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Every invention comes from necessity and whoever invented the garbage disposal must have been inspired by a mother and 125 miniature white Styrofoam containers from a senior meal site.
After my mother died it was very difficult to pack up her things and find a home for them. However, it was not difficult to haul 125 Styrofoam containers out to the curb for Tuesday's recycling pickup.
Mom didn't enjoy cooking, so after Dad passed away she started having lunch at the senior meal site in the small town where she lived. It was the perfect cooking solution. Not only did Mom get a hot lunch every day, but because she started volunteering, she got to take home leftovers--food that would have been thrown out anyway. In theory, this all sounded wonderful. The problem was when I'd visit Mom she'd never let me take her out to dinner.
"Why waste food?" Mom would reply when I'd extend an invitation. "There's roast beef, turkey pot pie, scalloped potatoes, cole slaw, corn, fruit salad and cherry cobbler in the refrigerator for dinner."
I admit it sounded like a smorgasbord, she must have been cooking like crazy anticipating my visit. So I started setting the dining room table for a fancy feast, but my mother started lining up 15 little miniature Styrofoam containers on the kitchen counter. Taking the lids off of the containers, one-by-one Mom took my order for the evening's fare, "What would you like? How about a little of everything?"
Yea, boy, that's what it was going to have to be. Because there was one bite of roast beef in one container, maybe three bites of turkey pie in another, six kernels of corn in yet another and five miniature containers with dabs of cherry cobbler--enough to actually make one dessert. But whose dinners were all of these miniature containers left over from? (I hoped my mother's.)
My mother grew up in the "waste nothing" era, so I knew the only way to get rid of the Styrofoam leftovers was either to eat them or get up early before Mom, switch on the radio to drown out the sound and then turn on the garbage disposal. "Mom, I ate the rest of the leftovers for breakfast, I'll take us out to dinner tonight."
I used to feel a bit guilty about tossing out Mom's Styrofoam collection, but I was pretty certain there was no use for Styrofoam in heaven. You might not be able to take it with you--but for folks like my mother--you can drag it along as far as the front door of the pearly gates, until finally you must lay your bag of Styrofoam containers down.
And when you lay them down, I like to think that it's people like my mother who are then in charge of finding good homes for those nifty containers. Because one never knows when you'll need a pint size Styrofoam container that used to have a single serving of baked beans in it.
(This one's for you Mom--I love you.)
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE TURNIP PRINCESS AND OTHER NEWLY DISCOVERED FAIRY TALES by Franz Xaver von Schonwerth. Start reading now and enter to win a Penguin tote bag: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqT1AFE3FA7E22&c=CLASSICS