April 04, 2012 - I'm sure Webster would define thrift, cheap, saving, frugal and being economical each differently, but to me they are very similar.
I'm not recommending everyone go through a depression like that of the 1930s, but it was necessary to put those adjectives into use. Hard times bring out the savings habit.
Wasting food was not allowed. If mother put it in front of us, we ate it. "Clean up your plate" was a command, not a suggestion.
Oh, how I hated . . . oops, aren't supposed to hate anything, though terribly dislike doesn't see strong enough for the way I felt about rutabagas.
Egg plant and head cheese sandwiches were also on the short list of food dislikes, too.
Some Depression thinking should have been used during recent cold mornings when I'd see people wasting gas (money) warming their car while getting ready to start a workday.
I think more people could suffer a cold butt with gasoline over $4 a gallon.
Anyone visiting my so-called work area in the basement would see what I mean by savings and thrift. I'm Jim El'Cheapo.
I have about 16 sq. ft. of pegboard on the walls lined with baby food jars of screws, nails, nuts, bolts, tacks, brads and washers.
It's a treasurer trove of miscellanea. In the same area is a metal cabinet with numerous drawers filled with door knobs, hinges, c-clamps, etc. You never know when you'll need a certain doorknob.
I also have a collection 2x4s in varying lengths, wire, lots of wipe-up rags, and an endless assortment of paint cans, some full, some partially used and some solidified.
It's just the way we were reared. Waste not, want not.
Who buys toothbrushes any more, when the dentists give them to patients. I only discard soap bars when they get to the see-though stage.
I have given up darning my holey socks, but not without a few tears.
With the proliferation of dollar stores, I have reduced the number of times I clean a paint brush.
As the economy improved, my financial reasoning changed. There was a time in the 1980s when I traded cars every couple years. I had more than one suit of clothes, my necktie count went to over 200, I went from Three Feathers whiskey to Canadian Club and have two riding mowers.
However, the 2000s have brought my thinking and needs back to what I call comfortable ranges.
The word "comfort" has replaced the word need, at least until that 'recession' devil alights on my shoulder again.
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ē Don't sweat the petty things. Don't pet the sweaty things.
ē I'm not your type. I'm not inflatable.
ē Corduroy pillows are making headlines.
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With so much being written and spoken about school kids being so involved with i-pads, etc. I wondered aloud to my 12-year-old grand twins if they are taught spelling.
After all, Spell-check is everywhere, I'm told. Well, in fact, spelling is a factor in their writing at school.
With that thought I reminded myself of the spelling test I gave those looking for reporter work. Our test had 11 words, which my recently departed friend Jim Fitzgerald gave me with the promise, "if they get those right they can spell everything:"
Auction, yesterday, opinion, candidate, potential, consistent, superintendent, prerogative, insensitive, prescription, peculiar and calendar.
Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.