The Meatball Sub ( this is what gets us through the day!)
At the age of nine and a half, my mother, a single mom of three children, saved her last dollars to send me and my two older sisters to a sleep away camp for the summer. It was a six hour bus ride to the campsite which was too far from home for my liking. At the midpoint of the ride, the buses pulled over and stopped at a roadside eatery. The camp had arranged with the eatery to provide box lunches for us. The soggy and tasteless sandwiches were hardly a comforting break from the boring bus ride. While silently picking around the sandwich, I noticed other campers walking around with fist sized burgers and huge subs! A camper sat down next to me with the most delicious meatball sub.
“Where did you get that?” I asked
“I bought it in the cafeteria. Who can eat that boxed stuff?” He replied.
I jumped up, ran inside the eatery and saw a sign that hanging high on the wall. Meatball Sub……. 75 cents. My mom had sent me off to camp with five dollars . In those days that could buy you forty Milky Way bars and twenty sodas! The five dollars was to be my canteen spending money for the summer. I decided to pass on the sub, but the sight of it, had left an indelible mark on my mind.
During the next eight weeks of camp, with each tasteless meal came the thought of that tantalizing meatball sub! I removed three quarters from my pool of wealth and set them aside for the ride back home. That would be my reward and treat for being so thrifty!
The last day of camp arrived, and during the bus ride home I could only think about that meatball sub! The bus arrived at the eatery and pulled over. The counselors advised that the box lunches would be served.
“No way” I uttered as I briskly made my way into the cafeteria. I can still recall that feeling of pride as I grabbed a tray and slid it along the rails and announced my order to the cook “a meatball sub please!”
As I walked away from the cashier my eyes were fixed on the tray in my hands with that glorious meatball sub on it, smothered with a bright red sauce! I wanted to indulge myself in privacy so I headed for a table outside the eatery. I remember approaching the big glass doors that led to the outside. In the next instant, I was sprawled out on the floor with a terrible pain on my head! While exiting, someone had slammed the giant glass door on me and it hit me on the head! People came to my aid and escorted me to a table. Someone placed an ice pack for the lump that was quickly forming on my head. No sooner than they had placed that bag on my head, one of the older campers appeared before me with a brand new meatball sub.
“I don’t have enough money to pay for it” I whimpered.
“Don’t be silly” came the sweet reply, “this is yours, enjoy it!”
What makes me remember this incident so clearly forty years after it happened? What is so important about this? It is incidences like these which seem so small, but in reality they carry the larger lessons of life. Had I never walked into that door, the meatball sub would have vanished from thought, but it was the act of kindness that was so dearly expressed to me that I remember the most. From there I learned, there can be no act of kindness that is too small!
Some say that we learn how to be kind to others. The truth is, the kindness is already within us, it just waits for the moment to get out!
Bon Apetit my friends!