Remember Whensday: The Christmas Food Box

style="color: #351c75; font-family: "Trebuchet MS",sans-serif;">My post today has no photograph to jog my memory. Way back years ago when I was a divorced mother of three young children, trying very hard on a very tight budget to make ends meet, I was the recipient of a food box from a community organization at Christmas. I was happy to get it, but one of the things I have always remembered from that experience was how many cans of hominy were in it.

I did appreciate getting the food, but I remember thinking “I wonder how many people really eat that stuff?” and wondering why, if you don’t eat something yourself, would you put it in the donation box for others.  Do people think that just because we are unable to provide for ourselves for a minute that our taste buds or nutritional needs are going to change? Back then, it was just a matter of tastes. If I were the recipient of a food box now, though, it would be a matter of whether or not I would be able to eat the foods that I received.

I am not alone in this line of thinking. Dee Valdez, who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 17 years ago, remembers talking to a mother with a sick 7 year old who had Celiac. The mother said she had to choose between feeding her whole family or just feeding her sick daughter the very expensive gluten free food she could find. That distraught mother said, referring to her Celiac daughter, “She’s just going to have to live with diarrhea.”

“There is a great need to develop a systematic approach to establishing Gluten Free Food Banks across the nation.” says Valdez.  She is making that happen in Loveland, Colorado, where there was a dedication and ribbon cutting for the new gluten free section of the existing House of Neighborly Service Food Bank (HNS) on Tuesday, December 15, 2009. This location will serve as the test site for the new program Valdez is designing to be implemented in communities across the country. What a wonderful thing for the 1 in 133 of us who can not eat gluten!

I was also happy to read that Pamela’s Products, a dedicated gluten-free company, is a supporter of this effort, and is donating their Baking & Pancake Mix and their cookies to HNS. I discovered Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix early on in my gluten free life–it is now one of the staples of life in the Fab household.

While the costs of gluten free products has come down, and there is a much wider selection of them, they are still more expensive than regular normal foods. For example, you can pick up a loaf of regular white wheat bread for under $2.00 at any grocery store. The last gluten free bread I bought cost me about $7.50 for a 12 ounce loaf. Fabgrandpa and I can afford it, but with so many people losing their jobs, many people who must eat a gluten free diet are finding their budgets stretched to the limits, and facing the choice of whether to eat foods that are toxic to them. Ever since I started eating gluten free, whenever I donate items to a food drive, I always donate gluten free–pasta, bread mix, baking mix, cookies, cereal.  Because, what is the point of giving something I wouldn’t eat myself?
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Remember Whensday

Something I saw this week made me think about this furniture. I bought it in (I think) 1978, as a Valentine gift for myself.  The set came with a sofa, two chairs, a coffee table, two end tables, and two lamps. All made out of heavy pine boards, and all had matching brown plaid cushions. It was not very pretty, and not really very comfortable, but it was cheap and sturdy. I think I paid about $300 for the whole shebang!
I figured that with three kids, who were about 6, 4, and 3 years old, that it would be indestructible.  I was right. That furniture went through a lot of spend the night parties, a lot of “Friday night everyone sleep in the living room so we can wake up and watch cartoons in the morning” and lots of teenager pizza parties. 

This photo was taken in 1984, the day I moved into the last house I owned. We had that furniture until 1993, when I finally bought a new set.  We took the pieces apart, and had a bonfire in the back yard.

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Remember Whensday

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When my daughter, Becca, was in kindergarten, she refused to wear a dress unless she could wear that pin. It was a simple gold leaf, I think I got it from Avon. Even though it was way too “grown up” for a five year old, it was a necessary addition to her wardrobe whenever she was required to wear a dress. I still have that pin, and every time I see it, I think about this picture.  Happy Birthday, Becca! 

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Remember Whensday

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 (Michael and FabGrandma: love at first sight: 1996)
Thirteen years ago, on October 13, my first grandchild was born. I drove a thousand miles from Atlanta, Georgia, to San Antonio, Texas to hold him in my arms for the first time. He was so tiny, so perfect, so beautiful. He was the one who made me the FabGrandma. 

Yesterday was his thirteenth birthday. He is now living in Maryland with his Air Force Dad, my son. But I have to tell ya, that little guy has been to more places than I have, and I go a lot!  Besides San Antonio, he has lived in Guam, and England. He has been to Stone Henge, Loch Ness, the Leaning Tower of Piza, the Eiffel Tower. He has camped on the shore of Wales, and near the beach in Tusany. He has caught grunion on the beach at Imperial Beach, California, and crappie in a lake in north Georgia. 
 
 (Michael fishing in north Georgia with his Dad and FabGrandpa: 2003)
That boy really gets around. Here is another photo of him that I love:


 
(Michael on the pier at Imperial Beach, California, with the catch of the day: 2004)

Hope you had a very happy birthday, Fab Grandson Michael!

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Remember Whensday

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Me on the left, Donna on the right in 1995
I met my friend Donna, in 1964 or 65, when we were in the 8th grade. I was the new kid, having moved from Austell to Douglasville, Georgia, after school had started for the year. We were inseparable in our early teens, spending almost every weekend at her house.  We helped each other through our first marriages, having our children, and through the divorces that followed. 

We visited as often as we could over the years, but it never seemed like often enough. The photo above was taken in May of 1995, when we drove to San Antonio, Texas together to take a bassinette to my son and his wife for their firstborn child. We decided that since we were close enough, we would just drive down to Mexico for one day before returning to Atlanta.  

Donna bought a longhorn steer skull, with a horn span of what seemed like six feet. If it had been one more inch, we would have had to have driven all the way with the rear windows rolled down so they could stick out.  A few years later, when I hit the road for my life as a gypsy, I lost track of her. We haven’t seen each other in almost 10 years, maybe more. But, I found her on Facebook this week!  I hope we can get together when I go home to Douglasville over the winter. 

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