Like New
Off the Wall, March 8
, 2013

There’s something that occurred to me recently while I was cleaning our relatively new blender my wife purchased for our kitchen. There is a lot to be said for the way we treat things and people alike.

Think of it this way. Let me go back to the thing – our blender, for example. The word, ‘ recently’ denotes that it hasn’t been in the cupboard for years on end, collecting dust, or getting rusty. Roughly speaking, it arrived via UPS on our doorstep about five months ago. Now to some people, that’s not ‘recently,’ but it still gives a time frame, and that is what I was trying to note here for all intended purposes.

I’ve gotten into making smoothies lately, combining all types of fruits, vegetables and a cup of almond milk to add liquid to my concoction. I won’t go into all the ingredients other than to say, I put at least ten different ‘droppings’ into the container before I put a lid on it and let it swirl into a taste that always satisfies my taste buds.

Immediately after emptying it, I always wash the blender thoroughly, making it look just as beautiful as the day we removed it from the package. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used it since the first trial run, but more importantly, I have cared for it continuing to give its appearance as looking like new or the day we unwrapped our treasure.

Relationships often start that way, don’t they? At first, two people eye each other upon initial confrontation, maybe merely having general conversation. Following, maybe weeks to months later, someone gives off a spark. It jumps to the other person, and warmth spreads. There is a bond that requires maintenance from the first week to infinity.

Let me give two examples that emphasizes the correlation of care taken whether one is talking about a new thing and/or a relationship. They both utilize the necessity of attention.

Keith Jones pleaded with his grandmother that he wanted, more than anything else, a new bicycle so he could ride along with other friends in his class. He was aware that she was on a fixed income and needed all the finances that she received, yet requested a two-wheeler.

The 84 year-old Blooming, IL senior loved her grandson so very much that she sacrificed a little of each month’s income, putting back the funds in a cake tin that could be hidden away, at least out of sight.

When the his birthday came, she reserved the model, make and color bike from a near-by department store and paid the delivery man as it was delivered to her house. She then called him to come over and celebrate the big day. Needless to say he was awe struck and overwhelmed to see she had fulfilled his wishes. He immediately rode back to his parents to show off his new possession. He had smiles from ear to ear.

As time went on, he polished the metal, making sure it looked like new, the day Grandma gave him his present. He always kept it away from the elements, protecting it to the point of keeping it inside when the weather threatened to cast raindrops or snowflakes on any part of its body. This bike was special, and he was going to keep it that way.

When the 12 year-old moved on to 13, activities changed and so did his playtime. School required much more buckling down and studying and there was less time to cruise about. The vehicle that became so wonderful one year ago was becoming less attractive to him. Propped up on the porch, it rarely moved from where it was parked. Eventually, his father took it and leaned it against the outside wall of the garage where it quickly rusted, not even being seen from the house, sometimes even covered in snow.

What happened here isn’t rare, for something frequent, living in an affluent society.

Betty Jean and Billie Joe Whoople claim it was love at first sight. Right out of high school in Lostit, MS, they married and started a family. For them it was unconditional loving, caring and sharing that only true love can portray.

Fourteen years went by. Something was changing, it was evident, but what was to come was unforeseen. All of a sudden, Billie Joe talked little to her. He would come home from work, plop in the chair and turn on the TV. It’s almost as though a deep freeze came over both of them. The ‘like new’ presence just wasn’t there. It’s almost as though they got tired being, seeing, or relating to the other, a relationship that was heading for doom.

Either way, unions or things, when given the best of care daily, will last. Either will, however, fall apart if not attended to where care is called for from the very start.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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