Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I grow old
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
My grama and I used to come to just short of blows when it came time to pay the check. We’d laugh about it, wrestling over the bill, and she’d usually win, because she’s my grama.

But not this last time. She let me pay for our dinner at a little fish shack on the pier without a peep. There’s less money in the bank now; there’s less opportunity to be generous.

Over another salmon dinner last night, this one with litwit, who’s stripping the trappings of her life down to just the essentials to make a hugely courageous move to the city where she’s always wanted to be, we got to talking about the two flavors of wealth: experiential and material.

Amassing both is entirely incompatible, I think. Too much stuff requires too much caretaking and too much expense – which means you can’t get out enough to build up your brain, body and soul with experiences.

Talking here about stuff above and beyond the material stuff you need to stay well, of course -- adequate food, shelter, clothing.

My darlin’ companion is a champion of running lean and mean. If I bring something new (and sometimes ridiculous) home (a poker table top comes to mind) -- he looks it over, says fine, now what are you going to get rid of? And expects that I will shed something of equal volume and mass.

Better now than later. My grandmother has lost most of the precious things that she gathered around her in her life – peeled off to make the transition to her new smaller digs at an assisted living facility. Just a few anchors of memory are left – photographs mostly. A few pieces of jewelry. A shrinky dink of a colt that I made her in the fifth grade.

But the memories remain, and although her short term memory is shot she can still pull up stories from her past – stories of doing, seeing, being alive.

She's a rich lady.

He who possesses little is so much the less possessed.


anniemcq said...

As I was reading this, I was nodding in total agreement. I've been thinking a lot about "stuff" lately - we have too much, and I am trying to make room and clean out, but more stuff keeps coming into our home. It completely stresses me out. But when you got to the part about your Grama keeping the shrinky dink, I kind of lost it. We have no idea how much these gifts link us to life and memory. You and your Grama are so lucky to have each other.

heather lorin said...

Yeah, the stuff. It's always difficult. What if she'd thrown away the shrinky dink? Who knew that would be one of the precious few items? How does one decide?

suttonhoo said...

(yeah, I lost it when I saw the colt too, anniemcq.)

Sara said...

This is such a beautiful shot of her.

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