Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Am What I Yam . . .

I love the fact that I grew up in the '50s. My memory of the milkman coming into our kitchen and looking in our icebox (which is what we called it then, even though it wasn't) to see what we needed probably sounds like a made-up story to a kid today. The milkman knew how much cottage cheese we ate, how much milk we drank, and that my mom loved buttermilk and cornbread on Sundays. Sometimes he'd wink and tell my mom he thought we needed a quart of chocolate milk. Even when I think about it now, it seems surreal. I also love the memory of the knock on the door Saturday morning that announced someone selling a sack of six glazed donuts for a quarter. What a treat that was! Without even knowing it, values were being instilled and memories being built.

My childhood was one of order and trust. Our routine wasn't elaborate, it was just orderly. We cleaned house on Saturdays, but we went to the library first. We ate dinner as a family. And there was no reading allowed at the table. The kids did the dishes and swept the kitchen floor. And then there's that sweet memory of being outside on the sidewalk playing and hearing my mom through the kitchen window saying, "Oh, Paul, let them play. I'll do the dishes." We weren't the Cleavers, but we were damn close.

Appreciating the principles that are an established part of ourselves helps us to realize how grounded we truly are. The things that have influenced us the most are not always apparent to us in our everyday lives. I think it helps to take the time to become aware of the main beliefs that guide us. All of those childhood experiences are an essential part of who I am and who I have become.

We all have quirks, we all have essentials. Take some time to think about how those came about. It can be rather enlightening.

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