This month’s editor’s letter in Chesapeake Taste magazine.
I had an aunt by marriage, Aunt Kay, who was one of those people who likes to keep busy. By her own description she was a terrible cook, although she loved to eat. She only knew how to cook two things well: chicken soup (which was more like chicken stew), and a unique cracker stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey.
She was, however, good at delivering food. Aunt Kay wasn’t much of a driver, but in a small town with little traffic, folks recognized her car and knew to stay out of her way. Faithfully each week she delivered Meals on Wheels. I think she was older than a lot of the hot lunch recipients. But she was spry into her eighties and really enjoyed delivering those meals and making the visits. Which made me wonder: Who was really doing the giving, and who was doing the receiving?
A retired schoolteacher and assistant principal, it was important for her to stay involved. Meals on Wheels gave her a job. She felt needed.
Many of us have family traditions that involve giving to others. As children we watch older family members put together packages for charity, cook meals for the homeless, volunteer their time to teach a skill, or write checks. And as we grow older we start creating “giving” traditions of our own. It feels good.
Not everyone who gives is as visible as my Aunt Kay. An old folk tale, one of my favorites, tells the story of a cranky, much despised man who dies in a village where no one cares to dig his grave because they have so much contempt for the way he lived his life. He never had a kind word to say to anyone and was never observed sharing any of his wealth. But as the day unfolds, the villagers realize that the supposed miser had anonymously been giving the poor townspeople food and money each week, because the expected gifts cease arriving upon his death. He wanted to give, but also wanted to remain humble to the extreme. He wanted no thanks.
Sometimes giving anonymously feels even better than just giving. If we truly want to be givers, do we need to receive thanks?
As we start of the holiday season, and share time with friends and family, we often want to share some of our prosperity with our community. The theme of this month’s issue is Giving. We’ve packed our pages with stories about people who share their time and talents. Please let is know about people you think we should include in future issues. We always love hearing from our readers. And if you want that Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, it’s posted it on my blog, “Annapolis Taste”.