Friday, August 19, 2011

Little Gifts of Gold

You know how it's said that it's the little things in life that make us happy?

One of the thoughts I came home with from my trip was how much "stuff" I have that I don't need, but yet I keep buying more.....something I was well aware of before I left. This reminded me of a time in my past....

When Mark and I were first married we lived next door to an elderly couple, the husband's name was Wayne, but I can't remember the wife's name....anyway.... This couple had been married forever, at least 50 years as they were both in their late 70's, but they never had children of their own. They had built a small house but yet owned the largest piece of land in the neighborhood. They invited me in a few times and it was walking into a time warp. The decor was as if I walked onto the set of an "I Love Lucy" episode in the 40's or 50's. I didn't think too much of it at the time but for some reason I thought about them yesterday as I was reflecting on this subject.

It was apparent that once Wayne and his wife built and furnished their home, unless something broke they felt no need to buy more, or new, just to have more or to have something new. They also kept everything they owned looking new and immaculate. What a concept!

I'm also reminded of one of my trips to Italy. I was lucky enough to stay with an Italian caterer to learn some cooking and was shocked to see her use pots and pans that are barely "Goodwill" starndards in this country! Here I was using only "top" quality cookware and quite a snob (at the time) about it. She and her family still used plates and cups with chips on them to eat and drink from....why throw something out because of a little chip?

I came home never putting importance on a kitchen remodel with all the bells and whistles of "granite" countertops, or a "Wolfe" professional range or "Sub Zero" fridge because of this experience, in fact, I've kind of rebelled against it. Good food doesn't require a large or expensive kitchen. (Another habit I adopted from that trip was to hang dry much of my laundry, even to this day, and that was over 10 years ago!)

I would love to rid myself of everything and anything that doesn't hold a place near and dear to my heart, or that doesn't make me happy at just the sight of it's beauty....whatever that is. Easier said than done huh? In this culture, in these times, "more is more". Personally I grew up with the fear of "not enough" and it can creep in and affect my actions in many ways.

Owning too much out of fear of not having enough. Not enough "stuff" includes food!

This past week I ws lucky enough to recieve a few gifts from friends. Little gifts I couldn't have appreciated more if they were nuggets of pure gold! A beautiful bracelet I admired on the wrist of my new Swedish friend Stina. So generous of her to present me with it at the end of RKC Level 2, knowing how much I liked it, I was truly touched. (Stina attended RKC Level 1, and then returned less than a week later to complete and pass RKC Level 2! Serious Stud-ette!) A bottle of Hungarian roasted pumkin seed oil from "the hostess with the mostest" Judit, that I used it in a salad I made with some homegrown golden baby tomatoes given to me by one of my star students, Maribel....I love homegrown veggies!

Thank you for all of my golden gifts, much appreciated by a yet another golden lesson of "more is NOT more". What are some of your favorite little gifts of gold?

(PS Wayne found out he was sick and bought a brand new Lincoln for his wife so she would have a new, safe and reliable car to drive when he was gone.....she ended up being diagnosed with cancer and died before he did....he followed her less than 2 months afterwards....)


Dawn said...

I completely agree with not needing so much "stuff". You can't take it with you in the end!

leslie said...

Great thoughts. I've heard this: Have nothing you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. So true. And I love it when stuff is at the intersection of useful AND beautiful, like my nice pots & pans. :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


You can't even take it on vacation with you! lol

It's interesting that if my house caught on fire and I had less than 5 minutes to take anything I wanted it would have been differnt 10 years ago than it is it a bad thing that my computer would top the list? I'll have to think about that.

Tracy Reifkind said...


At one time I had every pot and pan All Clad made, including many pieces in copper (so "Martha", lol), now the only All Clad I use are my two favorite, 6 qt saute pan, 4 qt pot (copper), coming in a close 3rd would be my 3 qt saute....none of them come before my pressure cookers!

It's the "beauty" part that gets me because I find beauty is so much.

Maribel said...

Great perspective.

Both my husband and I grew up very low class (poor), and as a result we are very different about "stuff".

Him: keeps everything! "just in case". Can't throw anything out. He's been without so he wants to hold on to everything.

Me: If I don't use, get rid of it. Eh, it's just stuff. I've been without, so I know I don't "need" it.

I do have my weakness though, cooking supplies. I "need" them. I'll have to re-evaluate "need" when it comes to them.

"star student"? whoa! I'm so honored...and now I can't slack off (not that I even want to).

Tracy Reifkind said...


I almost included my thoughts about how our childhood experiences bring up how we hang on or let go of "stuff.

I also come from a poor background and as a result a family of hoarders (no disrespect meant), so I too have adopted the habit of hoarding. One of my aunts was the worst and both of her children hate clutter! They both live minimalistically because of all of their mom's "stuff! (but was "good stuff"!)

I am so much better than I've ever been, in fact when, and/or if you ever get an invitaion to my home then you'll know I'm cured! lol

Anonymous said...

My 92 year old dad refuses to throw anything out. Most of his furniture is held together with duct tape, glue, whatever. He is a true child of the depression.


Everything Strength

Tracy Reifkind said...


92? zowie!

I think it's one thing to never throw things away because they can still be used, but quite another to never throw away things collected for the sake of "having" and never used.

These days many, women especially (including myself), will buy things and keep them with the sales tags still attached for months if not years....that's crazy! (I'll have to fix that!)

Diana said...

I love how you made a connection to "I Love Lucy"....everybody loves it!! Although I still reign as Queen of the Lucy Fans!!

Material things are just that....things. It's the memories of people and events through out our lives that I love the most. If my house was completely empty with the exception of the hubs, Jared, and the cats.....okay and my bells, I'd be just fine!

Tracy Reifkind said...


yep, let's not forget the bells! Although I look forward to a life without cat hair on eveything, and the day I get to have a Christmas tree again!