Monday, October 31, 2011


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.


Pauline said...

My parents raised me on that adage, too. Love the display - and those "pumpkins" won't rot or risk being smashed in the road. Well done - you're as thrifty as we Yanks! My youngest daughter just made me proud as she filled containers with snow and put them on every shelf of her fridge for the two days they had no power. The didn't lose any food at all!

Alan G said...

Well I think your Halloween display looks just fine. Actually a wise choice showcasing the wisdom of your age - you get a fine looking overstuffed pumkin or two and also get rid of some yard trash.

And I see you posted a guard to ensure its longtivity.

Roberta S said...

Hi Pauline. True ingenuity - the snow in the refrigerator. How easy it is for common-sense solutions like that to escape the minds of intelligent human beings. I hate to admit it, but that kind of solution would probably have never entered my mind -- although it will now if I should happen to be in that predicament.

Roberta S said...

Alan, thanks for stopping for a chat. I appreciate knowing my display was not so shoddy as I had myself believing. And the guard. She was a rescue-dog and in her past life whatever was pointed her direction could not have been 'good'. When any contraption is aimed in her direction she runs for cover -- and that includes cameras. So I only got this picture because I stealthily took it through the kitchen window. (good thing I cleaned windows last week)