My husband
made a shovel for gathering the ashes out of our wood stove in the
mornings.  Before that we were using my son’s plastic beach shovel, but
hot coals and plastic, well . . .

He made the
scoop out of a tin can which, up until dinner time held creamed corn. 
The handle was cut from an old wooden dowel, something I salvaged from a broken
roller blind left here by the previous owner. 

We spent a
few minutes laughing about the shovel the other night after the kids were in bed.  I asked if we could hide it when company
comes, he said he might write Heloise with the idea. 

The other
day one of the older kids asked what the word “scrappy” meant and I
was at a loss.  That night, had they asked, I could’ve held up that
shovel.  John and I have always been scrappy, trying time and again to
turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

There was a time in our country where the ability to scrape things together
from scratch was seen as something like a virtue or at least a great
asset.  I think of my Grandmother’s drawer of lightly-used tin foil, the
balls of saved rubber bands and I remember learning to darn socks with her, using
careful stitches and an old wooden heel form. 

These days,
though, there seems to be a bit of shame that lingers around both the need and
ability to scrape things together – or is it just me who feels the shame of not

We can’t
afford to buy a shovel and we’re keeping the ashes in old tin coffee cans donated
from my husband’s co-worker.  Firewood sits in a plastic five gallon
bucket near the stove.

I guess, if
we had the money, we’d pull up amazon and order one of those fancy fireplace
sets, all of the manufactured tools to do the job right and look good
too.  Or maybe we wouldn’t.

The Merriam
Webster online dictionary tells me scrappy, as an adjective, can mean

consisting of scraps (as in that shovel my husband made) or

2. having an
aggressive and determined spirit 

I don’t typically think of myself as aggressive and it would be the last word anyone would use to describe my husband, but somehow, that second definition seems to fit and I like it.   

What do you think?  Are you scrappy?  If so, are you proud of it or embarrassed?

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