Friday, August 28, 2009

Kitchen Sink Wisdom

"For most of us, no one provided a more vital link to
our heritage and family history than our grandparents.
The wisdom of our elders is irrefutable."
Jack Levine*

Dad slept in this morning. Sweetie was working in his office. My Romeo cat slept on the back of the couch where I sat with the computer on my lap. The house was quiet. I used the time to check my email and catch up on my favorite blogs. I was particularly delighted by Dani's story at Three Sister's Spirit. You really must go read the tale she told about one woman's less than well-kept home. I laughed out loud and knew that on any given day it might be me whose house looks vandalized. I admit I'm not the best housekeeper in the world.

In her post, Dani's went on to share this piece of her great-grandmother's wisdom: "If you do nothing else each day, at least make sure your kitchen sink is clean and shining, and keep some fresh flowers by the faucet. "

It got me to thinking. I have clear memories of spending time with both my grandmothers. Yet I don't remember any Grammy-isms that made a life-long impression on me. Or mom-isms for that matter. All morning I wracked my brain trying to recall some piece of (grand)parental wisdom. I was blank. For sure my mom said more than once to my sisters and I "If you don't stop that right now I'm going to turn this car around" - what mom hasn't? And she threatened us with bodily harm if we didn't keep our hands to ourselves. Although Dad reminded us to keep mad money (25 cents) in our wallet in case we needed to call home in an emergency "Be prepared" was more a Girl Scout slogan than family motto.

On the way to our weekly lunch with my sister I asked Dad about this. In typical fashion he declared he had no thoughts on the subject. Apparently neither he nor his mother, or my mother used catchy little phases in their child rearing. My sisters agreed. Other than remembering mom's constant desire for "peace and quiet" there was nothing that rang a bell with either of them. Okay, so I was raised by parents who obviously never read Poor Richard's Almanac or Aesop's Fables. I guess I learned more from their actions than their words.

Not quite willing to let the subject go, I began to ponder what words of wisdom I left with my children. Were there any? Other than my underwear neurosis, I can't remember anything in particular. For many years I had a thing about wearing mismatched underwear. It's a take off on the "always wear clean underwear in case you're in an accident" advice. For a time in my life it made perfect sense to me to think that if I was in an accident and paramedics had to cut my clothes off to perform some kind of life-saving technique, everything would come to a screeching halt, my life hanging by a thread, as the EMTs realized my bra and panties did not match and lost all concentration. Perhaps it's way too much information but I can honestly say that today I don't give my undies a whole lot of thought. I am pleased to admit that should I ever need their help emergency technicians will concentrate on my blood pressure and pulse rate more than my fruit of the looms. Does this make me a grown up?

I worry that I have not left my children words to live by. I am concerned that I have failed my granddaughter in some way. I am going to have to give this subject some more serious thought. I need to come up with some Mary-isms so that the people I love will have something to remember me by. Oh, I'm sure they'll remember me fondly (she said smugly). I just want to be sure when they remember me it's as a wise woman full of deep thoughts not some nut case whose undies don't match!

What about you? What wisdom did your grandmother leave for you? What do you say to your kids/grandkids? Feel free to help me out here!

I think I'll go stand in the kitchen and smell the roses.
Merry ME

P.S. You might have already noticed but the picture above was totally staged! I tried to make it look like Dani's. I used a vertical shot so you couldn't see the clutter on either side of the counter!

*Grandmother's wisdom lights our path today
By JACK LEVINE, Published September 10, 2006


Fire Byrd said...

I can't remember particular sayings, but I can remember my mother telling me that being a friend to someone is about being pleased to be seen at their side. She told me this after I'd been moaning about a friend not looking as well dressed as me and my feeling self conscious about being seen with her. She ended by saying I wasn't a very good friend if that's all I could offer in the way of friendship. A lesson well learnt and never forgotten

Anonymous said...

Mom -- you told me "hickies are a sign of no self control," words I'll never forget. ;)