Don’t Go Hungry
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  • Post published:13/05/2021
  • Post last modified:13/05/2021

Mama was the last and fourteenth child, born in rural Quebec in 1911. Although her father was a well-do-to land owner, he spent very little on his family. To put things in perspective: he was one of the first in the community to have a motor vehicle. He housed it in the barn, polished it daily, and covered it every night. He took it out once a week on Sunday mornings and drove to church; his wife and children walked. He was as miserly with food and there never seemed to be enough to fill the children’s bellies.

As I grew up in my house with my sister, mama made sure that food was plentiful. Not only for us, but for every kid who came to visit. After introductions, mama would take all newcomers straight to the kitchen where she showed them the fridge and cupboards, telling everyone to help themselves, make themselves “at home” and above all, never go hungry.

At some point during my childhood, mama went to work at papa’s office and we had a housekeeper. I remember how mortified Mrs. Ferguson was so see a neighbourhood ragamuffin gobble up bananas and apples day after day after day. Finally, with great indignation, she complained to my mother about “that child who was stealing food.” Mama quietly braced herself, looked Mrs. F straight in the eyes and said, “No, he’s not stealing. That’s why the food is here. He’s simply doing what I asked — not to go hungry.”

That was a powerful lesson for me. What do you think?

Marguerite Phinney would have been 99 this year. She died in 2004. I reckon mama’s talking with the angels right now — and making sure they aren’t hungry.

Postscript: Mama’s favourite flower was a red rose; I took this photo in memory of her for Mother’s Day.


Photo Credit

“Red Rose” © Sandra Phinney

Recent Sandra Phinney Articles:

  • Puckering up for Valentines
  • Gifts From Hanoi
  • Labrador: “Big Land” and Great Food
  • Seaweed Secrets
  • The taste of respect

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