Home Entertainment, or “How to Survive When You’re Broke”

img_0019This image is an original oil painting by my grandmother, Gladys Parker. You can read more of her poetry and learn all about this amazing woman at her blog, The Rock of Gibraltar.

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is supposed to be about sharing our best cost cutting secrets to help you get through these tough economic times. I must confess – I have no cost cutting tid bits. I’m kind of like Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar.  I spent the first 24 years of my adult life living hand to mouth. When you’re always broke, and always poor, you don’t think about how to cut costs. You think about how to answer the phone when the bill collectors call. You think about how you’re going to buy a week’s worth of groceries on the measly nineteen dollars you have left over in your checking account, after you paid your light bill (late) so you could have power for a few more days.

We ate alot of grilled cheese sandwiches and canned applesauce, y’all. I don’t want to think about it, much less type anything about how I did it. I just did it.

So. Here’s my spin on this topic. I give to you the words of the wisest woman I’ve ever been privileged to know – my grandmother, Gladys Parker. She raised her three children, on her own, during the great depression.

One of her favorite expressions was “making do”. As in, “we just had to make do”. She was an expert at making do.

To say she was tough is an understatement. She had to be. And in living her life, she learned to appreciate, to revel in, the little things around her. She entitled this poem “Home Entertainment” because, truly, this is how she entertained herself. Not by spending money on movies, or dinners or in the shopping malls. She looked out of her window and marveled at the creatures and beautiful sights that were there. And then she wrote about it, or painted it, and in doing so, shared a bit of herself with the world.

HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Interesting, the things that I see
Looking out over my balcony.
Squirrels are running and playing today
Up and down their little highway.

Amid the trees – most limbs are bare
And not quite touching everywhere.
For the little gaps they care not at all
They take their jump and almost fall.

Two of them jump with great ease
Like a pro on the flying trapeze.
Another is running – then turns around,
Sizing things up ’til a new way is found.

The last one comes to try his hand,
Jumped right over – where did he land?
On a branch that bent far, far down
He nearly fell to the ground!

It’s fun to watch these dare-devils play
And beautiful birds that come this way.
Hadden Hall is the place to be
On the penthouse floor up in the trees.

Gladys Parker
January 2001