Self Reliance is as Self Reliance Does
There are degrees to everything and self reliance is no exception. Self reliance is as self reliance does, you know. You may be self reliant to different levels if you are able to fix your own car or just change the oil. You’ll be a bit more self reliant when you learn how to grow your own food than you would be if you merely cooked your own meals. But still, you would be somewhat self reliant. These things you learn to do yourself can free you from needing a mechanic, spending money on simple car maintenance or from spending excessive amounts of money eating out or even shopping for food. Every little bit counts towards being self reliant.
Civilizations lost without the simple salad spinner?
Tom and I have learned that self reliance can be awfully funny, too. Especially when it comes to how others view self reliance. I’ll explain what I mean.
We have friends (we shall call them Frank and Fran) who swear the world as we know it is coming to an abrupt and bitter end and we need to prepare ourselves for the worst. They have put becoming as self reliant as possible on their list of the most important things to do and they’re serious too! They’ve taken gun safety and shooting lessons, hunting lessons (complete with learning how to dress a kill in the field and butcher it) and they’ve been searching for a large piece of land on which to build a “compound” of sorts for their extended family. Their plan is to build several dwellings for the various families and to fence the whole thing in to keep the “rabble” out.
That’s all fine and good for them, but they want us, meaning Tom and me, to join them on their compound! Well, we are the most self reliant people they know. Of course they would want us there! We’ll be of great help to them in growing food, preserving it, cooking it and then there’s the sewing and repairing of clothing, making of quilts and other household items plus fixing anything that breaks. Good deal for them, don’t you think? Oh, did I mention they know virtually nothing about those things which Tom and I take quite for granted that all real self reliant people should know? That may be why they want (need?) us to join them.
Did you know salt and pepper keeps us from being savages?
I wouldn’t mind so much except that we went on vacation with them once. That was a learning experience! They came only for the weekend while we stayed for the whole week at a lovely cabin type timeshare up in the mountains somewhere in Virginia. These people are ultra high-powered execs in corporate America and simply don’t have time to vacation. Apparently it’s too stressful for them to relax on vacation for longer than a few days!
Huh? Yeah, I don’t get it either.
So, there we were with these folks. Being our usual frugal selves, we brought tons of easily prepared food, because I don’t particularly like to eat out and definitely not every day of a vacation. We brought a good assortment of food because we knew they were rather of the picky sort. What did they bring? Liquor…tons of it…more than four people should consume, in my opinion, in a month! (I wondered at this point if they wished me to learn how to make vodka when the world comes to its demise, but I didn’t bother asking.) I don’t drink, but Tom will just to be “sociable”. (Guess that makes me anti-social?)
Drink of the Gods?
So, there I was making a simple meal when Fran jumps up and says she’ll help. There really was not much for her to do, but I assigned her the super easy–or so I thought– task of making a tossed green salad. I suspected we were in trouble when she looked through every single cabinet in the small kitchen and she said, totally dismayed, “They don’t have a salad spinner?”
Frank gaped. “No salad spinner? Then we can’t have salad,” he shrieked.
“No, no need to panic. I’ll improvise,” Fran said, her voice agitated.
Tom and I exchanged looks and just barely kept from laughing. “Hmm, I guess this isn’t the time to tell you we didn’t bring coffee. Glory and I don’t like it,” Tom said.
Frank almost dropped his drink and Fran gasped in horror. “No coffee! What are you, barbarians?” Frank said.
No coffee equals barbarians
I always thought Tommy a bit barbaric but I didn’t think I was. You learn something new every day, don’t you?
Tommy is special. He always knows when it’s best to rub salt in a wound.
Oh, yes, salt…that reminds me. After Fran used almost an entire roll of paper towels to dry the salad greens in lieu of the spinner, we fixed dinner and sat down to eat.
Frank looked around and said, “Where’s the salt and pepper?”
“Oh, we never bring that with us on vacation. This is as close to camping as we get…our kind of roughing it,” I say, jokingly.
To say they were not pleased, well…understatement comes to mind, but so does the beginning of the end. You’d think they lost their first born child.
The next morning we found that Frank had gone into town, a good fifteen minute drive away, to get coffee for himself and his wife. He plunked down a disposable set of salt and pepper shakers. “We don’t need to live like savages,” he said.
Savages? Okay then!
After they left for home, leaving us in peace, I turned to Tom and said, “Perhaps we should have told them.”
“What? That they’re not gonna make it when all hell breaks loose?” he said.
“No, I don’t have the heart to tell them that. I mean we should tell them that we can’t grow coffee nor black pepper in Pennsylvania and I have no clue where the nearest salt mine is,” I replied.
Every time we think of that, we laugh all over again. Yep, self reliance is as self reliance does. It’s just too bad some people don’t have a clue what that entails.
Salad spinner photo
Glory Lennon is a frugal homemaker, avid gardener and accomplished writer who believes it’s better to laugh than it is to cry. When she’s not at the keyboard writing a novel, short story or an article about her favorite plant of the day, you can find her at Glory’s Garden or in the backyard where she grows vegetables, trees, shrubs, vines, herbs and flowers of all kinds.