Text Size

WEB On The Road HeaderSometimes it seems to me that maybe the old ways were the best ways. The way we used to do things maybe took a little longer, but then what were the results in the long run? And what about all those old tried and true reminders of how to behave? They never seem to go out of style. Remember what your mother used to say? “Pretty is as pretty does” or how about “Beauty is only skin deep” or “You will be known by the company you keep.” Or better yet, “If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.” And I bet you can remember many other tried and true guiding remarks that your mother said over and over and over. Maybe some even stuck.

And how did we live when we were growing up? Much, much more simply than we live today in this fast-paced world. Today the radio and television tell us almost immediately what is happening across the ocean. We stay connected all the time to people we do not even know. Would it not be better if we stayed more connected within our own families? Would it not be better if we recycled instead of throwing away what is sometimes still useful so that we can have the latest model? The latest style? The latest color?

Recently, Mexico City enacted a law punishable by fine for anyone using plastic bags. If this law is actually observed, the entire landscape of Mexico City will change. There will be no more plastic bags blowing through the air and coming to rest against somebody’s fence. The country will be cleaner and more appealing. So, no more plastic bags!

But how will they manage when they go to the market? Will they go back to what it was like 60 or so years ago.... the way it used to be? Housewives or maids used to go daily to the local grocery store. In the local communities, they would carry their purchases home in those beautifully woven straw baskets or in a crocheted string bag. Dry goods such as nuts and grains would be placed in paper cones made from old newspapers.

Now that’s recycling. That's caring for the planet. We could use a little more of that!

Today, mothers, grandmothers or maids, may need to take a few of the children along carrying their own little baskets to help with the purchases. And so, there will be more connectivity within the family. Not a bad idea!

Years ago, when I first visited Mexico, I wondered why the Mexicans bought in such small quantities. Instead of buying a large tube of toothpaste, they bought the smallest. Instead of buying fresh produce to last a week, they tended to buy just enough for that day. After all, you can often save money in the packaging by purchasing the larger size. If something liquid was to be purchased, the customer took their own small empty bottle to be refilled at the market from a larger container.

When the question was asked why to purchase such small quantities, someone told me it was the fatalistic mentality of the Mexican who thought he might not live long enough to use it all up. The reality is that he probably couldn’t carry big purchases home all in one basket. Because the purchases were smaller, the quantities prepared and served were smaller. No waste, no overweight. Another strong point for purchasing the old-fashioned way.

Even today, if you travel into the interior of Mexico, you will rarely see an overweight person. There is a positive in the old way of doing things. Walking to the market, purchasing, preparing, serving and eating smaller quantities could be good for all of us. There is a positive in that old saying “Waste not. Want not.”

Unfortunately, our culture has become a throwaway society. But then “It' s never too late to change.” Or is it? Have a great day!