This post is a little different than most of them. It is not really on a healthy journey but more just on some reflective thinking. After having a conversation with one of my children I remembered some of the things that happened when I was growing up. Then later that day I was looking through a drawer for something and found an E-mail my sister had sent to my son. It was then I decided I needed to share this.
A few years ago my son was going to record a Christmas CD and asked about some of the families favorite songs. My sister asked for Christmas shoes and so he used it. She wrote to him about why she liked it. I quote her, " I love this song because it reminds me of your grandma." (my mother) "We weren't the richest people in town but she always made sure we got what we needed. I don't know if your mom remember this or not, but one Christmas was pretty slim. Grandpa (my dad) had been in and out of the hospital with blood clots in his legs. He was off work for over a year. Anyway, Kevin, your mom and I all got a new coat for Christmas (olive green corduroy for me and your mom.) I don't remember that we got anything else, but I'm sure we must have had candy but the coat was mostly it. I caught mom crying a few days later and come to find out she was crying because she felt so bad she hadn't been able to get us much for Christmas."
I do remember that Christmas. I want to share a little of my memories now. We really did not have a lot. Even in food. One of our neighbors worked for Meadow Gold Dairy and took care of stocking the stores with product. As one of the "perks" of his job he was able to bring home the outdated milk, sour cream, and cottage cheese to feed as slop to his pigs. He had an old farm truck and he would just toss the stuff into the back of it He would come home to change his clothes before he did the chores. I remember going over and digging through that truck bed to find any of the milk or cottage cheese that had not split open and take it home to use. We just did not have money for those things. Oh we had milk. It was mixed from powder. Never could we buy cottage cheese. Then the wonderful day happened. One of the freezers in one of the stores had broken and he brought home a whole truck bed full of ICE CREAM!!!!!! He let us know he had it because he knew we were using the other stuff. I remember digging through cartons and cartons of melting ice cream. Carton's smashed, tore, and leaking everywhere. I found several that I thought sounded good and were intact but leaky. I took them home and washed them and refroze them. I do not recall ever having ice cream in the freezer before this. I picked out orange sherbet with vanilla swirled through it and a chocolate chip... The orange to this day is my favorite. It was so good. My mother had a cousin who had a little market store on the other side of town. She would go there to do shopping. I think she must have been given the old damaged and dented cans of food because I don't remember many cans that we had that were not damaged. We were on assistance from our church for a long time and she would go put in hours of volunteer work to "repay" the food bill. My grandpa Johnny would bring us old brown bananas, wrinkled up plums, bruised and spoiling fruit. ("this part is still good. Just cut that bad off.") I didn't know until a few years later that he was climbing into the store dumpsters and getting their old food. (I found this out the hard way when walking home from 9th grade one day with my friends we heard someone crying for help and it was him unable to get out of the dumpster) Thank goodness I had great friends who did not share that with the whole school. I did not like fruit and vegetables until I had grown and found out how good fresh produce is. I am not sharing this to say "poor me." I did not go without. I did not know I was poor. I share it because in looking back I realize I was rich. I had a Mother who worked hard and provided the things we needed. I had a Dad who was very sick but still went to work whenever his health allowed him even while being in terrible pain. I had sisters and a brother who I had many happy days with. We had neighbors and relatives who helped in many ways. If anything I am grateful for those experiences because they help me to realize how truly "rich" I am.