What is considered precious changes from generation to generation.
During The Great Depression when people of my Godparent’s generation grew up, food and other essential living items were scarce. Consequently, they still save bits of foil and never waste a bite of food. To put food on your plate and not eat it was shameful and would lead to a marathon lecture of “there’s people starving in China” and “when I was your age we didn’t have anything to eat, we would have been happy to eat a blade of grass but no, we didn’t even have grass…”
When my parents were growing up, a long-distance phone call was a rare and precious luxury. The only time someone would call long distance in the middle of the week was if someone had died and it was unavoidable. And if you weren’t particularly fond of the deceased, you might just wait for Sunday when the rates were lower. People of my parent’s generation don’t just pick up the phone and make long distance phone calls without a second thought like most of us do.
Even though long distance is now fairly inexpensive, my parents will still wait until Sunday afternoon to call. Or if I happen to call them in the middle of the week, my mother will invariably truncate one of my many fascinating stories at my first pause for breath by saying, “Well, I know this is costing you, so I’ll get off the phone.” Click. Maybe it has more to do with my stories than the cost of the phone call.
I realized the other day that what is stuck in my mind as being more precious than it actually is, is Scotch tape. Sean is at the age where he likes to put Scotch tape on everything, so I usually dole out little pieces to him to keep him busy. The other day I looked at the tape dispenser and I thought, what’s 77 cents, why not just let him have at it and go crazy? So I handed it to him.
He clasped his grubby little hands together and got a crazed grin on his face like a drunk who was just handed a bottle of Boone’s Farm. Wreeeeeeeech! He pulled out about a 4-foot-long piece of tape and did an impromptu dance routine, whirling the sticky streamer in the air like one of those gymnasts with the long ribbons. He went back for more. I just couldn’t take it! It violated something at the very core of my being. I snatched it back from him – you just don’t waste Scotch tape!
When Sean is a grown man, what will he horde and hold precious? In our world of plenty, I can’t even imagine. I just hope it is something like Scotch tape and phone calls and not food.