How does it happen that we become so much more ‘ourselves’ as we mature? Every day I seem to feel the tug of my Scottish ancestry grow stronger. The Scots are rightfully well known for being thrifty, and I seem to find new ways each day to squeeze the utmost out of a dollar! It seems that our entire country is rediscovering the concept of frugality.
I grew up with parents who carefully considered how their hard earned money would be spent. Impulse buying was a totally unknown concept. I remember vividly the day my father bought a new adding machine without doing comparison shopping. My mother was so appalled that she was momentarily speechless. Didn’t matter that his old adding machine had quit working right in the middle of getting his taxes ready to file. He had actually marched into Bensons and just bought it on the spot. I don’t think she ever quite recovered from the shock.
Mama believed in buying quality, even if it meant scrimping and saving. Some things were completely non-negotiable. Twice a year visits to the dentist and sturdy shoes were top priorities. Sturdy shoes meant only one thing- saddle shoes. To this day, I shudder when I see saddle shoes. But I’m sure that my feet are the better for having had sensible shoes in their early days. And I know, without a doubt, that my teeth are healthy today only because of the care they had in childhood.
With all this emphasis on saving and spending wisely, my parents also taught me the importance of looking out for others. I would tag along when mama took a bushel basket of apples or a limit of razor clams to someone who had hungry children to feed. When someone was sick or injured, she took jars of soup. We had a neighbor lady who loved baking bread, and she brought us at least one loaf every week. Clothing that someones’ girls had outgrown became our newest and most favorite things. Resources were not something that families jealously guarded- they all shared.
Sharing, giving generously, knowing that life has ups and downs for everyone- these are values that seem to flourish more in small tightly-knit communities. By living in a small town you learn that we are all dependant upon each other. Grays Harbor has a long history of being generous. The people who need help from time to time are our friends, our neighbors, and they are the ones who would be the first to give help if we need it ourselves.
The past several years have been especially hard on many families- jobs are scarce and children are hungry. Our area Food Banks, Senior Centers, and programs that provide meals are all struggling to ease the burden of hunger. When families cannot afford food, they cannot afford heat, visits to the dentist, or even saddle shoes. Coastal Harvest is a food distribution organization located in Hoquiam which supplies food for absolutely no charge to over 50 centers in seven counties. This year Coastal Harvest has a goal to distribute over four million pounds of food! Thanks to their dedication and frugality, families can put food on the table. Children can go to school ready to learn, because their tummies aren’t growling.
This can happen because you are generous.
Coastal Harvest is having its’ fourth annual ‘Music by the Sea’ Benefit on March 19th. Do you have something to donate? Coastal Harvest is in need of auction items- whether hand made or store bought, ‘experiences’ like a weekend trip or dinner, gift certificates, or cash. All will be most gratefully received, and the money raised will be put to the best possible use right here at home.
The event takes place on March 19th at the Quinault Beach Resort, and your reservations need to be made by March 9th. The cost is $40.00 per person, or you may reserve a table for 8 people for $400.00. The Quinault Beach resort is offering exceptionally low room rates for the evening, so you can combine a festive evening with an overnight stay at the beach! I promise you that this will be a wonderful evening of music, fine food, friendship and generous spirits. Please call Coastal Harvest at 532-6315 to make your reservation or to donate to the auction- or both!
Barbara Bennett Parsons, from the Hoquiam Farmers Market.