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Does Charity Really Begin At Home?

May 11, 2008
When we lived on the East Coast, my husband found out charity didn't begin next-door. That's where having a half acre of land inspired him to become a beekeeper. He had a hive, protective clothing and a smoker - but we never had honey. A neighbor sued my husband for creating "a nuisance caused by unleashed pets". The neighbor wasn't sweet on the idea of bees.

Then there was my cooking. Because I never cooked before I got married, I experienced a few culinary catastrophes. An experiment with food coloring resulted in green hamburger strogonoff. A tiny bit of egg yolk in the egg whites caused my first souffle not to rise to the occasion. Forgetting the eggs when I was determined to make a cake from scratch crumbled my expectations. Nevertheless, I never worried about my husband's reaction. He'd vowed in the eyes of God to keep me "for better or worse". For me that translated into " whom God has brought together let no half-baked manicotti put asunder".

Is it just me or should there be a charity for mothers? I think there should be an organization that protects mothers from working more than eight hours a day and that makes sure they have the necessary breaks and required meals. I know what the goals of this organization should be, but I don't know what to call it. Perhaps a motherized version of the United Way would do. "My Way" has a nice ring to it, but I'm not sure anyone would answer.

There were times when my sons were growing up and my husband was working long hours that I questioned if charity really began at home. Amid cooking, cleaning, laundry and carpools, I finally figured out what was wrong. I was the only woman in the house. Even if they tried, my husband and sons couldn't walk a mile in my heels.

Even though my family couldn't walk in my shoes, I thought they should follow my example in whatever footwear they had on. Clean up what you mess up should be sung to babies in lullabies. It should be taught to children when they're learning their ABC's and be on the test required for high school graduation. In fact, it should be part of the wedding vows. If everyone cleaned up what they messed up, Americans would be healthier. We'd have fewer pains in the neck.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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