a sammich and moo juice

13 09 2008

Lunches carried in brown paper bags – names scrawled large enough to be seen from the passing Sputnik – the scorn of classmates who had the latest and greatest lunchboxes of  Top Cat , Casper or Felix the Cat.  Just plain old practical brown paper bags that I was supposed to bring home to be used again.

Oh those lunches. Mine was a sandwich of an odd substance usually on white bread with mayo wrapped in waxed paper; an apple for dessert.  No chips, no hostess cupcakes, twinkies or the other things I lusted for across those fold-up lunch tables. Wait,  I take that back – I did get three, count them three, Hydrox-fake Oreo-cookies.

During first grade I contracted Hepatitis A. When their own version of “Dr. Kildare” told them I needed to eat liver once a week – the form in which it was presented mattered NOT. The Oscar Mayer liver sausage/liverwurst /braunschweiger sandwiches – call it what you will – was supposed to be a source of vitamins and protein for me.  At the same time they were trying to save my liver – they subsequently tried killing me in the cholesterol department. Little did they know they were early on in the preparation for refining my taste buds to learn to love European paté when the time would come. Thank God for Lipitor (or it’s generic equivilant – death to the large pharmaseutical devils). 

There was one more component in the lunch department. It was my responsibility to put my sticky fingers into the penny jar each morning and only come out with the allotted three. Every weekday morning for nine months of the year – it would get robbed.  In its heyday it would be depleated to the tune of 9 cents a day.  Just enough to buy three kids three half pints of milk at lunch.

Hiding just inside the cupboard, always on the first shelf quietly waiting for deposits – this isn’t the only cupboard it’s been tucked away in – nor is it the original container – it is still there. 

Days before we started hospice, Billy was still stashing pennies. There they sit – no one is taking out money for moo juice these days.  But if you need a couple of pennies…you’ll know where to look.



One response

14 09 2008

You know, when one is raised during the depths of The Great Depression it tends to shape one’s view of things for the rest of their lives. I know that my dad was never one to spend foolishly. He liked having a clean car, however, and to the end of his life he never would scrimp on food. I guess that eating well and driving a nice car was his way of reacting to what he experienced as a child. One of my favorite memories is of him dutifully tithing on Sunday. One of his last acts before we would leave for church was to fill out a check, which he always wrote out while standing at the end of the mantle above our fireplace at the house on Monroe. I can still see him standing there with his hat on, backlit by the window just to his left. He had this odd habit of jamming his tongue against the inside of his cheek when he would write or draw. We all giggle when we talk of that little, mobile bump that always would appear on the side of his cheek. Mom’s life on the farm was much different during the 30’s, as they were able to raise their own food. She says that it was her older sister that assumed the role of lady of the house after their Mom died. It’s all about practicality, my friend. Being responsible, caring, and faithful were the lessons that they learned and passed on to us. It’s a simple recipe for living that, in this day and age, would seem passe to many. How mistaken the greedy ones amongst us are. Maybe we need a good dose of adversity to remind us that every penny, every paper bag, and every Hydrox was meant to be shared.

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