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Topic: Hunger (11/08/04)
TITLE: The Snatcher
By Diane Johnson
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Like most children, during the week, a big part of my time was spent at school (which I loved because of learning and recess, but most of all -- lunchtime!). Speaking of lunchtime, I would oftentimes find it hard to concentrate in class when it neared noontime, as I'd imagine a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich, potato chips, fruit, Twinkies and a thermos of cold milk patiently waiting for me in my lunch box on the counter across the room. I could never figure out why it took so long to get to lunchtime!
After we got home from school, my sisters and I would watch the clock for 4:15 p.m. It was then we got to walk a couple of blocks down to the corner streets of Raynor and Mason to watch and wait for Dad's car. When we saw him, we would get so excited that we would become much like Mexican jumping beans. In addition to seeing Dad, we would also hope to see our favorite candy, which was big chunks of chocolate from the nearby department store. Inevitably, we would get a nibble, but then we would have to wait until after dinner to have more. Why oh why did we always have to wait to eat the good stuff? Thankfully our attention would be diverted by whoever's turn it was the opportunity of sitting on Dad's lap, taking the wheel (along with him), and "driving" home.
Meanwhile at home, Mom was preparing dinner. When we returned with Dad, it was then that I would realize just how hungry I was. But the routine was that we would have to wait (for what seemed like eternity, but in reality was only until 6:30 p.m.) for my oldest brother to get home from work. I was never angry at my brother because we had to wait, but I was always oh-so hungry!
Every night Mom set the table while the food was cooking. Along with the tableware, she would also set a plate of sliced bread in the middle of the table. And every night at that time, I would tell her how hungry I was. (Maybe it was because I was as skinny as a rail, which, unfortunately, is not the case today.) She would reply that she knew I was hungry, but as always, we would all have to wait until my brother got home. Now, my brain was good at processing this, but my stomach was not. So, every night (I know you're tired of me saying, "every night," but truthfully, it was every night -- oops, I said it again), in desperation and in what used to be a secret (but, of course, now you know), I cleverly snatched a slice of bread off the table and hid out in the bathroom, where I gobbled up the evidence. And even though I felt a little guilty, I felt so much better. Now I could wait patiently until we all sat down for dinner.
This year I turned fifty. I am a mother and a grandmother and should be all-the-wiser, like my Mom. Because looking back, I am quite confident that she was wise to the fact that at dinner time I would turn into "The Snatcher," but I'll have to wait until I get to Heaven to ask her (and also apologize). In the meantime, I wish that I could tell you that I have outgrown this type of behavior, but unfortunately, I have not. I confess that I continue to snatch food off the table (and yes, sometimes even hide out in the bathroom, because you can never be too safe). Olives and warm dinner rolls inevitably disappear from a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table, or cookies and brownies from "whenever they're present" dinners, orů well, you get the picture.
I am surprised there are no support groups available for "snatchers" like me. Well maybe, just maybe, this is God's way of telling me that I should start one, or most likely, to stop "snatching." Alright Lord, I'll try, but please let me start after the holidays. Oh, wait, are those dinner rolls I smell?