Life After The Uniform

Do Our Things Define Us

It’s interesting that the end of May in “Simple Abundance” focused so much on “The Fullness of Nothing”. I had occasion this week to visit a Hutterite Colony located just north of Jenner, Alberta. The Hutterite Brethren live a sparse, simple life. There is little in the way of decoration, with everything being purposeful … what results is a very plain, utilitarian environment. It’s most definitely not for me! That said, the place couldn’t be more spotless, and the people there have a peace about them that you rarely encounter in “outsiders”. And there are few things prettier than a laundry line full of their billowing blue and purple dresses.

images-4And I was pleased that the focus on possessions was tempered with the reality that our things don’t define us. Although I agree with Sarah’s idea that our possessions are a visual memoir, we need to be careful not to place too much importance on them. Isn’t a big part of the economic mess we are in due to people living way beyond their means? And we all know what our insatiable appetite for things is doing to the environment. We need to stop caring so much about the stuff in life. That said, I’ve had the good fortune to inherit some wonderful family heirlooms that are priceless to me: my great-grandfather’s medals from over 100 years ago; my grandmother’s china teacups; many old family photographs. And there are the mementos of my own life that I would be devastated to lose: my children’s “coming-home-from-the-hospital” outfits; my wedding photos; all of the homemade Mother’s Day gifts. But, I suppose that’s what Sarah means when she says that, “it’s what you love that expresses the authentic woman you are”.

As for “flea market finds”, I have discovered the joys of the charity shop of late. A friend introduced me to the thrill of the hunt at a place in Medicine Hat called “The Post”. This shop is a vast collection of donated items, everything from clothes and furniture to china and cowboy boots. All the proceeds go to charity and the store is completely staffed by volunteers. I have since spent many hours there searching for nothing-in-particular and discovered an almost-perfect set of champagne glasses (the old-fashioned kind, not the flute kind). It was so much fun, and cost hardly anything. I think I’ll be more open to garage and yard sales this summer – not something I’ve traditionally checked out … but perhaps worth a try. After all, I need something playful in my space … other than my “never trust a skinny cook” apron!
Until next week …

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Laura Keller

Laura Keller has enjoyed writing for as long as she can remember. Eventually, she became the wife of a Combat Engineer and mom of three. After her husband's retirement, the Keller Krew settled in southwestern Ontario, where they readjusted to life after the uniform. The Keller family faced another readjustment when Laura’s husband passed away suddenly the summer of 2016. Laura had been contributing to CMF Magazine since its inception back in 2010.
Canadian Military Family Magazine