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Reflections July 2016

Throw-Away Decisions

By Denton Harris

My personal opinion is all of us will be more happy and free of guilt if we learn how to hold on to the past. This includes material things that have meant so much to us as well as dear friends, relatives and even our pets.

Some youngsters were at our house the other day complaining about their folks and how they never wanted to throw anything away.

Listening to them I thought about my mama and daddy. They, too, were "keepers" who always believed everything had some future use – old clothes, shoes, all kinds of items and clothes around the house as well as tools, plows and other things in the barn or smokehouse.

I have to confess my wife and I often follow their examples. We hate to throw anything away.

My parents knew how to "fix" things. My wife knows how to sew but not like Mama. She sewed on buttons, turned collars and sleeves, darned socks, used material from flour sacks to make everything from underwear to shirts. She kept buttons, buckles and other odds and ends in a box in the top drawer of her dresser. She knew how to string beads, dye material and do countless other things to save money. My daddy had a shoe last and knew how to put on heels and half soles to make our shoes last longer. Mama made tallow from hog fat, Daddy melted it and rubbed it on the shoes to waterproof them.

Our young visitors are growing up in a "throw-away" society. Out-of-style clothes are left hanging in closets or sometimes donated. A broken chair, scarred table, worn rug are discarded and forgotten. Kids today would say turning collars and cuffs to prolong a shirt's life or darning sock heels is "gross.”

Modern society wants everything new and the latest style. Nostalgia is a forgotten emotion. In a few rare occasions people might think about one or two things they've discarded and have a fleeting moment of regret.

Unfortunately, this attitude has grown to include not only material things but sometimes even our deceased relatives who pass on and our memory of them fades away. The same is true of modern marriages. Too often they, too, become temporary. Don't you think it's ridiculous when older men – especially ones who have accumulated considerable wealth – dump their first mates and look for a younger "trophy" wife?

One of life's tragedies is elderly parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who have been abandoned in nursing homes. The only thing they have to live with are their memories.

My personal opinion is all of us will be more happy and free of guilt if we learn how to hold on to the past. This includes material things that have meant so much to us as well as dear friends, relatives and even our pets. Think about those things and people who have meant much to you over the years. They may be out of style but they should be the heart and soul of your life. I guarantee this will make you happier!

 

Denton Harris served in the 86th Infantry in World War II.

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