"We are a wasteful nation, we will be less wasteful in the future. We are learning how to use — how to prepare for other uses the great gift which nature has bestowed on us."
Those were the words of George Washington Carver, a man who spent his whole life making something out of what most people would say was nothing.
Dr. Carver was famous for his trips to the dump ground looking for useful items. He was noted for saving and reusing string and rags. He once gave a program titled "An hour with rags and string."
On Thursday, the George Washington Carver National Monument held a "Coffee with Carver," and the subject was "Usefulness of all things."
About 20 people spent the hour making cornhusk dolls and enjoying the hospitality of the George Washington Carver National Monument. The gathering proved to be an eclectic mix of subjects with everyone having a good time.
Not only was there doll making, but there was a short lecture on Carver's life, lots of good strong coffee, and even the reading of an original poem by Charley Barker.
Linda Simmons, a long-time volunteer at Carver, lead the group as they made the dolls, using a part of corn that was once considered waste. There was much interest, some laughter and a bit of frustration in the process. But, when they were done, most of the participants had a doll.
As everyone worked on their project, Charley Barker of Neosho read a poem that he had penned early that morning before coming to Carver. His poem, to commemorate the day, speculated what "Coffee with the Carvers" would have been like in 1864. It reads in part:
Coffee with the Carvers
Moses likes his robust—
like the world outside his door.
The neighbors will be coming soon
Down the rutted roads across the prairie,
Bringing baby blankets.
Gifts for Carver's Mary.
For Mary has a baby,
"Perhaps we'll stay a week."
Cook, and wash
Help with the child,
Tote water from the creek.
The ladies are whispering in the corner
"He's so tiny, don't look well,"
Susan may save him with her herbs
"But only time will tell."