We no longer travel a lot by train, as we once did. But it always takes me back to our early car-less years here. When my husband rode an old moped 12 miles (20 km) to work – rain, snow, or sunshine. Italy’s public transport enables car-free living in some areas. But no buses passed our cluster of houses near that village in Lombardy.
So our sole outings were our 3-mile (4,8 km) treks to town. With funds as scarce as passing buses, even ice cream or coffee were but rare treats.
But towing our wheeled shopping bag, we enjoyed the special times of long talks and singing.
Never seldom feeling deprived. And indeed we felt really spoiled after getting our first TV (in 1989)!
Those were days when we had very little. But that first TV introduced new, low-cost family fun times! Good old shows like Fury Brave Stallion, The Wheel of Fortune, and wholesome old Disney movies. (Listen to the Furia theme song in Italian below.)
Our children so loved those weekly Disney films that they purposely went out to buy a TV guide and a VHS cassette (remember those?). So they could watch the films, over and over, while munching hand-cranked popcorn from our stove top popper (right).
Our super, super small house was a real challenge. (Hello, Tiny House Movement!) Our daughter slept on a chair-bed in the kitchen. And our son in our room, divided by a wardrobe, on the sofa that made into a single-size bed.
With a mean landlady, mostly unpleasant neighbors, and out in the country far from everything (at least in our carless state). Even drying laundry on the small folding rack was a real challenge. Especially in that tiniest and dampest of all our homes, in that area where it rained much of the year. And yes, these challenges complicated life. But it was, at the same time, also more simple and pleasant.
But appreciating it more
But because of not having much, we appreciated the little we did have, all the more. Progress has brought the west so many things, and we race to get it all. Bigger homes, nicer furniture, bigger and flatter TVs, fancier phones, and new cars. Often working overtime to afford it all, with little time to truly enjoy it.
The wealth of true riches
At times we barely had enough. But we were wealthy in life’s true riches! A loving family, a great marriage, and countless good friends. Health, happiness, joy, communion with the Lord. AND time to appreciate it all!
No car – but more time to enjoy the flowers along the way! No clothes dryer – but the health of fresh air by hanging laundry out! No phone of any kind – but no phone bills either! And a super tiny house – that was so much quicker to clean!
We had few material things. But that taught us to count our blessings and stop taking them for granted. Which in turn brought deeper contentment and helped us to stop always wanting more. For we had the much of little, and that made us so very rich!
IMAGES: Shoes by Lisa Fotios. | All others are my own.