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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Making Do

'Making Do.' Chuck describes 'making do,' how people dealt with needs when the cash flow failed.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - My Dad -- Arley Hinman

By Chuck Hinman

'Making Do'

In the 1930's as I was growing up on a farm in southeastern Nebraska, I don't know how many times I heard Mom say, as she was visiting with a neighbor friend on the party line, "Well, we just have to make do ...... bla, bla, bla ......"

What in the world is this 'make do' talk? It's terrible grammar!

Making do happened when the cash flow failed

A series of catastrophic events in the 1930's created the need for 'making do.' You residents at Tallgrass Estates know what they were; you lived during The Great Depression, followed by the drought, the dust bowl days, and a succession of heretofore unheard of natural disasters created by insect plagues. Who would have dreamed that locusts and bug-eyed grasshoppers would get in on the act and make farmers scramble to keep from losing it -- and on and on!

But what did people mean -- 'Make do'? What Mom and others implied when they 'made do' was their ingenuity took over when the cash flow failed, so they could meet the weekly needs of their meager existence.

Yours and our children's and grandchildren's generations haven't a clue of what it is like to make do.

Egg money provided weekly needs

Here's a classic example of how Mom made do.

Mom had to carefully balance her grocery list (to the penny) each week so the cost of the groceries didn't exceed the money she got from the eggs she accumulated to sell on Saturday night. She called it trading.

It was trading eggs for money to buy the weekly needs and hopefully have a little left over for frivolities like piano lessons or some needed clothing item.

The Saturday night when Mom was a nickel short

One Saturday night she was able to get everything she needed except a nickel box of Morton's salt. We were completely out of salt. And yes, she had checked all the salt shakers and there was no salt in the house!

Ding Ding - a 'make do' is about to be born!

"Chuuuuck! Come help Momma!"

Salt for the house from the block the cows licked

She handed me a little pan and an ice pick and told me to go down in the barnyard and chip a chunk of salt off the block of salt in the feed trough that the cows licked. YUK! Are we that poor? Cows breathe stink, Momma! Don't salt mine!

I did as she said and when I got back she poured some water over the chunk of salt, put it on the kitchen wood stove and slowly boiled it until it was completely dissolved. Then she poured the salty water in a pitcher and used it during the next week to salt whatever needed salting.

That, my readers, is 'making do.'

Written by Chuck Hinman. Emailed: Friday, 24 October 2008.

Writer's note added later:

Sunshine after rain

Little did I realize when I was glibly writing this article five years ago that I would have family members who would be faced with 'making do' in their lives. Although I have had no really serious experience in the art of 'making do' like my parents experienced, I can offer in the way of encouragement these five words from the Bible (I believe) "and this too shall pass."

So take heart, dear ones and know that there has always been sunshine after the rain. You WILL laugh again -- the Hinman family did and so will you. God bless you whoever and wherever you are!

Emailed Sunday, 5 September 2010
Editor's Note: "And this too shall pass" is NOT in The Bible. The phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets. ~RHS
A second added note:

Chuck's writing in three newspapers

Some of my readers may not know that this old Nebraska farm boy's 'jabberings' are carried on a regular basis in three newspapers around the country.

Who would have dreamed Chuck Hinman would have anything to say of interest to anyone, when all his life he has been used to family and friends saying "Sit down and SHUT UP!?"

Reader describes Chuck as a gem, a jewel

Here's what a reader of Bartlesville Oklahoma's Examiner-Enterprise said about my column in "Off the Cuff":
"I would just like to say that Chuck Hinman is a gem, a jewel. And his article in today's Examiner Enterprise titled "Making Do" was one of the best articles I have read in any publication. Please keep his column coming. They're very, very interesting."
Chuck's response to being praised

Hey momma, this is Chuck. Can I get up yet -- I have to go to the bathroom real bad. I won't talk.

Tell Jesus and Connie and Mary Ann "Hi" for me.

Chuck Hinman

Emailed Sunday, 19 September 2010 with the subject line: 202 - Take a Bow Chuck Hinman

This story was posted on 2014-06-22 04:10:59
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