I didn’t realize when I was seven years old, that my grandma was teaching me a fun lesson in economics and sustainability.

Grandma Mindo’s Little Towels are as earth-friendly today, as they were fifty-two years ago.  Just this past Sunday in the middle of the Coronavirus reports, my daughter in-law walked into our kitchen with two of our grandchildren walking in front of her.  As she leaned on the counter she said “there are no paper towels left in the supermarket.  I think I am going to start using the cloth towels”.

I laughed in total agreement as my husband and I have been using cloth towels instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of paper napkins for years.  We have also been gifting some cloth towels and napkins to our children for use in their house.  We often include a set of each when they have a birthday, celebrate a holiday or for special occasions. 

To hear now that they are going to use them more frequently not just during special occasions is encouraging and a cause for celebration, as it means more trees in the planet.  It also means that some of the simple, natural solutions which were used by people like my grandma Mindo all over the planet many years ago can be part of today’s ongoing Eco-friendly sustainable solutions for today’s society. 

Grandma Mindo or (Buela Mindo), lived in a pink colored house in the Campo or countryside named Aguacate (Avocado), near a town named Moca in the Dominican Republic.  Her house was surrounded by big trees and gardens.  There were Mangos, Tamarinds, Star Fruits and Guayabas among a variety of much more.  She and I liked sitting under the Tamarind tree.  We could feel the fresh breeze while we sat in the shade late in the afternoon. 

While sitting in her rocking chair, grandma would place many oranges on her lap.  She would carefully peel one, cut it in half, give me one half and eat the other half.  With a soft smile she would see me finish my half of the orange to calmly peel another.  Grandma always had a little towel hanging from her dress belt.  After washing her hands, she would dry them with this towel. 

In the kitchen she had other little towels which she used to clean the counters, the kitchen table, and the tables in the terrace where we used to eat.  I believe that she left an indelible impression in me, due to the attention and care that she used when she cleaned and when she washed her little towels.

Now as an adult, I remember those moments full of wisdom.  For she kept everything clean and no paper or trees were wasted.  The paper napkins were kept in the hutch locked with a key and only to be used for a special occasion.  I realized how in her way Grandma Mindo (Buela Mindo) taught me how to spend quality time with my family, using earth-friendly products that are cost-effective while supporting the economy. Now with the scarcity of paper products is great to remember that we have sustainable options.

This story hopes to inspire you and everyone you know to begin to use cloth napkins and towels and pass it on to new generations for a more sustainable life on earth.

During these challenging times when we are all doing our best to care for ourselves and our loved ones, how will you honor your grandparents?

Graphic Design by: Anna Watts . Picture by Tania Garcia