After spending some time last night brainstorming a quick list of free to cheap entertainment ideas I began to think of my grandparents and where and how "entertainment" fit into their lives.
My maternal grandparents were ranchers and my paternal ones were farmers. They spent long days managing their homesteads but this didn't prevent them from enjoying life.
First of all, I do believe that they thoroughly enjoyed their work. Maybe not every moment of every day but as a whole I believe they highly valued the work they were engaged in. My maternal grandfather was still striving to find ways to feed the cattle himself into his nineties. He wanted to take his last breath on his ranch and although that didn't happen he did manage to have a horse to the end. He told me that although he couldn't ride anymore he just couldn't bear not having a horse as he had had one since his grandfather gave him his first horse at the age of twelve.
My grandmothers were invaluable in the functioning of the homesteads helping outside whenever needed while preparing three full meals a day and keeping the house running just as smoothly as possible.
Even with the long days of running the ranch and the farm my grandparents found time to engage in more leisurely pursuits. Their "entertainment" rarely involved dining out and I never knew them to spend a dime on movies or miniature golf or bowling. Obviously, the majority of their lives preceded computers and gaming consoles and television was only useful for the evening news. Instead, their "entertainment" largely involved engaging with the community in a variety of ways.
They were very active in their churches, attending all services and special events. My maternal grandmother was involved in a ladies group and I recall going to a social event with her once. This event had a Hawaiian theme. The women crocheted flower leis for each attendee (I still have mine) and each brought a Polynesian-inspired dish. I remember my grandmother scouring recipes before deciding on a sweet and sour dish. It was all very exciting.
My maternal grandmother was also involved in a quilting circle. Once a month these ladies would share a dish and work on a members quilt. I joined them a time or two and remember the warmth and conviviality.
My maternal grandfather was actively engaged in area singing conventions (his father was one of the founders of these conventions). These were significant social events that my grandmother would participate in as well - bringing a dish or two and enjoying the singing. And there would be lots of socializing. They also routinely attended a group that would play 42 together, a domino game that my grandfather was profoundly good at.
My paternal grandparents were part of a square dancing club. I loved my grandmother's dancing dresses. I recall a time that I joined them. The dance was held in a postage-stamp sized community center. I had no idea what I was doing but the elderly gentlemen insisted on getting me to the dance floor. My grandparents were vibrant. It is a glowing memory
These grandparents also learned to play a variety of instruments, made public performances and participated in and won competitions
In their quiet moments at home my grandfathers stayed abreast of current events - they watched the news and read newspapers. My grandmothers had hobbies that enhanced their homes. They both sewed. Their sewing skills allowed them to clothe their families but as that became less necessary they utilized those skills to make sweet gifts for their grandchildren. I have baby dresses and a doll that my paternal grandmother made me. My maternal grandmother made dolls with yarn or with fabric yo-yo's. I still have some of those as well. My maternal grandmother tried her hand at macrame and decoupage and, when a neighbor got a kiln, ceramics. My paternal grandmother embroidered item after item leaving me with some beautiful pillowcases.
My grandparents are an inspiration to me. They did work that they loved and they had leisurely pursuits that didn't break the bank; those activities that did require a small bit of money enhanced their households.
I will keep this in mind as I strive for a rich, full and thrifty life.