Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A tale of two sandwiches.

(I'll post about the strawberry festival and the folk festival and all the stuff I have planned for today later. I felt inspired to post instead about one of my favorite stories as a kid...)

This is a family story, in that it happened to my grandmother and my great aunt.

Now, my grandmother was not from a wealthy family, and she carried to school every day a lunch bucket containing a wrapped biscuit spread with bacon grease, and that was her lunch. My aunt, however, was from a better off family (it was this aunt who later set up a date between her friend and her brother.) and was able to bring to school a sandwich made from store-bought things, like white bread and bologna.

Now, it happened one day that the two girls were sitting together at lunch and my grandmother looked over at that sandwich and wondered what it would taste like, what it would be like to have a whole piece of meat to her sandwich and to have all that soft, pretty bread. At the same time, my aunt was looking over at my grandmother's sandwich, wondering if that biscuit wouldn't be more filling and tasty than a white-bread sandwich, so she said, "Now, if you like, we could trade sandwiches, you and I, and I'd eat your sandwich and you'd eat mine."

Well, my grandmother, she got to thinking that this girl was trying to show charity to the poor girl, and she'd been raised that they didn't need charity, so she said, "Well now, thank you, but I've got a perfectly good sandwich, and I believe I'll eat it." And my aunt was taken back a little and got to thinking my grandmother was a bit stuck-up. Luckily, it wasn't the end of the world, and they later made up, and many years later, after they were sisters, my grandmother mentioned the incident and my aunt told her she'd also remembered it, and they were able to clear up all the confusion between them.

And well, I heard that story a lot as a kid, along with other stories of my family both as children and as adults. And of course, lots of parables and suchlike to let me know when I was going about the wrong way of doing things. And just a bit ago, I was in a discussion about gifts and how much easier it is to see the good in what someone else has than it is to see the good in what you have, yourself. And I got to thinking about those sandwiches.

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