Remembering the Joys of Anticipation
Over the past week or so I’ve been wondering how much we’ve lost as a society since we’ve grown accustomed to a world of instant gratification. There are so few things that require us to wait today. Out of season fruits and vegetables are available year round at the market. The widespread use of debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, Bill Me Later, and instant transfers by cell phone has rendered cash nearly superfluous. Many parking lots in the Washington, DC area require payment by cell phone. There are no parking meters.
When I was growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we lived what we considered an abundant life. However, there was no such thing as instant gratification. We had to wait for things. There were some new clothes when school started, for Christmas, for birthdays, and a new dress and coat for Easter. Mom made our play clothes. And there was no shame in hand me downs. Some of my favorite outfits were hand me downs from Nancy Wright, whose mom was the secretary at Washington School where my dad taught school.
Coca Cola was a rare treat. We drank milk, water and Cool Aid. We were treated to bologna and cheese sandwiches Sunday after church. We did not routinely have potato chips. We ate fruit loops and Cap’n Crunch for snacks. Every evening we had a well-balanced dinner and ate together. There was a lot of hamburger mixed with rice or macaroni or spaghetti. Mid-western moms were adept at creating casseroles with various condensed soups. We looked forward to the occasional ice cream cone and appreciated every lick.
Christmas and birthdays were magical because we weren’t gifted with toys and clothes on a regular basis. We did not shop for sport. We borrowed books from the library, had 9 channels of TV, played board games, and looked forward to visiting Grandpa who would take us to the country store in the bed of the pick up and let us have an RC Cola. Getting something new was exciting, something to anticipate, something to savor.
There are few things that I truly savor today because everything tangible is so readily available. But those items that I must wait for, I truly appreciate, such as fresh peaches from the local orchard, the flavorful heirloom tomatoes that are only ripe in my garden from the end of July to early September, the profusion of daffodils and tulips blooming in springtime, the smell of leaves burning in autumn, that first spring day when I can drive with the top down on the convertible, the new seasons of Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones, attending a special event, and hugging loved ones who live far away. These are the things that I anticipate and treasure.
I’m still appreciating every bite of the luscious, flavorful heirloom tomatoes that I ordered in January, planted in May, tended over the summer and celebrate every day until the last fruit is gone. Then, no tomatoes until next summer; I will have a year to dream, plan, cultivate and anticipate. I’m already thinking about next years harvest!
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