Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Can of Peas

This is a story I do not remember happening but is one of my mother's stories about me. This occurred when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.

The school I attended was going to show the movie "Heidi" starring Shirley Temple. The cost of this event was a can of food. This was a charity thing to help out families that were not doing too well. I must not have been overjoyed to screen this classic, for I neglected to mention the forthcoming feature to my parents. On the day of the movie, when everyone else had brought in their price of admission, I was the sole student without a canned good. When the teacher asked where my can was, I thought quick and responded, "My mom's only got one can of peas and we need it to eat for the rest of the week." The teacher felt sorry for me and let me join my classmates to watch Heidi.

I lived about 5 houses from the school. I never stayed in the cafeteria for meals. I would always go home at lunch time. This could be construed by the faculty that my family couldn't afford to pay for the hot lunches. And construe they did. My parents were not poor, they were cheap. Why pay for hamburgers and fries when there was a leftover tuna casserole at home? So my teacher talked to the rest of the faculty and convinced them to donate some of the collected canned foods to my family. My teacher showed up on our doorstep with two grocery bags full of goodies. My mother was flustered with embarrassment. The more she tried to refuse the food, the more my teacher took this as mom being too proud for charity, and insisted more strongly for her to take the food.

Finally, my mother had to bring my teacher into our kitchen and show her our stocked shelves and full refrigerator. The two of them talked for awhile and finally, my teacher conceded that we did not need the hand out and took her bags and left.

Up until this moment in my life, I had only caused minor embarrassment on rare occasions to my mother. This one had her blushing for a week. Oddly enough, I did not get punished. Instead, to prove we were not a destitute family of the Cratchit caliber, my mother started supplying me with lunch money on those days the school had meals I really enjoyed, like pizza, or sloppy joes. Talk about a twist of luck.

This may be where I learned that making up stories can sometimes be a good thing.

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