… But We Are Keeping the Spam Cans


In the words of George Carlin, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff.” That view starts to unravel when one has to move to a smaller place. We will be selling our house, prayerfully, in the next few months here in the Philippines, as a downsizing of space, lifestyle, and cost. It is great to have a lot of room so that one can keep more stuff… but there is something rather freeing in getting rid of excess baggage. We have piles of books we will never read. I love books, and I hate to let them go. But some books, we will never never never read again. Some we will never read for the first time. Soon we will have to start that painful process of letting them go.

But our first step is getting rid of recyclables. We have been collecting recycled items for years. These include:

cardboard tubes, cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, mylar bags, newspapers, magazines, bond paper that was only used on one side, half-used notebooks,  plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and so forth.

Some we used for school, like the used bond paper for scrap, or the notebooks, along with various sundries for the many, many elementary and high school projects. However, most we saved for ministry purposes— Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Kids Club ministries. We let go of Divine Love Kids Club in 2010 to focus on pastoral care and CPE, and we got less and less involved with children’s Sunday school and VBS as our children have aged. All three are now in college, so it is time to let go.

We have already gotten rid of most of the recyclable items already– mostly papers to go through now… and then comes the nightmare of sick, dead, or obsolete electrical and electronic appliances. But some things we can’t let go of… at least not yet. We keep the plastic cookie and icecream containers. They are just too useful. Our son Joel wanted some of the glass bottles for some future project of his. The rest is gone… or going.

But we can’t let go of the Spam cans yet. Like so many Filipino families here in the Philippines, we eat a fair amount of Spam, canned corned beef, sardines and the like, and we do so without the weird American embarrassment in their use. In fact, we were out of cheese, peanut butter and jelly this morning, so I made Spam sandwiches for our girls’ lunches.

In the past we kept the cans for craft projects with Kids Club. For example, one could punch holes in the bottom of them and use them for growing seedlings, or punch hole patterns on the side, and make an interesting little pencil holder or even candle lanterns.

Downsizing can be difficult and one can make mistakes. 11 years later, Celia still expresses unhappiness that I sold our Cornelle dinnerware at a garage sale before moving to the Philippines. My children, additionally, periodically express their disbelief that I sold my accordion at the same sale. (I couldn’t really play the accordion and, back then, my children were showing no propensity toward music.  That has changed.)

So I am not sure what we will do with the Spam cans, but we will keep them for now. I know it sounds silly, but some things take a bit longer to get rid of than others.

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