I was about 12 and we were going to a “mini” family reunion at my Aunt Corine’s in Georgia. It was just three or four families gathering together for dinner and to “catch up” on life. This time my best friend Kenny was going with us. The night before the dinner, most of which Aunt Corine was personally preparing, my uncle JC offered to take Kenny and me ‘coon hunting.
About 10:00 p.m. we loaded the dogs and guns and headed out to the woods and swamps of Georgia. While waiting for the dogs to tree some ‘coons, Uncle JC decided we’d shoot some bullfrogs and take them to Aunt Corine to add to the menu. We never did get any ‘coons, but we headed home early that morning with 11 huge, fat-legged bullfrogs.
Later in the morning, after dressing the frog legs. I took them to Aunt Corine and asked her if she’d cook them for us to have with dinner. She took the plate of frog legs and appeared to happily agree to fry them up.
Almost immediately, my mother came over, took me around the corner and gave me a quick dress-down of my own. “Do you not realize how much work Aunt Corine already has, putting all this together for all of us?” And now, looking around, I could see that even with all the women-folk helping out, and the men-folk staying out of the way, that yes, Aunt Corine did look just a tad frazzled. I felt awful.
The dinner was great, and visiting with my cousins was a lot of fun. But I did maintain a certain dread that I had asked Aunt Corine to do something extra for me, when she had so much already to do. How selfish could I be?
However, later that evening my mother took me around the corner once again. This time she told me that Aunt Corine had come to her and told her, with tears in her eyes, that I had never asked her to do anything for me before. To her, my request was a very simple one, no imposition at all. But it made her feel needed, and trusted, that I could approach her and ask her to do something for me. I gave her something I didn’t know I had to give, and learned a valuable life lesson myself.
United Way makes it easy to allow people to give. Just go to www.unitedwaytriangle.org and click on the ‘give’ button. See? Easy!
Image courtesy of cyberunions.net