13 September 2008

Grandmothers, Vacations, and Water Conservation

I think I was about 6 or 7 years old when my grandmother took me on my first vacation. She made arrangements for us to go on a bus trip to the beach. Like most kids, I fell in love with the seashore. It wasn't long after we came home that I began asking if we could go to the beach again next summer.

The conversation went something like this:

my 7-year-old self: "When can we go to the beach again?" (probably in a desperate, begging, whining tone)

my ever-patient grandma Millie: "Oh, I don't know. Vacations are expensive. We'll have to pinch our pennies and save up."

me: "How do we do that?"

grandma Millie: "Well, we can save money by turning off lights and water when we aren't using them. Like, when you brush your teeth, you can turn the water off in between, while you are brushing. That'll help save money."

me: "So, if I promise to turn the water off when I'm brushing my teeth, can we go to the beach again next summer?"

Well, that moment has always stuck with me. And so, I learned very early to cut back in those small ways, like turning off the running water while brushing my teeth, and turning off lights in rooms I'm not using. It may not be much, but it helps. And now that I'm paying my own water and electric bills, I've come to fully appreciate that little lesson my grandma taught me.

Grandma Millie kept up her end of the bargain, too. We did go to the seashore the following year. And for the next couple of summers. Even when she wasn't well enough to take me herself, she made sure I got there one way or another.

It wasn't until many years later that I found out that neither grandma Millie, nor Nan (my other grandmother who also made sure I got my yearly trip), liked the beach very much at all. Such are the sacrifices grandmother make for their grandchildren.

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