When I was a boy we lived in a wide spot in the road called Logansville. My dad was the parson of the Congregational Church there. Friday was payday and in good weather I rode my bike up the hill west of town to Huber Rhorer’s house to pick up Dad’s check. It was eighty dollars a week. Friday nights we all went to town.
Going to town on Friday nights in our family was a dress-up occasion. No Levi’s and sneakers were allowed.
The whole family would walk though the grocery store while Mom and Dad picked out our weeks worth of groceries. If there was a little extra we would go to Clancey’s Hamburger stand and get the works, hamburger, small fries and a soft drink. In the summer we would often stop for a small vanilla cone. If we needed clothes and had the money we would usually shop at the United store. Most of their stuff was new, all of it was discounted.
I push-mowed the church lawn for a dollar a week. If my memory serves me right it was twenty or thirty acres. (This was back before child labor laws and family protective agencies). I used my hard-earned money to add to my matchbox car collection. They had a big selection down at the Bonanza Store. Usually I would have enough money left over to buy a couple bottles of Orange Crush soda from the cooler a Jew Knights Sinclair station. It was an old fashioned store with a wooden floor and the green dinosaur sign. Sometimes I would spend a summer morning collecting empties from ditches around the township and get a pop cycle from Helen’s market.
One night, on the way back from town, we had an experience that has forever lodged itself in my mind. My sister and I were sitting in the back seat listening to my parents talk. Mom was in a good mood.
“I was able to get enough to have a nice meal each day,” she said. “and we’re only short meat for one meal.” Dad said; “Well we’ll just pray the Lord will provide that meat.” It seems to me that the words had barely escaped his mouth when He let out an exclamation and there was a slight bump and Dad braked the car to a stop. It was a spring night after dark and the car light shown down into the ditch. Dad back up the car, jumped out, scrambled down into the ditch bend down and came up with a dazed rabbit. A sharp chop to the neck and he put his fresh kill into the trunk with the rest of the groceries.
He nailed the rabbit to a post in the basement and cleaned it and we ate rabbit with potatoes and vegetables for dinner the next day. My sister and I majored on the potatoes and vegetables.
My little brother Kevin was about three at the time. It must have made an impression on him. A few days later we were in driving through town when a cat darted in front of the car. There was no way to miss him. Kevin was belted between my sister and I in the back seat. “Oh, my, we ran over a cat,” someone said. Kevin said; “Oh no, that is gonna taste terrible.” Of course we didn’t eat the cat because the tires ruined all the good meat.
Growing up things almost always seemed tight. We lived from week to week. But I don’t ever remember going to bed hungry and usually we didn’t even have to eat road-kill.
“I’ve been young and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)