Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Little Bit of Yourself

I (Donis) belong to an outfit called P.E.O., which is a philanthropic organization providing educational grants, loans, and scholarships for women. It's a worthwhile organization, but I am not the most diligent of members. Mostly because I am one of the more unsociable members of the human race. But I try to contribute where I can.

My local group has decided to hold a garage sale for their fundraiser this year. They have done this before, a few years ago, and I took myself in hand and spent the day working the sale. Sadly, it made me realize that I am not in peak physical condition, since I apparently don’t even have the strength to stand upright for several hours at a time without exhausting myself. Even so, I enjoyed it, more or less. We were fortunate that the sale was held that year during the first relatively cool weekend we’ve had here in the Phoenix area since last spring. If it had been held the weekend before, we would have all died of heat stroke. As it was, the temp reached the low 90s. But the workers and the buyers were all Arizonans and thus already desiccated and leathery, so we thought the weather was swell. This year the sale will be at the end of October, so we may be lucky enough to have low 90s again.

I will probably spend the previous couple of weeks going through my house in order to find things to contribute to the sale. I will be really proud of myself if I'm able to part with as much as I did the first time. However, I have my doubts.

It’s not that I’m a pack rat. No, I’m not. Really. It’s just … well, out of sight, out of mind. I’ve had other things to do. I’ve been distracted. And the dog ate my homework. I think ‘stuff’ just multiplies all on its own without your having to do anything, especially if you’ve lived in the same place for 25 years.

While going through my stuff, I've discovered that I’m quite sentimental about objects, though, which actually surprises me somewhat. What possible good can come of saving an item that you enjoyed when you were twelve, especially when it’s so used and beaten up that it’s hardly recognizable? I admit I find it very difficult to part with something that was given to me by someone I love. I agonized for a while before parting with a stuffed elephant my husband gave me, even though it has been sitting on a chair gathering dust for years. Out it goes, and lo and behold, I have my chair back!

A gift is one thing, but a handmade item is something else. A thing that someone created with her own hands has a kind of magic to it. There is an essence of the maker woven into the object itself, a bit of her soul imbued into it. I can’t possibly get rid of the little picture of vegetables that my sister embroidered for me, or the crocheted rainbow wall hanging that the other sister made. I even have a cigar box that youngest sister glued macaroni all over and spray-painted gold when she was in second grade (she's in her 60s now). I have kept several dresses that my mother made for me in the 1960s and ’70s. I couldn’t get into them with a shoehorn. Or a building crane. My mother is gone, now, but her craft and skill reaches across the decades and speaks to me as if she were still here.

I have the same soul-magic feeling about any craft or work of art. A piece of the creator is in it, and ought to be respected and admired for that, if nothing else. Even food that is cooked from scratch out of the goodness of someone’s heart is better for your health and well-being.


Anonymous said...
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Anna said...

It's sad to see that this excellent and friendly forum has been afflicted with spam the past few days. Is there any way such posts can be caught and trashed---if not before publication, at least shortly thereafter?

Donis Casey said...

Thanks, Anna, I agree. It took me a little while, but I finally discovered how to remove the spam.

Aline Templeton said...

Please, Donis, share how you do it. I hate to see these unscrupulous people making use of the site.

Donis Casey said...

Aline, on your own entries, click on the little trash can under the comment, beside the time of day.

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