Granny Hat will admit it; she is a Bag Lady. She has bags for books, bags for music, bags for sewing projects and bags for beauty products. She also has shopping bags, quite a collection. Back in the day, when the nice cashier at the supermarket would ask “paper or plastic?”, Granny always answered “paper, please” for two reasons: first, groceries roll around and smoosh together in plastic bags and second, paper bags are very useful.
Indeed, for many years, paper grocery sacks were essential craft supplies to have on hand. Granny’s kids made paper bag puppets, funny party hats, gift tags and wrapping paper out of those bags. Some of Granny’s friends might remember when Nob Hill Supermarkets in central coast California issued bags printed with holiday themes for making Christmas paper chains. Wadded up and burned around the edges, paper bags made great treasure maps for a Pirate Birthday Party. Who remembers folding brown paper bags into text book covers in high school, decorating them with stickers and colored pencils drawings? Granny and her family re-purposed and recycled those bags. They are completely sustainable.
Everyone counted on brown paper bags being available and free, Granny Hat is pretty sure that in the Shoppers Bill of Rights each consumer has the right to a free paper bag! But alas, they are BROWN, not GREEN! It was suggested a couple years ago that we all stop carrying our paper bags home only to stuff them in the trash like the irresponsible consumers we are. They even condescendingly made re-usable bags available, every fundraiser and local shop handing them out to trick us into being green.
But Granny Hat is like most Americans; we don’t follow codes, because they are really just guidelines. So we didn’t listen, consequently “going green” was a fail. There was only one way to bring shoppers into compliance, charge them $$ for paper and plastic bags. Well, Granny is as tight as the best of them and her last name is Miser, so she got on board, collecting a few free re-usable shopping bags from Trader Joes, Beverly Fabrics and Hazel Hawkins Hospital. She even convinced herself that this was the environmentally sound thing to do and felt good about the new Green Granny Hat life.
Suddenly though, because of the Covid19 pandemic, we can no longer use personal shopping bags, Granny’s lie folded up in the back seat of her Prius Hybrid. See, they could potentially carry more than just groceries; hitchhiking Corona virus could easily travel back and forth from home to store. Out came the awful, terrible, BROWN paper bags to the rescue. But did they go back to being free? Nope! The store is now charging us for each bag and we don’t have a choice. And yet, Granny is so very happy to have the brown bags back that she doesn’t even mind paying for them. Does this make Granny a lobster soaking in the pot? At least she can be a crafty lobster and make plenty of paper bag puppets and masks before the water starts to boil.
So all of this got Granny to thinking really hard, think think think. Uncle Sam has finally found a way to herd the buffalo the way he wants them to go. We now happily pay for our shopping bags. We wear our homemade masks and spray sanitizer everywhere we go. We blow kisses and air hug our friends and ZOOM our Bible studies and dance classes. What else will we find ourselves drifting into? Whatever it is could be worse than having to pay a few cents for each bag at the supermarket. Don’t get Granny wrong, she can understand the need to bring the paper bags back and the masks have their place and all. And she in no way means to make light of any serious epidemics. But she does wonder what this “shelter in place” thing is really about. Who is being protected from what? Is home a place of safety or are we under house arrest? And what are “they” busy doing while we are stuck in our houses at the mercy of the evening news?
Many Americans seem worried about their basic rights moving forward, the right to bear arms, the right to free speech, the right to assemble. We are a celebration people and mark the passage of each year with seasonal activities, holidays and traditions. Quite a few of Granny’s friends are pretty upset about their parades, concerts, birthday parties and weddings being cancelled. In California, kids might not even be able to go to summer camp! This is bad news for the kids, SUPER bad news for the parents!
Granny hears people talking about the REAL REASONS we are under a mandated isolation procedure:
- Certain folks want to control election outcomes.
- Something sinister going down with homeschooling.
- Say bye bye to football; it is a gladiator sport that fuels misogyny.
- Socialists want to take down capitalism.
- Bill Gates and his cronies want a one world order. (Wait! Didn’t capitalism work for Microsoft?)
- We are all going to be vaccinated and given chips, not the Frito kind.
- The apocalypse is near and “I wish we’d all been ready”! Store plenty of TP, beans, rice, flour and don’t forget the butter!
These are all really complicated issues and Granny needs more than a “thotful spot” to figure them out. She would really rather just think that IT’S THE BAGS! She has heard that its always about the money, follow the money.
Meanwhile, Granny Hat has been trying to really enjoy “blooming where she is planted”. She recently started the Super Bloom Seed Share Face Book Group. This was born out of her own search for seeds and her post about Victory Gardens. Freedom from Fear, Plant a Victory Garden. This has been such a fun way to connect with friends who are enjoying some sunshine (still free last time Granny checked), getting exercise digging in the dirt (also free), posting beautiful photos of their sprouts and blooms. Granny is inspired by so many of her creative friends who are painting on their fences, doing crafts with their kids, playing music on Zoom and baking from scratch again. One of her friends, Kristy Burchard is building a darling Little Free Library book house for her front yard. Granny loves May Day and was happy to see that people had the time this year to leave posies on porches and cheer up their neighbors. Granny Hat is thankful for these blessings that don’t come from Amazon and prove that we can think outside the …….Bag!
Be thankful for those bags! (Be sure to save them, they might come in handy!) And be thankful for all the things we enjoy that money cannot buy.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count Your Blessings, published in 1897 by Johnson Oatman Jr.
Granny’s favorite bag lady: