend as little as you can on daily life needs.  My mom has always looked for bargains and usually will not buy something unless it is on sale.  She loves to shop at garage sales and will try to bargain with an owner of an item that is already nearly marked down to nothing.

When I was growing up, my mother would buy groceries at the supermarket by looking at what was on sale.  Every item she prepared had to be on sale and what was on sale determined what we had for dinner usually.  She also bought "day old bread" at the bread surplus store and shopped the "bent can buggy" at the supermarket to buy dented cans and those without labels (for mystery dinner...we never knew what may be opened so we never knew what would be on the table on those days.)

My mother clothed all of us kids with clothes she found at garage sales and sales at stores too.  I remember one year that I needed a new coat for the winter.  She looked at the sale ads in the paper and we found  store that had coats on sale and we went to look at them.  Only after finding a coat that she thought was marked down enough, was I allowed to get a new coat.  Luckily, growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, a coat was not required on too many days so I could coast along without a coat until the right one could be found.

I had an older brother too and received many of his shirts and coats as "hand me downs" to wear now and then if they weren't in too bad condition.  I usually had to have "husky" pants and he did not so I rarely got his pants to wear but did get many shirts and a coat or two.  Having an older sibling is usually a good thing for many kids because they have a selection of clothes to choose from once the other sibling decides the item is not good enough for them.

A man named Timothy received hand me downs from his mother and grandmother.  No, he was not a cross-dresser, this Timothy is the one whose name is on two books of the New Testament and those books are actually letters that St. Paul wrote to him.  In the second letter to Timothy, Paul reminds him of the faith he received from his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.  That faith, Paul said, lived in Timothy too and Paul urged him to "rekindle" the gift of God he had received or inherited in his faith journey.

Receiving gifts from our family members can be a good thing, especially if what we receive has great value.  The faith traditions we have received from our family of origin can be valued or forsaken.  Sometimes those traditions have spoken to us through the past years and still enrich and enable us in our way of life.  Sometimes we are not even aware of the effect they have on us until suddenly we are reminded by a song, a verse, an aroma, or something else in our world that speaks to us.  We have received those things from our past and now they are part of who we are.

My mother is still with me (she and I are all that remain of my family of origin) and she still shops the garage sales and looks for the ads with coupons in them.  I inherited the frugal trait from her too, I have to admit.  I always look for a sale and hate to pay full price for anything.  Maybe that is not so bad.  It helps what you have to go farther.  Perhaps there are lessons in life that we have inherited from others that help our lives to be ordered in a way that is helpful to us, even if we hate to admit it.  

No comments:

Post a Comment