A person would think that two people (my wife and me), who are on each side of age 70, would be so far removed from our childhoods that those memories are far in the past and forgotten.
That’s not necessarily so.
We catch ourselves doing things where we hear our parents’ voices either encouraging or admonishing us six decades after heard those words.
Some of them just make good sense. Being told to shut the light off when leaving a room or remember to write a thank you note is the right thing to do.
Frequently I can still hear my parents saying to me, “Oh, behave yourself.”
Since my wife and I are first-borns, we are the ones who take things a little more seriously, such as I am the one who puts the shopping cart where it belongs, pushed in the with the rest of the carts if inside or in the cart corral when outside.
There is no just walking away from a shopping cart, leaving it for someone else. I am liable to take someone else’s abandoned shopping cart and put it where it belongs while I am at it. Come on, people, don’t be a bunch of slobs. Push the cart all the way in.
Then there are those things that we were told to do by our parents that, after hearing that voice of admonition from years and years ago, we still resist what we were told to do.
My wife doesn’t like to keep food she has cooked longer than three days. Whatever is left after three days gets thrown out.
I am not that rigid. I figure if there is nothing growing on it, it’s most likely okay. If there is something growing on it, cut that part off because I bet the rest of it is still good.
Many years ago, when her parents were visiting her (before she and I met), her dad saw her giving some more-than-three-day-old food to the dog.
He told her, “That’s expensive dog food.”
To this day she still hears that comment, feels guilty, and then throws the food away.
I hear my dad when I put one slice of toast in the toaster. He told me when I was in my teens a person should put two slices in the toaster so you don’t waste the electricity.
A year ago I finally had to say to my dad (he died 17 years ago), “But I only want one slice of toast.”
Besides, I am the one paying for the electricity. So there.
Goodness, that took a long time.
Maybe these are holdovers from our rebellious years that took place when we were teenagers.
Or maybe we miss our parents and it is a way to hear their voices, even if we are being corrected.
Or maybe for a moment, we can feel like they are the parent and we are the child, something we haven’t felt in a long, long time, and in those brief moments we relive a time when life was much simpler.
We probably have done and are doing the same things to our kids. And I hope there is a day when they will miss our words.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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