A few months ago one of our dear neighbors asked if our kitty cats liked tuna because they had several cans to give away. I thought maybe it was some off-brand packed in oil, but it was actually a well-known brand and one that we frequently purchase at Costco. Jerry and I decided the cats would not be feasting on this, especially because it could start a trend here—the little socialists thinking it a permanent replacement of their hum drum Fancy Feast. No, Siree Babe, that tuna went in our pantry. We never told Hekyl and Jekyl it wasn’t a gift for them. We actually didn’t tell our generous neighbors either. I guess now they are learning the truth. Sigh………
In doing an inventory of what remains in our pantry, I counted the cans of tuna and breathed a prayer of thanks. And then I had a flashback of an incident that happened way back in about 1972. We were living in a 12’x60’ mobile home in Virginia Beach with 1 and 3 year old little sons. Jerry was in the Navy as an overworked and underpaid enlisted man, and I worked from home typing dissertations and doctoral theses as well as medical reports. Most of my work had to be done while the boys were napping or after they were down for the night. Doing this work at the kitchen table eventually created back problems that to this day helps my chiropractor pay his rent. Yes, we were definitely poor, but we were happy. We ate a lot of tuna in those days, partly because it was inexpensive but mainly because it was easy to fix in either sandwiches or casseroles and a definite timesaver for this working mom. One day a neighbor popped for coffee. She ranted on about how poor they were and didn’t have enough in the house to eat, yada yada yada. In an attempt to show a little of God’s love, I offered her several cans of tuna, but you would have thought I slapped her in the face. “I’m sick of tuna,” she lamented, but she took the offering anyway. When I told dear Jerry about the visit, he reminded me all of our military neighbors made approximately the same salary which meant we were all poor! The lady didn’t have a job (not sure why) and they had no children at that time. Jerry probably mulled this over said something like, “And you gave away some of our tuna? What were you thinking?” No, he likely didn’t say that since it’s not his nature, but maybe he should have. I wonder where that lady is now and if she has learned to adapt to whatever the Lord provides or if she’s one who’s having a pity party about nothing to eat but tuna? Sure do hope she and others like her have matured and learned to seriously deal with it. Like I used to remind our kids, starving children in China would LOVE to have your tuna! And yes, the boys did encourage us to send the tuna to China. Seriously spoiled kids!!!!
In these times of uncertainly, I like to think we would all share tuna or whatever else our neighbors may need. I believe everyone of you reading this are of the same mindset. I know our neighbors would share with us because they have already offered to do so. Whether it be tuna, toilet paper, antibacterial wipes or lavender cookies, don’t be afraid to take a risk and share what you have with others. Don and Rae, neighbors extraordinaire, if you would like your tuna returned, we will be happy to give you what’s left. Seriously!!!
Father Raman, Catholic priest, 1581-1660, penned the following: “Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick of the devil, which he employs to deceive good souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything.” I found that little gem in Patches of Godlight, Father Tim’s Favorite Quotes by Jan Karon. A good reminder we should do all we can to help others but take good care of our own health in the process. May the Lord be with you and keep you in His loving care.