Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peanut butter makes me friends

So, I'm packed to the gills with groceries, and I swerve my cart into the next available aisle. Suddenly one of the two mammoth jars of peanut butter that I was storing on the undercarriage, goes flying out in front of my cart and lands at the feet of an older gentleman.

"Thanks.." I say, as he hands me the jar, "You know, there's only a few things that can cause a complete meltdown in my home, and one of them is lack of peanut butter!"

He laughs, "So, how many kids do you have?"

Me: "Five!"

Him: "I bet you eat a lot of spaghetti.. and chicken... and tuna.."

Me: "How'd ya know?"

Him: "We had five also--five in four years.."

He looked to be about 65 or older.

Me: "Wow! that's pretty good. We only had four in five years, and then the little one.."

Him: "Why'd you wait so long to have the little one?"

Me: "We were in the military and moved a lot, and I was Huuuuuuuuuaaaaaahhhhhhh" (making a face with my eyes rolled back in my head and tongue out)

Him: "Oh, my grandson is in the military. I just went to visit him, and I didn't want to leave! I'm so proud of that boy. I never served in the military, but both my son and grandson have"

Me: "You know ,when we were in the military we were dropping more babies than bombs, and they were cheap too!" (My husband was a bomber pilot before civilian life)

So, I proceeded to tell him exactly how much each child cost us.

Our first baby was $36.00, and that was because I stayed in the hospital for almost five days.

Our second baby was $18.00.

Our third baby was $9.04.

Our fourth was free. (I'm not really sure why?)

So, yes, I gave birth 4 times for under $100.00.

Well, I had this fella laughing so hard. You could see it in his eyes. He only remembered the good things about having a big family. He loved the memories of eating spaghetti for dinner and malt-o-meal for breakfast.

When I told him that I make my husband eat oatmeal for breakfast and drive our donated car to work, he laughed even harder. (Yes, someone actually gave us a car)

I didn't need to ask him if he had any regrets about having such a large family, because there obviously was just joy when he remembered his big family. He may have (in his younger years) possibly had to give up a fancy car or a decent vacation, but no one is taking away his memories now. or his children.. or his grandchildren...

So, all the money we have goes to the grocery store and music lessons at this stage of life. So, we're not building a 401K, we're building strong minds and bodies and spirits in a few precious souls. What could be a better investment than that? And something tells me that this fella would agree.

And it's all because a giant peanut butter bucket rolled ahead of me into the aisle.


MommaMindy said...

Nice conversation, nice blog. It is all worth it, isn't it? I love having a big family and all the kids from small families we know love coming to hang at our house. :) So glad that jar of peanut butter rolled off the cart to bless us all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this!

Tonight as I sit here wondering where the money is going to come from for all the things we need, I wouldn't change having a "large" family for the world. We are blessed with 5 as well. My oldest will be 12 this year, then there is a 9 year old and twins that are 7 and then my newest one who will is 8 months today.

Yes, times are tough, but we muddle through, and I know one day we will be thankful for these hard times. My grandmother who is a mother of 8 tells me often "these are the hard years, but we all get through them". I know she is right, and I just try to enjoy what we have, because we have each other.

Sorry for getting all melancholy on you ;) as my first time responding, but I have enjoyed your blog and this post spoke to me.


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh, Amen and Amen!


Pepper said...

What a nice blessing for both of you! A reminder of his past for him and a glimpse of your future of memories.

Ruby said...

Great story!
I love "characters" that one meets in the grocery store. Also love to hear of people stopping and bothering to talk to them. My Dad sits outside to wait for Mum while she shops...slowly... and he loves to have a good yarn to anyone available.

kristilea said...

That's such a cute story! I love conversations like that with random strangers. I also love talking with older folks, and the elderly. They always have such a different perspective on life (one that we could often benefit from trying to view it that way)

Deborah said...

So true! These are the days. Blessings and joys abound -- if you can see past the jars of peanut butter and cans of tuna :o). What a wonderful story and reminder that gentleman gifted you and in turn us with.


Mrs. Parunak said...

What a fun conversation! I always love meeting people who've raised big families. There's almost always delightfully encouraging.