Sunday, December 31, 2006

Home Is Where the Donuts Are

I think it was, in part, the snacks.

You see, growing up I never knew that we were poor. In grade school, Heather made fun of my boots, and my classmates defended me. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that they came to my defense because my family couldn’t afford fancier boots.

I just thought they saw boots they way that I did – my boots kept my feet warm, like before me they kept Chris’ feet warm, and David’s and Matt’s and Greg’s. My boots came pre-tested for quality control.

We would probably have been considered lower middle class, some times lower, sometimes middle, rarely classy. My folks raised twelve kids on a single, government income.

Sometimes peanut butter became the recurring main meal – usually at the end of the month, coincidentally right before Dad’s paycheck hit. For me, I just thought Mom had a perverse taste for crunchy nut spread.

We never went hungry; we never went naked; and I never knew we were poor.

I think, in part, because of the snacks.

Every day when we came home from school, there were snacks waiting. Never store bought, always baked. Cookies, homemade apple pie, brownies, deep fried donuts. Always something.

Know any starving kids that get homemade donuts after school?

And it wasn’t just for us. Our home had an open door policy. Any friend that meandered over to our house was welcome. And they always got fed.

Maybe it was Don and George, hanging out to do our homework; or Andy who lived two doors down and whose mom was a teacher – he spent so much time at our house he wasn’t expected to knock; or Brian and Dick, tagging after Mary; or Greg’s gang just killing time before musical rehearsal; or Mark bringing the track team by, interrupting their distance run for some sweets.

It didn’t matter how many – one to fifty – all were welcome in our home, and all were fed.

Mom would joke that with so many kids of her own, she could never tell which ones were hers, and which ones were guests. Safer just to feed them all.

How can anyone think they were poor with a house full of laughing, well-fed friends?

Today is my mom’s forty-eighth birthday (my dad laying down the law many birthdays ago that his wife has to be at least one year older than her oldest child).

Happy birthday, mom.

And thanks for a lifetime of snacks.

Just my thoughts,


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