Babci, Foliage, Bandits and Decision Making

by Sandy L on October 15, 2010

This week in New England, we are just about hitting peak foliage.  It’s times like these when folks drive around the countryside thinking about retiring in a cute little homestead in the countryside. You know the one, it’s sitting a top a big hill. It overlooks a mountain range and is covered with a patchwork of foliage. I can tell you one person who doesn’t have that dream:  Babci.

You see, the only time Babci will be caught in the woods is on 2 occasions.  The first is when she makes me 4 wheel up a dirt road to get spring water for her annual batch of sauerkraut.  Man, you should see the looks we get when I’m up in the middle of the forest with my 2 young kids and an 80 year old woman. The ATV guys just look at me and shake they’re heads in disbelief.  The second is when she’s mushrooming roadside.  The thing these two events have in common, is:

  • Babci will go to great lengths to get quality food for free.
  • We have a getaway vehicle handy.

Growing up, Babci always would warn me against going into the woods because “that’s where the bandits hide out.”  It’s also where murderers drag you when they want to kill you and/or dispose of your body.  I have tried to tell her that in America, the opposite is generally true.  It’s safer in the country and people usually want to move there.  If she wants to find bandits and other criminals, she’s much more likely to locate them in an inner city than she is hiking on a mountain trail.

In Poland, on the other hand, the woods were where the Gypsy’s, vagabonds, and other unsavory characters would squat when my mom was little.  Heading off to the woods was something only the very dumb would attempt.  Even these days it’s still a hot spot prostitutes.

To this day, any time we see a house deep in the woods, Babci tells me that she’d never live there even if it were free.

Experience Sometimes Has An Expiration Date

As I get older and more set in my ways, I have to remind myself of this story.  As wise as Babci is, she still relies on knowledge that is horribly out of date on a variety of things. She is always telling me that latex paint is bad and just about everything causes cancer. There are about 100 other things too, but my mind’s drawing a blank at the moment.

So even though I know that bandits don’t lurk in our woods, the thing I’ve taken away from Babci  is that I shouldn’t ignore change.

  • Whether you’re innovating, evaluating an investment,  making a buying decision, or trying to edge out the competition, it’s important to question whether your knowledge is still relevant or obsolete.

Who has examples of people who’ve used really dated info to make current decisions? I know in my case once I like something, I’m brand loyal to a fault. Companies are always trying to out do each other and if I don’t try something new once in a while, I’m sure  I’m missing out.

For some reason I keep getting that mental image of the guy with the mullet, acid washed jeans and fringe jacket.  Yeah, just because you were cool in high school and drove an I-Roc doesn’t mean that look still works today.

Have a great weekend everyone.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Reasons October 16, 2010 at 12:02 PM

That explains why older people look so funny wearing clothes that make some of the young kids laugh…

Thanks for sharing that info about poland, sounds like the Sherwood Forest story from the Robin Hood tale. I never realize that such things would still be that way, at least not within the last 100 years, but apparently it’s so in Poland (and other European counties?!). I consider myself schooled today!

Thanks 🙂


Sandy L October 16, 2010 at 4:32 PM

MR..I never made the robin hood connection before. Yes, I guess it was just like that. This explains why I don’t always respect people who still wear shoulder pads and have feathered hair. I never figured out why before. It’s not that I’m a fashionista or anything (I hate clothes shopping). I guess in a way it symbolizes that they haven’t progressed beyond a certain era in their life.


Ted A. October 16, 2010 at 9:52 PM

“For some reason I keep getting that mental image of the guy with the mullet, acid washed jeans and fringe jacket. Yeah, just because you were cool in high school and drove an I-Roc doesn’t mean that look still works today.”

…you probably keep getting that mental image because you’ve been spending so much time in Rochester, NY lately…


Dr Dean October 17, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Memories are very difficult to erase, but wide open for misinterpretation, by yourself, and others.

It sounds as if you have an “old school, or old fashioned” love and respect for her, which is missing in many households today.


Molly On Money October 17, 2010 at 9:58 PM

My ex-mother-in-law (who I love dearly) use to follow me around the house telling me I would get sick because I didn’t wear shoes, would get sick because the dogs were allowed in the house and get sick because I didn’t go to confession (I wasn’t Catholic-that didn’t seem to matter!). I would explain to her that I had been living this way for my entire life and I was quite healthy……it didn’t stop her!
Mythology is strong!


Crystal October 18, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Moving with the times is SO important and some mythology can happily be ignored. Like Molly, I always blew off my grandma about being barefoot all the time and seemed to have avoided the plague…


Sandy L October 18, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Ted – you could be onto something. yesterday I saw an indian guy with a mullet and a handlebar mustache. He was trying to assimilate but in the wrong decade.

All – I have a superstition post I want to do later.

Crystal, Molly – the catch cold comment is also a babci oldie but goodie. She also thinks sitting on concrete gives you arthritis and going outside with wet hair will make you “catch” pneumonia as will drinking icy drinks on hot days.


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