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The Appreciation of One Nice Thing

One of my favorite movies is Gran Torino. On the surface it may seem like it’s about bigotry, gangs and f-bombs, but from an appreciation standpoint, it holds a much higher theme.

(Warning: spoiler alert!)


In the 2008 movie Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood’s character, Walt, is a modest man with one beautiful thing – his 1972 Gran Torino. The car is his one prized possession, and not just because he has carefully maintained it over the years, but because he personally put in the steering column during his fifty years working at a Ford factory. It’s part of him and part of the bigger picture of the history of the American auto industry.

Walt achieves that sense of satisfaction from the pride he takes in his work, the care he’s put into preserving it and the joy of putting it out there for others to appreciate. In the beginning of the movie, his young neighbor, Tao, halfheartedly tries to steal the Gran Torino as initiation into a gang. This cowardly act brings shame upon Tao and his family. To make up for the infraction Tao works for Walt. Throughout this arrangement, Walt is able to pass on his lifelong knowledge of cars to a younger generation. In the end Walt leaves the Gran Torino to Tao, instead of to Walt’s two sons, because Tao truly appreciates the car, knows how to care for it and has earned it.

That is the real reason I love this movie. It’s that perfect combination of pride, appreciation and then passing it on. I have to remind myself that I can’t just love what I do, I have to share it with others. This is legacy. This is where the threads of our lives continue to weave.

Eve of Reduction: Free Seasonal E-Newsletter; Extra tips and wit on Facebook; Reduction Beauty on Pinterest ; The debut DIY lifestyle book (includes 10 upcycling tutorials); and the guide to creative streams of income ebook (only $2.99).

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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