Buy store brand sour cream and margarine, unless name brands are on sale for less. Wash and save all of the empty containers.

            If you stay in the same apartment for a few years, the apartment with a smell of expensive paper and dry chicken bones and unscented lotion, you’ll build an impressive collection of flimsy plastic containers which shouldn’t be microwaved but have lids with satisfactory seals.

            As a likable older guy living alone, with an oxygen tank and an illness, people will give you foodstuffs. Keep those containers, too.

                                         drawing by the author

                                         drawing by the author

            Dedicate a whole pair of kitchen cupboards to saving them. They are good for mixing hues and rinsing brushes while you paint delicate watercolors in front of the TV, a sunrise over a rooftop, a pair of plums. You were originally a sculptor but money limited your materials and sickness your strength.

            If you snap at a helper for throwing one in the garbage, tell them it’s okay after awhile. Use a voice that’s resigned to being agreeable to the people you’ve come to depend on.

            The dry tubs are also a suitable place to leave a chewed bit of nicotine gum that you mean to resume chewing later.

- Meredith Counts