Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Word studies; frugality and stewardship

Some acquaintances describe me as cheap, but I, of course, prefer to think of myself as frugal or exercising good stewardship. There have been in my life only several short periods when I could go into a store and buy something on impulse with a price tag of several hundred dollars. But I've virtually never shopped for groceries—life's most basic sustenance—without considering whether every item put in the basket was a relatively good or prudent buy.

My travels have been my greatest extravagance. A decade ago, give or take a year or two, I decided that even if I had to charge it, it was worth taking a vacation trip to write home about, so to speak. So I charged some memorable trips to Europe and around the world, but, after the first one, I traveled at what can be called frugal costs. That plan worked out; I was able to close all the charge accounts within the same year in which I took the trips. And even on the first, relatively expensive, trip—a group tour of England, Wales, and Ireland—when most of the party chose to take in a play by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford On Avon, I decided to get up close and personal in a tourist sense with Stratford rather than spend the £30 or $30—whatever—to take in a play in the famed writer's home town...that's how cheap, or frugal, I am.

There are lots of things that other people seem to take for granted that I consider too expensive. I've been to three memorable musical shows in my adult life, and got a complimentary ticket to the most memorable of those, an evening of Dione Warwick. A couple who are close friends recently went to Las Vegas and there spent $70 for Cirq du Solei...even though I hear the Cirq is a very different kind of circus, I find it hard to imagine spending $70 on any show. I wrote about the movies for many years, but after losing my critic's franchise, I haven't been averaging a movie per year. There are several reasons: I no longer think just about any movie is worth the $9 admission price in this area, and if I go to a movie I have to forego a workout at my gym. Since I'm on a contract that costs me over $2 a day on my gym membership, the movie costs me over $11.

But there's another reason I hardly ever go to movies these days. I'm increasingly aware of the value of my time, and frankly I've seen few movies in the past 10 years that are worth two hours of my time, plus time to drive to and from, and park. That's not so much frugality, I think, as it is stewardship. I usually have the TV on while I'm working on my computer at home. That enables me to get value out of my TV and my cable subscription while also getting some productivity done in another working sphere. Stewardship.

Stewardship is considering everything a grace of God, and giving it back to Him or to whomever He would have you do it for or to. I can't deny that I waste time every day, yet I have trouble wasting two-hour blocks of it premeditatedly. That's my idea of really bad stewardship.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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Things to ponder—

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out!"

— Sent by Trudy Myers

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Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

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