Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Door Swings Both Ways, My Friend

I was talking with my friend, "Maude", this morning.

She said, "You inspired me."

"Really?" I asked. "What do you mean?"

So, she tells me that this weekend her sister was visiting, and as family members will do when they get together, they start reminiscing about the good old days. Maude said she had been reading my book and was showing it to her sister, when she just flipped open to a section of the book where I just happened to be talking about canning.

Maude said that the section reminded her of the gift her mother had bought her and her sisters in 1976 (the US Bicentennial) - a case of "Bicentennial" pint-sized, wide-mouthed canning jars.

"I think I still have that case, unopened, in the basement," she told her sister.

Sure enough, she went downstairs and came back up with an unopened case of canning jars.

"Mom paid $1.87 for those jars," her sister comments, pointing to the price tag that's still attached.

I'm calculating in my head - a case of canning jars, on sale, today costs $5. At their regular price, I've seen them as much as $10.

Out of curiosity, Maude says, they go on eBay to see what these jars, now a potential collector's item, would be worth, and they find a similar set listed at more than $40.

And then she tells me that she was inspired. She is not planning to sell these jars. Neither is her plan to return them to the basement and leave them unopened and preserved for another decade in the hopes of a greater profit down the road, but rather, she has decided to make some canned treat to put in the jars, to give as gifts to her family members, with a note that the jar was purchased for her, back in 1976, during the US Bicentennial, by her mother.

I suggested this canned pumpkin bread, because she said it would be a gift, and the holidays make me think of pumpkin bread for some reason ;).

I'm touched by her compliment - giving me credit for the idea - but I know this woman needed no inspiration from me. Just the fact that she had the canning jars means that she knows a thing or two about the things I discuss in my book, and in fact, she inspires me to strive to be better, to take myself and life a little less seriously, to enjoy the little things - like a late morning walk through Central Park with a couple of minutes spared for a photo-op.

And just for the sake of showing true scale, this is the rock we're standing on:

In the course of our conversation, I'm reminded that, for me, this blog, my book, the changes to our lifestyle, have never been about changing people's minds or about trying to convince others that *my* way of doing things is the *best* way of doing things, but rather, to share that this is what we're doing, and that these things have given greater meaning to our lives.

As I've said, on many occasions, there has to be more to life than just working for money (which is the predominant mind-set in our country). Maude could have sold those jars for a nice profit - or at least enough to buy her husband his quintennial pair of jeans ;). Instead she's going to make something a lot more precious - a memory in the form of some edible treat encased in a jar that was given to her as a gift during the 200th anniversary year of the birth of this country.

Someone has been inspired by all of this ... and despite her assertion, I don't think it was Maude ;).


  1. Even $10 for a case of canning jars would be amazing. In the UK I have to pay around £2 ($3) PER JAR.

  2. It seems like I've been canning for much work, but SO great in the winter time :D