Manataka® American Indian Council


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Borrowing, Lending and Gifts

(blunt and to the point, a bit of LIGHT humor)

By Grandmother L.Cota Nupa Maka


The fine line between borrowing and lending is often confused with the gift of something.


It has been my lesson in life to be clear about my boundaries and make sure the person I am gifting understands.


So I pose these few pointers on the subject for both givers, takers and confused third parties.


A gift most often in for a reason perhaps your birthday, an anniversary or other occasions that may be celebrated with a gift.


Gifts come wrapped in pretty containers or bags that usually have a card attached saying that it is indeed a gift.


With this in mind we will move on to the other two subjects: lending or borrowing, and confused.


1.    In my house I have a list of borrowers; this list holds those who borrow and return the items in a timely fashion. Usually filled as a thank you with the item that they borrowed for replacement. These people are my top list ones and are the first to receive my give a ways.


2.    Then there is the list that holds the names of those who think my house is the local market that holds unlimited food and other sundry items at no cost to them. They do not EVER!!! Return items borrowed or taken. Living on a limited income it at times becomes harder and harder to replace items so after a while they run out.


3.    My private BOOKS (clearly marked) fall under this heading so look in your shelves and please return them.


Some of these items consist of pots, pans, spices, dairy products, paper products and large amounts of flour or sugar. I consider a cup or two borrowing but 5 pounds is shopping. This list includes my rubber maid dishes that have been filled with food that was given in love and respect. Please return those containers that have my name on them. There was a reason I put my name on the containers so that they would be returned to my home. No I do not have an endless supply of these and must like you buy them from time to time.


Now I do not know about you but any woman worth her salt knows her own pots and pans and her dishes so there is no just pawning it off to, “oh I did not see it there”. Spare me ladies!! Courtesy is just that; return the containers that are marked.


I have dishes and things that have gone missing for years and from time to time I visit them in my “friends and family’s “ homes, the person who has them will say, “oh I have your dish or pot or pan and will return them soon”. Well did you notice there DUDE!! that you have not received any of my good cooking lately?


Well then return the containers and you will be back on the good list. This goes for all sundry items borrowed or other wise procured like paper products. Last I knew my toilet paper tree, soap tree, and paper towel tree have gone bare. This leaves the foil, zip lock bag, and plastic wrap bush to suffer in turn. My jacket, sweater, and umbrella tree also are thread bare and need to be restored to their natural beauty.


Last I knew in the book on etiquette we always brought a gift for the hostess when we came to visit or have dinner. What happened to that custom?? Humm. Perhaps we all need to read up on such things in order to remember our manners. Or be hit in the head with a gift basket by the Etiquette Fairy.


Have I touched a nerve yet? well there is more so keep reading it will hit you in time.


Small story insert here::: I once lived in Rural Maine where stores were several miles away. I always was taught to stock up in the winter time due to bad roads and weather.


After a while the neighbors came to know this and it became a bit hectic. I had one women who on a regular basis sent her kids to borrow eggs, butter, sugar, flour, potatoes, and onions. Now mind you I too had five children at the time and worked two jobs to just meet the monthly bills.


Good old me, finally had to learn the big lesson of NO!! So the next time she sent the kids down I sent back a brown paper shopping bag with my grocery list in it that consisted of those thing she kept borrowing each week. I said on the list due to supply and demand I find my pantry empty of these articles can you please when you go shopping next fill my grocery order. Thank you. Well needless to say she never did and she stopped sending her kids down for groceries. I suppose she found some other person to use after my kind but blunt message.


This falls in with those who make a habit of coming for dinner each week as if it was some ritual. I find they too never respond with an invitation for me to come to dinner.


I had it on good reliable source that these people even bragged that they saved enough to go on wonderful vacations by not shopping but eating at others homes each week. Well needless to say the next time they showed up at my door we were eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches. End of Story.


3. How for those Gray areas where the confused ones stand. Look in the cabinets and see if you have any plastic wear with strange hydrographic on them. Yes the ones with the black markings that look like what you see on books and newspapers. Yes! see there is one way back in the corner. Now take it out and if you cannot decipher the words because it has been through your dish washer a few times, then l your kids can do it for you. Better yet give them the container and have them return it to the owner. This will save face and make everyone happy.


Now don’t you feel better knowing that those guilty moments when you reuse the containers and when you see them in the cupboard will never occur again?


OH while your at it look in your Video area and CD’s I am sure right along with the books you will find a few misplaced items that need to go home.


Articles of clothing are among these items that are lent not given under certain weather conditions, and need to be send home. Please leave these when your done with them, so that others my also have them in cold and wet weather.


Now your Karma Wheel is in balance in the return department, so you should sleep better tonight knowing your Karma Tires are rotated for another 10,000 life miles.


Lets go back to our common manners and remember to honor the give a away by returning that which you borrow. The wonderful energy of the give a way will continue to live and be enjoyed time and time again.


Love, Grandmother L.Cota Nupa Maka