As a kid growing up, as a family we didn’t have much. There was hunting, fishing and gardening to make up the short fall of the money we lacked. We picked and froze fruit, canned and we even kept potatoes in the basement kind of like a root cellar.
We fixed up old wagons to haul firewood and sap. Most of the tractors, trucks and loaders were multi-purpose. We used bread bags to keep our feet dry in the winter. We drove whatever vehicles that ran and used whatever tools we could find. We made due with what we had.
I am still like that in a lot of ways. I drive a car with 230,000 miles on it. I use an old air compressor that has a broken pressure cutoff switch. I use an old rake that was left in the garage when I bought the house. I wear my sneakers until they fall apart, literally.
This kind of a mindset asks the question, how can I get done what I need to do with what I have?
This past weekend at a dance event, my demo partner and I needed to practice the choreographer of a routine that we were to do as part of the JT Swing team. On the first night we found a nice practice room with a wood dance floor. The second day we went back to the same room but were chased out by a couple of pros running through their own routine.
We spent the next 10 minutes going from room to room on two floors of the hotel looking for another open room with dance floor and found nothing. There were a lot of open meeting rooms but no wood floors and carpet just does not work.
There was one room though that was of interest. There was dance floor on carts stacked up in the room. We went in, pulled out three sections of flooring (each one about 4’ by 4’) and made ourselves a nice 4’ by 12’ practice area, perfect for what we needed. Twenty minutes later, routine practiced and mission accomplished, we put the sections of floor back in their racks, no one the wiser.
The only casualty was a little bit of skin lost re-racking the flooring. Fingers have a way of getting in the way.
It was very common as I was growing up watching my grandparents reuse everything. They lived through the Great Depression of 1929 to 1939. My grandmother used to save the wax paper bags from cereal boxes to wrap up food and sandwiches. For them reduce, reuse and recycle was a mandatory way of life. They did not have the money to be any other way.
It seems like everyone has more money and things now than twenty to thirty years ago so the need to make due is becoming a lost art. For me though, I still live by the saying it is not about how much money you make but about how much you keep.
And by the way, the wax paper out of cereal boxes STILL works great for wrapping up food. Still making due.