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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


If I were playing a “word association” game, the word “groceries” would trigger the word(s) “wonderful childhood memory”. I grew up in the 60’s, one of six, children of the world’s best parents. OK, I may be a little bias but they were great nonetheless! We lived in a middle class suburban neighborhood which resembled a scene shot from outside the home of “Leave It To Beaver”. Tree lined streets with children pedaling bicycles down sidewalks paved in hop scotch covered concrete. My father worked hard to feed and clothe his large family, never once complaining or grumbling about his two jobs in addition to looking after an even larger house that constantly screamed at him to fix this, mow that or paint it!

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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This article has been read 264 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/23/12
I enjoyed this sweet wholesome peak behind the scenes. It is so true that many have mo idea what is going on behind the scenes of many things in life. I enjoyed the enlightenment and offer kudos to your husband and others like him.

Tiny red ink would be to save the exclamation points for dialog and allow your words to do the exclaiming. Also I'm not sure if you used his true name but be careful about divulging who the author is as the challenge is supposed to be anonymous until the judging is over. (if you didn't use a real name or you have a different last name I apologize but your story seemed so heartfelt that I assumed it was true)

You did a nice job of covering the topic and while donating groceries isn't out of the box, your behind the scene tour certainly was a fresh and interesting take. I enjoyed it. Good job
C D Swanson 08/24/12
Interesting and engaging entry with the topic. I enjoyed the entire piece and especially loved your word choice along the way.

God bless~
Laura Hawbaker08/26/12
Good descriptive writing.
Vicki J. Cypcar08/28/12
Your description took me back to my younger years in technicolor. I think we may have lived on the same block! Ahh - the good ole days. I loved this!
Genia Gilbert08/28/12
This is not only a tribute to a fine husband, but a great uplifting entry. It is a show of God's love and the sacrifices made to show it to others. What a lesson to remember. Good writing.