When the elderly reminisce about childhood, there are always those of us that had to walk miles to school – uphill both ways. And then there are those of us, who with too few resources, learned long and early to ‘make do’. That is where I come from.
As a child, if a thing was needed and couldn’t be got, my parents made do through resourceful substitution of unrelated materials – a practice newly renamed ‘recycling’.
A quick and simple example is the bits of horse harness leather my Dad used to repair the plastic straps that so quickly broke on my new sandals.
And I laugh remembering the day, as a youngster, I mixed up precious sugar, and butter, and flour for cookies – and then, when I went to add the eggs – Oh My God, there were no eggs.
What to do. What to do. There had to be a fix. No one could for one moment consider throwing out those costly ingredients that I had already so deliberately blended.
I was sick, and yes, I was horrified.
But my Mother remained her usual calm self and simply scooped a cup of snow from a fluffy drift by the outside stoop and added it to the ingredients.
“Do we need to pray for a miracle?” I asked immediately reflecting on the Biblical tale of the water that turned into wine.
“It probably wouldn’t do any harm,” she said, with a laugh.
I didn’t consider praying about it, but maybe my Mother did. Maybe she prayed for a ‘water-wine’…I mean ‘snow-egg’ miracle. I’ll never know cause I never asked. Still irregardless, something special happened that day because those sugar cookies were some of the best that I have ever made.
And so, raised in this environment, I quite smugly consider myself a journeywoman in the industrial art of Making-Do.
And this Halloween, I needed to be.
Last week I made the dreaded trip to town to buy a pumpkin. Usually grow my own but this year, I forgot to plant pumpkins.
And so, for probably the first time in my life, I was on the hunt to find and purchase a lovely fat orange pumpkin.
But all I found was one store with a bin of about 8 pumpkins. They were not orange, they were dusky brackish brown. On many stem root was so advanced that the wizened and blackened stems has committed hari-kari by diving into the mouldy and blackened interior of their relevant pumpkin cadavers.
With Halloween a week away, there was nothing in that bin with a hope to retain the slightest semblance to a pumpkin for five days – so back home I went – empty-handed.
But we can make do. Yes we can. So here is my Halloween display for this year. It’s not all I hoped it would be, but then, Halloween is supposed to be a bit morbid, but not quite so morbid as those pumpkin cadavers they were selling in town.