I am understandably obsessed by words at the moment and this morning under the shower (far away from my notebook and pen, which caused me anguish) I reflected on how words, are born, evolve, change completely and die out, rather like insects.
Not even big important words like gay. Words that can get you locked up. I mean little everyday words that become buzz-words. Recycle was the one that stuck in my head so Mr. Stroke Ed and I played with it making up pictures of what you could do with an unwanted bicycle, or did it mean having to do the washing again, or was it film of the Tour de France shown backwards. That made us giggle. Mr. Stroke Ed actually has quite a good sense of humour when you get to know him and we amuse ourselves with bits of words like a small child playing with building bricks just for the fun of smashing them down going – no that isn’t the right one.
When I was a little girl we had a word called “thrift” and being as my mother was a card-carrying Presbyterian Scot, she was a High Priestess of the Order of the Sisters of the Thrifty. Their temple was in “make do and mend” street and the morning chant was “never throw away anything that can be used again”. There was even a grace that was said at most mealtimes and despite everything I recall it now
Do not throw upon the floor, the crust you cannot eat
For many a hungry little one would think it such a treat.
Wilful waste makes woeful want and I may live to say –
“Oh how I wish I had that crust that once I threw away.”
Of course “thrifty” became rather unfashionable. In the States it is the name for a Charity Shop (I feel Charity shop sounds much kinder and makes us feel we are doing someone else a good turn rather than nabbing a bargain for ourselves and you know my addiction for Charity shops!)
In its place we got the snazzy, Italian suited young “recycle” who clicked his fingers, wore hair gel and had a girlfriend who wore Indian skirts, made her own make up from kitchen ingredients and knitted her own bread rolls.
I smile gently as I watch my mother’s ghost nodding in approval as we all make lamps out of old bottles, attempt to make papier maché logs for the fire which take 27 days to dry out and practice all her old tips – dusters are old shirts, buttons are removed, zips unpicked and nothing ever thrown out unless it is totally out of use.
(High fives Mr. Stroke Ed – hey! We did that in a shorter time and you didn’t interrupt me once! – what about I let you make me forget how to cook my dinner and end up standing in the kitchen with a saucepan in my hand wailing because I have no idea what to do with it? Deal? OK!)