A Real Treat
Off The Wall, November 27, 2009

So, there I was, having some free time on my hands, so I decided to wander up and down the aisles just to see what was available in an area store for sale. I guess in a manner of speaking, some may call that window shopping. The one difference, I was doing it from the inside, and not peering through a four by eight sheet of glass.

Minutes after I arrived, a gent entered and proceeded to go to the counter. He told the girl in words I don’t remember; he wished to spend some money on the lottery. As I stood there and listened him rattle off descriptions after descriptions of the tickets he wished to play, I became a little inwardly disturbed, because I had a feeling he just be wasting money that could be going to a better cause.

Now, before I get on to the next subject, I have to make mention of two things. I realize that the proceeds go to help the seniors. But it my opinion, most people don’t play these games to help us old folks. They do so to benefit their pockets. Even though there may be a one in a million chance on winning, down deep each thinks he’s the person who’s going to pull it off. Once one gets hooked, it is somewhat of an addiction, I’m sorry to say.

Onward. Two days later, I took part in a church gathering. Following the meeting, all in attendance feasted on a wonderful meal prepared by three women from our parish. There was extra food left over. It was offered to me and I took some home. The next day, I ate a good bit of it and put the remaining back in the refrigerator. A number of days later, I rediscovered that bag in my refrigerator and pulled it out. Looking into it, I took notice of a drumstick and some wonderful beans. I devoured the works!

Now, you may be saying to yourself, so what? What’s the big deal? Why write about this? When I looked into that bag, all I expected to find was the wonderful concoction of beans and almonds. But hidden under them all was a chicken drumstick. That represented more to me than my protein for the day. It reminded me that so many people don’t have much of a meal all day, and then surprisingly enough, they are blessed with a little extra someone gives them, and it becomes a real treat.

That drumstick, at least in my way of thinking, became symbolic of what food banks mean to those who may be less fortunate than us. Many churches will be holding food drives particularly now in and around Thanksgiving. I think many of the members of these institutions not only enjoy giving, but recognize the need to help the poor.

Unfortunately, holidays are good for making people think just a little bit more.

Sometimes I wonder if traditional habits could be broken just a little. Instead of serving massive amounts of food, such as Bartley Teedalo has been doing at his ranch in Arizona, maybe he and some others could have a third of what is put on the table and take some of his fixings over to the Alvin Maudleys or the Bentley Grismondis’ at the outskirts of town where they and others like them live. What a blessing that would be.

Once again, I’m reminded of the gent in the pharmacy who had entered the premises as I was strolling through it on a Friday afternoon. He was spending money like it was water streaming from a faucet. And while that was going on, there were families throughout Latrobe, Derry, and Whitney scraping the beans together, but never catching eye of a drumstick or two. Maybe I’m a bit too sensitive, but that really bothered me.

On the other hand, each person is going to do as he sees fit. I have learned on my journey through life, you can twist a fellow’s arm and think he will act differently than the way he chooses. Oh, he may say things that will make you believe he agrees with your thinking, but actions, and not words, are always the bottom line.

When I learned that there are family members in the area who only have one meal a day, I feel a little embarrassed that I get to have three meals a day. The thought of sacrifice enters my mind. I sometimes wonder whether teens who walk the streets, hang out together, maybe in Legion Keener Park or youth in general that many of us encounter daily are getting the nourishment they need. The way to know is to start caring, reaching out, taking a little from our tables and giving to others.

May each of you be a blessing to others. In so doing, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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