Sunday, October 31, 2010


All of my Halloween decorations are on display.

Yes, that’s it. Just one little ceramic incense holder a friend gave me 10 years ago. I put it out every year in October. I’m ready for tonight. I have a bowl of peanut butter candies near the front door so I can grab them quickly when the trick or treaters come.

This afternoon, I found out I am being haunted by my mother.

My mother was a very nice woman and we had lots of fun together. She had some odd quirks, but on the whole she was a lovely woman. She lived well and drove a new car every couple of years and had a nice home. She was gracious and loved to take friends and family out for meals.
However, she did not like wasting resources. She had one odd frugality that amused the family. When we went out to a restaurant she gathered up any barely used napkins that remained on the table after a meal. Not cloth napkins, just paper ones. At home she had a special small drawer in her kitchen for storing her gathered treasures.

“Why do you save up used napkins?” we asked.

She said she didn’t want to waste them. “I hate to use a perfectly good, brand new paper towel when I have to clean up a spill or wipe out a greasy cooking pan,” she explained. “This way I can blot up something little and toss the napkin in the trash without being wasteful. Some of the napkins from luncheons with friends are pretty and I enjoy seeing them again.”

We thought this was odd and teased her about it.

This morning I dressed in a pair of black pants that I had not worn for quite a while. A few hours ago I sneezed and reached into my pant pocket to pull out a tissue. I pulled out a folded paper napkin instead. I was so surprised. I never pick up paper napkins and save them.

I don’t believe in ghosts or any of that stuff. But I thought immediately of my mother. I give up. I’ll find a special place to store gently used napkins. I’ll think of her every time I use one to wipe up a spill.

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Blogger Piecefulafternoon said...

Wonderful post - that made me smile, even giggle a little - and you know why - - - I am a napkin gatherer myself. I don't gather the ones that are used, but if we have any unused paper napkins after a meal I do take them home and use them for blotting up things and feel very good about it.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Lina said...

My momma had kleenex tissues everywhere. Not boxes or portable packets, just individual neatly folded kleenexes everywhere - on her night stand, on the kitchen counter next to her coffee cup, as a bookmark, in every pocket... and on and on. When she passed away and we were sorting through her clothes to give away, we found kleenex in every pocket of every piece of clothing she owned, and in all of her pocketbooks.
The other day as I sat down to the dinner table my son asked me, "Mom, are you pulling a grandma?" I asked what he meant, and he responded, "Look at your sleeve." There, neatly peeking out from under my sweater was a folded kleenex. I don't remember putting it there. Momma must have done it!

6:42 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

When I get my Starbucks coffee after my walk, I always grab a napkin or two if we are sitting outside. Sometimes the table needs to be wiped off. If I haven't used it I stick it in the door pocket of my car. I have quite a few in there. They come in quite handy for spills in the car, or to wipe a wet or foggy window or mirror. I see people taking handfuls of napkins which they never use, then throw away. What a waste!

11:31 PM  
Blogger paula, the quilter said...

This is like Dear Abby's pennies from heaven stories. I brought half a bag of candy in to work today. Not many trick or treaters out our way.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Sew Create It - Jane said...

Fabulous story!

We have a few stories like that in our family too...just can't explain it, just have to accept it! :o)

12:59 PM  
Blogger Warty Mammal said...

Like your mother, I save unused paper napkins. They're great for draining bacon, etc.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

i chuckled over this, i do this with PT's....use them over and over...then when i saw your napkin i thought what a great one for collage!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

As Vicky just wrote, printed napkins are fabulous to use in collage. I cruise the local Tuesday Morning discount store for pretty ones to use in my journals or mixed media pieces. Just separate the layers and slap them down with gel medium or Collage Podge.

On frugality, I have a friend who has only bought about two rolls of aluminum foil in her life. She carefully washes it and stores it in the kitchen drawer!

We haven't had a trick-or-treater in at least five years. We have a long driveway and the houses are far apart on our road. Most of the kids get more bang for their buck going to the golf course community one street up where the houses are closer together. I kind of miss the seeing the Halloween costumes.

6:00 AM  
Blogger BrendaLou said...

I find that as I age I am becoming my Mother more and more. Years ago it would have botherd I am humbled and blessed.

10:25 AM  

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