Makin’ Do

When you really need an eye patch but you have a plethora of face masks, you get creative – you “make do.”

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

One of the phrases that I often heard growing up was “make do.” If you didn’t have a particular thing you needed, you got creative and you “made do.” Spending summers in rural northern Louisiana from the age of six through my college years, I got to live this life philosophy first hand, and it was very much the opposite of my life in Texas.

You see in my suburban home in Houston, I grew up as an only child. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know right there. We had tv’s in at least three rooms – and that was back when a tv was actually expensive. It was rare to have that many televisions in a home at the time, and yes, I had one in my room – complete with rabbit ears and foil on said ears. I also had a stereo with a turntable complete with an 8-track tape player. We had a microwave, a trash compactor and an ice maker. We also had four telephones in the house, and yes, I had one of those in my room as well along with a huge walk-in closet packed to the gills. I really didn’t ever leave my room except to go to school and eat. There was really no need. And best of all, we had air conditioning. We were living large.

Every summer Mother shipped me off to Mawmaw and Pawpaw’s house, and I couldn’t wait to go. You see, I had cousins there so I had kids I could play with instead of spending the summer at my parent’s office or working at the ranch. And my grandparents and I, well, we were the best of buds, which absolutely means they spoiled me rotten. Pawpaw often let me eat Double Stuff Oreos with Fanta Orange Soda for breakfast. And he always took me to town to buy me a new baby doll every summer. Not to be outdone, Mawmaw would promptly sew an entire wardrobe each summer for my new baby. I could go to bed whenever I wanted, get up whenever I wanted, and yes, eat whatever I wanted. It was the best.

As soon as summer arrived, I took off. Sometimes Mother put me on a plane; sometimes she drove me. But nonetheless, I was always ready to go.

While freedom was the operative word for summers at Mawmaw and Pawpaw’s house, luxury was not. There was one tv that blared at top volume from around 8 am until 6 pm every day – Pawpaw’s bedtime. Yes, he both went to bed and got up with the chickens at 4 am daily. Pawpaw couldn’t hear very well, and hearing aids were not an option. He would never waste money on such foolishness. But you could hear what was happening on The Price is Right from virtually any room in the house so that was handy – the early version of surround sound, I suppose. There was no radio, no stereo, no microwave and no air conditioning. There was one telephone in the hall, and Mawmaw had all of the important phone numbers scribbled on the wall next to the phone lest she forget one. Long-distance calling was a thing, so telephone calls were handled with great urgency and importance – all while standing in the hall.

There was also a garden – a huge garden – and every evening Mawmaw and I went out to pick or dig the latest harvest. This was our evening activity; not watching tv, listening to records or talking on the phone like I did at home. We collected God’s bounty, and we had meaningful conversations.

Toys were scarce so my cousins and I made our own. We put Pawpaw’s ladder on a sawhorse and made a see-saw. We found an old tire, and Pawpaw put it on a chain in the tree to make us a tire swing. We went on scavenger hunts in the sheds and found treasures galore. We made horses out of cardboard boxes. We climbed trees and pretended we were on deserted islands. We played hide and seek in the woods. We made up tall tales and started spy clubs. We used the resources we had – the ones we found – and used our imagination. We “made do,” and it was the best time ever.

Frankly “makin’ do” has made me a better person. I can problem solve more creatively than most. I can build that diorama with my kids without running to Hobby Lobby ten times. If we couldn’t find an appropriate manger for baby Jesus, we went outside, gathered up twigs and made one old school. I didn’t run to the grocery store every day. We kept a list on our refrigerator, and my babies knew that I went to the grocery store once a week only – a chore I detested and refuse to do now that they’re grown and can drive. If what they “needed” for the week wasn’t on the list, it didn’t happen that week. We just “made do.”

So, I guess it’s only natural when I needed an eye patch this week to help the ulcer on my cornea heal, I just “made do.” After all, what else am I going to do with all of these face masks anyway?

See y’all next week – on the porch!