Billy was about two and a half years old, Daddy and Mother stopped by the A &W Rootbeer Drive-In for a treat after supper one night, way back when the brought those frosty mugs out to the car, no to-go orders. You had to finish your Rootbeer before leaving. We’d already had dinner, so we knew we were getting Rootbeer. A fellow who pulled up next to us ordered a hotdog. In the heat of the July evening, everyone had their car windows down. Billy was always ready to eat! Naturally, when he saw the guy’s hotdog, he wanted one, too. Mother reminded him he’d already eaten and he’d only be getting rootbeer. As the young man raised his hotdog to chomp down, Billy called out, “I wanna bite!”
Surprised, the fellow looked over to see a small boy on his mother’s lap, leaning out a car window, begging for a bit. Quickly, he tried to resume his meal. Again, “I wanna bite!” It’s really hard to shut a hotdog hungry little kid up, though Mother tried. I know we would have left if we hadn’t still had Rootbeer to finish and mugs for pickup. After trying a couple more times to eat despite Billy’s plaintive begging, he cranked his car and left.
Dear Auntie Linda, I am a first-grade teacher in a small town. One of the major problems my students face is hunger. It is not just the children of homeless or jobless people who face hunger on a regular basis. So many working parents simply do not make enough to provide sufficient food for their families. If they qualify for free lunch program, at least they get that meal, but come to school hungry and go home in the afternoon to families who can’t consistently provide enough food, not to mention, nutritious food. If families qualify for food assistance, they will very likely run out before the end of the month. Churches and food pantries help, but they are facing funding issues as well. I see hunger in children’s faces every day. I keep a supply of low cost, nutritious snacks I can slip to a hungry child on the sly, but my budget is limited and I usually run out before my monthly payday. Friday afternoons toward the end of the month fill me with dread. It breaks my heart to see little ones going out who will miss their milk and school lunch over the weekend. I encourage those of your readers who can afford it to contribute packets of nutritious snacks to your school. It would help little guys so much if teachers could make an opportunity to pass them out to little ones who can’t learn because they are hungry. Teaching the Hungry
Dear Teaching, It is a wonderful idea to ask parents or those in the community who can to contribute. It would be easy enough to have a snack drive or ask parents to add a packet of snacks to their school supply list, if they could afford to do so. This would also be an excellent community service project. Maybe the idea will catch on if you ask your school to promote it. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, My only sister has one child, a nine-year-old daughter, who is extremely spoiled. My husband has always said he’d “love to straighten her out.” Granted, Megan is a brat. She whines, is selfish, and has a smart mouth. Last week Annie called asking to speak to Bill. She told him she and her husband have a chance to go to Paris and asked if Megan could stay with us for two weeks. I am not surprised she asked him. She knows he is domineering and knew it was her best shot, knowing I’d have to talk to him about it anyway. He’d agreed and it was set up before he hung up. Bill is not a patient man. He angers quickly and acts before he thinks. I know having Megan here will be a disaster. Our kids tiptoe around him, but Megan will be wide open, since she’s never been disciplined. She doesn’t even flush the toilet when she’s done. Bill looks at this like a project. He is going to straighten her out. How in the world do I get out of this? Annie’s Sister
Dear Sister. Call Annie and tell her your home is not a fit place for Megan. While you are at it, look hard at your situation. It doesn’t sound like your home is a safe place for your children either. Children have a right to grow up free of fear. They deserve better. Auntie Linda
That was the first question Daddy asked every person who entered his house, should they be a friend, relative, or Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Salesman who happened to be hopelessly lost on the back roads of rural Bossier Parish. Raised during The Great Depression, always hungry, he frequently did a day’s work for no more than food. He swore if he ever got grown, no one would ever leave his house hungry. “Are you hungry? Kathleen will fix you something to eat!” The burden of his good intentions Continue reading
My dad was more creative than factual when making a point. When there was no dessert, he pointed out. “My mother or sisters made a cake every day.”
Other times, when we were ungrateful for how great we had it, he’d tell us his family sometimes went three days with nothing to eat but peas.
i piped up. “Why didn’t y’all eat one of those cakes your mama or sisters made every day?”
He took time out his busy day to teach me the difference in smart and smart aleck.