Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Groceries - deadline 8-23-12 10 am NY time (08/16/12)
TITLE: A Truly Wonderful Life
By Carla Procida
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One of my favorite childhood memories was Saturday afternoons when my mom, little brother and I returned from grocery shopping. Brown bag after brown bag, carried by my three older brothers, finally came to rest on the kitchen counters, ready to find their places on lonely shelves after a week of ransacking by my five “starving” siblings and myself. Everything was new that day. Full cereal boxes, untouched Oreo's still inside their clear plastic! We stole pieces of bologna and cheese bulging from the fresh brown paper wrapping before they made a very temporary home in the ice box.
What I never saw, like the inner working of Disneyland, was the struggles of making ends meet for my parents. I was blind to the bills and the salary reaching out to barely touch each others fingertips. And I surely never knew about the dreams my father forfeited to raise a family, and do it so well that we never saw “behind the scenes”. Blueprints of worldly greatness left on a dusty shelf in exchange for the looks on our faces at shiny new bicycles standing next a tinseled Christmas tree or handing his kids an ice cream cone at a Mets baseball game.
Now at age 54, there is another man in my life that I am extremely proud of. He has no children, well not the ones that come with birth certificates bearing his last name. His “children” stand on long lines every week, three thousand or more to be exact, anxious for bags of groceries. But these groceries come not directly into waiting kitchens but rather outside railroad stations, empty parking lots and near busy intersections. The man is my husband and his job is to supply food for the poor and needy of Long Island’s Suffolk County. He works many hours for the largest mobile food outreach here on Long Island for a small salary in this non-profit organization. He too had many “dreams” for his life unfulfilled, he thought anyway, until he saw the faces of those not only given groceries, but respect and dignity but the love of Christ!
The only lines I remember standing on were those in amusement parks, lines at the beach waiting to order a hot dog and coke or to get an ice cream cone from the Good Humor man. Now I see even “middle class” men and women forced by the economy on line with the precious poor of our community.
So many don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes at the food mission my husband works at long hours. Most go on their way thinking lack of food happens mainly in lands far from their cell phone and TV connections. But I wrote this to laud my dear husband who like George Bailey’s brother said to him in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “George Bailey (Craig Procida), you really did (are) had (having) a wonderful life!
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