Sunday, May 10, 2015

Don't rag on me

Nothing went to waste. Feed sacks were used over and over again. Twine became a replacement for rope or string or even holding up a pair of pants. A twig could help a fire along or hold a hot dog or even be a tent pole. An old pot could be a bucket or a flower pot. An old Cool Whip container became a poor woman's Tupperware or a bathtub toy. Clothes were handed down or shared. Nothing went to waste. Creativity was the norm on Neff Road.

I grabbed an old rag and wiped my granddaughter's nose. The poor thing had a terrible cold. Her little nose was red. When her mommy and other grandma came home, they grabbed the rag, looking vaguely repelled at the thought of a rag beneath the child's nose. I was a little confused. Didn't everyone use rags? We certainly did. When Dad finally wore out a t-shirt, Mom made it into rags. Wonderful rags that were soft beneath a child's dripping nose. A rag that could be wrapped around the Vicks-coated neck of a child.

Old clothing became part of my grandmother's quilts. Rags were the early hair curlers. I often had a rag held against a wound sometimes wrapped around a cube of ice. I dusted many a shelf with an old rag. Dipped them in a sudsy bucket of water when we did spring cleaning. And managed to wipe off an egg or two before they were taken to market. Dad had a rag tucked into his tackle box. Come to think of it, I believe that rags were a vital part of our everyday life. So don't rag on me.

I wonder if other people have a pile of rags stuck away on a shelf, or are rags a thing of the past or something that was used most by we farm folk? More and more, I use rags today to make my own little dent in my ecological imprint left on this earth. The old trusty rag doesn't need to be tossed. I don't need to buy it. I don't need to recycle the wrapping it comes in. Nope. This old standby has served me well over the years. It has dried my tears, comforted my runny nose, soothed my wounds and cleaned my house. What other product could be as practical and sustaining. Nope, don't rag on me. These are real treasures. Perhaps I should start a business selling old pieces of cloth!

When no one is looking, I whip out a piece of Daddy's old t-shirt and wipe his toddler's nose. I will pass on this legacy of good sense. I will teach my grandchildren what it is to be cognitive of their imprint on this world and how to be creative and practical. Rags. Memories of home, comfort and love.

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