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On Sunny Lane: Leftovers

We just had some family members over for a holiday dinner today.

We call it a holiday dinner because it was halfway between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, we couldn’t call it either one. Besides, it was a small celebration. When you need to work around everyone’s work schedule and social calendar, the attendance can be small.

We had a good time, though, and we had lots of food. In fact, we had lots of leftovers, too. People wanted to leave leftovers with Sweetheart and me, but they didn’t want to take any of ours home with them.

Compounding the problem is the fact that we have two Christmas parties to go to in the next two days. That means we will have to work the leftovers into breakfast and supper until they are all gone.

I wouldn’t dream of throwing them out. Mom instilled that value in me when I was a child.

“It’s a sin to waste food,” she would say, as I stared at a plateful of food I did not want to eat. “Think of all the starving children in Africa.”

I did think about them, but I didn’t see how I could package up my lunch and send it to them. I didn’t even know who to send it to.

Mom would have had a hissy fit last week, when Sweetheart and I were in Nashville.

We were leaving the ballroom, where we had just had a bountiful dinner and listened to a concert by the Oak Ridge Boys. As we made our way to the door, we saw several tables with plates full of food that had not been touched.

Obviously, the meals belonged to people who had paid for them but were unable to attend. The servers could not serve them to someone else. I had horrible visions of the kitchen cleanup crew scraping the food off of the plates into the garbage disposal.

There was nothing I could do.

I thought about the millions of Americans who are living from paycheck to paycheck. Many have to decide among buying food, gas and lodging. Yet, there are still people who can afford all three—and more.

Where is the equity? I once told my daughter, as she complained about her brothers being invited to an event that she was not, “Life isn’t fair.” Of course, we would like it to be. And we want it to be.

We are all born with potential—some more than others. If we can put our talents to work, we can achieve great things—as long as no one gets in our way.

Sometimes people can squash our potential by being too nice-by giving us things we should work for. Sometimes they make it harder by putting too many restrictions on us—thus ruining our incentive. Sometimes people tell us we’re not good enough to be a success.

It would be nice if we could all be free—free to be successful and not have to worry about food, gas and lodging.


Dorothy is the author of two books—“Miles and Miracles” and “Getting It All Together “. You can purchase a book or make a comment by emailing her at

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