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Reflections November 2014

Agelessly Yours

They Never Really Die, You Know

By Karen White-Walker

It's almost like, if we didn't get it right the first time by not fully appreciating every little thing our parents did for us, we can indirectly make it up by exercising great patience with one or all of their children — especially the most trying one.

A tree's twig is bone dry, snaps, yet it comes back to life in the spring bearing blossoms and fruit. And so loved ones, too, never really die, you know.

How do I know that? All I have to do is look at my siblings and all of Dad's and Mom's remarkable traits live on and, what do you know, so do their few aggravating ways.

It's almost like, if we didn't get it right the first time by not fully appreciating every little thing our parents did for us, we can indirectly make it up by exercising great patience with one or all of their children — especially the most trying one. In our family that's my “baby” sister Joyce. Fifteen years her senior, she could easily be mistaken for my daughter since she's tried every gimmick to look younger. It's almost like she's deathly afraid of growing older and I'm deathly afraid that if she keeps up with all her nips and tucks and hair extensions, I'll end up looking like her grandmother!

Okay, so that's one thing that hasn't endeared her to me, but there's another thing that far surpasses the superficiality of all that cosmetic crap that has etched her deep into my heart — she's turning so much into Mom and Dad. When it came to enthusiasm, adventure, and making a few bucks by selling at the farmer's market, you couldn't beat our parents. All their married lives they had little side projects to make extra money for the family and to contribute to the national economy. Oh I forgot, they never made enough to claim on their income tax return because just how much did the government care about a 25-cent quart of cherries way back then? Or, a wooden planter that cost more in material and labor than the actual price? As kids we moaned and complained about getting up at 4:00 a.m. and being at the market by 5:30.

"Dad, it's summertime, we should be going to Crystal Beach with all our friends," we'd cry.

"What for? Amusement parks are pure junk, man-made. Going to market is the stuff that will help you learn about human nature and commerce," he'd insist.

"C'mon, Shel," spoke up our sweet mother, "how much did you care about commerce when you were a kid?"

"Hell, I never even knew what that word meant."

"Neither do we!" we spoke up in unison.

"Ask your mother what it means," he mumbled, leading us kids to believe he still didn't know what it meant.

Looking back we never laughed at what went on at market, but years later, while reminiscing, we'd end-up in convulsions. I guess the good life is like that —  laughter comes to those who can see humor in the most unlikely people and places.

Like Joyce today. She has reason to laugh and be delighted at how customers are clamoring for her original handmade bags, with no two bags being alike.

"But won't you eventually run out of ideas?" we've asked her.

"Will eternity run out of time?" she answers. "Do you run out of ideas when you write, Karen?"

Both her customers and bags are almost countless and unlike Dad and Mom, wouldn't the Internal Revenue just love to know how many and how much? But it's not all that it seems. Like her husband says, "There's only one purchasing line, but two more lines — one for returns and one for repairs."

Homemade sounds interesting and endearing, but is it durable? Her creations are beautiful to look at, but have you ever smelled fox fur when it's wet? Glued on feathers are eye-catching, but what happens when they start molting?

It's not unusual for one customer to buy four, five bags at a time. "I'll be back for more," they excitedly call back to Joyce."

"That's what I'm afraid of!" she kiddingly calls out to them, as she gets a whiff of maybe fox urine and a feather or two goes flying by her.

Yes, like Dad and Mom, she'll get a glimpse into human nature, a lesson in commerce and a lot of laughs. As for making money, that seems like just a little by-product — nothing to worry about, IRS.

 

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