This week our country elected a new President after a long, arduous, and sometimes stressful campaign. No two candidates could have been more opposite than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and it showed in almost every facet of their campaign cycles from the speeches they made, the debates they hammered through, and their supporters and surrogates’ TV and radio appearances. Media, and social media in particular is so immediate it was hard to escape the backlash of craziness and crassness from both sides of the issues.
I for one am glad it is over. I feel like I have been dragged through a knothole and left abandoned for dead in many ways.
As this week has progressed, I thought back to the big yard sale I had over the weekend prior to election day. The weather was beautiful, I had tons of folks with deep pockets and got a lot sold that had been sitting in my storage since closing my shop in July. I got pretty good profits on most things, but there were certain things I kind of cringed at when the customer walked down the driveway and I looked down at the small amount of money in my hand from the sale. For a moment I may even have felt taken advantage of, but the ultimate goal? Clear out more of my storage, make a bit of money to pay the house note, move on. And I was able to do just that by compromising on a few items here and there in interest of my “common good”. Each individual sale doesn’t always go my way, but the end result is always beneficial.
My favorite customer of the day came late into the afternoon. Striding quickly up the driveway with a grin, I could tell the elderly lady with a tight topknot bun on her head loved yard sales. “I hope you didn’t sell all the good stuff yet!!” she said as she rummaged through the bits and pieces of junk on one of the tables. She was dressed in a cotton skirt, pullover top and had on tennis shoes. I looked down and could tell those battered shoes had seen some days and action. I was a bit surprised not to see the usual orthopedic ones that most women her age seemed to migrate toward in their latter years for balance and security in walking.
We chatted about this and that for a few minutes as she continued to look and she told me in a chain of conversation that she had just turned 88. I was shocked. Her skin looked like that of a 60 year old, hands were young, she seemed spry and lively. “Well, I wouldn’t be telling anybody” I exclaimed and she laughed. “People ask me all the time, especially my friends, how to stay young looking and feeling. I tell them things they don’t want to hear probably”. Then she proceeds to give me her top two pieces of advice. “ Get at least 8 hours sleep a night (I groaned a little), and eat three meals a day, no matter what.” She said we need both kinds of fuel to get through anything our life might throw at us, and she said rest was a big thing that most people don’t allow themselves. “When I eat, I always go in the house, sit down and take my time and eat something so it gives my body an extra rest break to regroup for the balance of my day. Even if it is only a mustard sandwich, I make sure to eat something.”. I started chuckling till I could see she was serious, then I asked her about mustard sandwiches…did she really eat those?
“I have been eating them since I was a young child, we didn’t always have what we wanted, but we always had food. Many times we didn’t have enough money to get meat to put on the sandwich, but we always had money for mustard. I knew if we ran out of mustard, we were finally really poor and I would be afraid. But that never happened.”
I watched enchanted as she finished her shopping, smiled a big ole smile that made her eyes squint and crinkle, and she wished me a great day. “I am off to a few more before all the treasure is gone.” And she practically skipped and ran down my steep driveway to her car. I couldn’t have done that myself at my age much less by her age. Maybe she had something there…
And that is kind of where we are in our blessed America right now. In this presidential choice, some got meat for their sandwich, and some ended up with just mustard. But no one now or in the future will be going hungry. We need to stop a moment and sit down together. We expect…no we deserve…a president who is president of ALL the people. And he deserves a people who are ALL his people, even when they disagree.
It is time to eat a bit, regroup and then go back to our work. When I see the protests, the flaming speech from both sides, the nastiness that continues I think I need to just follow her advice. Maybe I will make a ton of mustard sandwiches, go to the protestors and pundits and naysayers and hand them out…and it probably wouldn’t hurt to throw in a little leftover Halloween candy to sweeten the meal just a little. Mustard sandwiches are definitely an acquired taste.