Guilt-Free Disposal

I grew up with the saying Waste not, want not, as I’m sure many of my generation did. Nothing that’s in good condition was ever thrown away. Consequently, we have accumulated many things that are no longer being used. But, hey! You never know when something will come in handy. Right?

Clothing is a prime example. Any item that is not in absolute tatters is kept. Always good for patching clothing or quilts, or for making “poked” mats — if you’re so inclined!

Several years ago, I was looking through some discarded clothing. I forget exactly why. Anyway, there, in perfect condition, was a short, quilted cotton jacket. It had a Mandarin-style collar, with toggle-and-loop front closure.

The jacket was a lilac colour. Large butterfly patterns adorned each side of the front in colours of purple, dark red, pink, and various shades of green. Smaller butterflies were scattered over the rest of the jacket. I suppose, when I bought it, it must have appealed to me, but God knows why!

Now, I knew it would never be worn again. Nor would it ever be used for patching! The question was, how to get rid of it without feeling guilty? I sat and studied it for a few minutes. Then inspiration hit me!

Today, in a little country cabin, you can see a pair of lilac-coloured oven mitts, decorated with large, rather garish butterflies, beside the camp stove. Meanwhile, small butterflies happily adorn several potholders which are hanging on the wall. Oh yes! The potholders are lilac coloured too.

One more discarded item properly recycled and put to good use. Maybe there’s a logical reason for not throwing things out after all — some things! Now, I wonder what other clever, guilt-free disposal ideas I can dream up?

© Fay Herridge
Published in Canadian Stories, Aug/Sep 2004

Non-fiction 1

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