would you call this waste?


When I was a child, one of the novels I had read was about a poor immigrant family living in Brooklyn in post-war era. The family was poor alright, but the father would put extra effort to get a small amount of coffee and they had made it a tradition to have 1 cup of coffee per person each Sunday morning. It was their way of celebrating their life together and rewarding themselves with something nice and valuable while everyday they struggled with financial hardship.

What had stricken me most was that the daughter in the family would not like coffee and she would dump it down the sink. Her parents would know that; never asking her to share it with another member of the family, forcing her to drink it, or omitting her from this family tradition.

They had accepted the fact that it was her decision to do whatever she would like to do with her portion of the coffee, even though it was expensive, hard to find, and would certainly be enjoyed by someone else in the family.

I keep remembering this fictional family time to time. This family had it right and had respect to individual choices and individual freedom, even though it would mean one of them was “wasting” a nice and then-expensive cup of coffee every week. (I would not feel the same way towards wasting food or other essential items, though, which are essential for our survival).

I am not saying go waste everything as you please. No. But I really like this story and how democratic this fictional family was. Maybe they also felt luxurious or abundant in the middle of poverty as they could let one cup of coffee go every week. I do not know.

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “would you call this waste?

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  1. It’s hard to say, but it may have just been a way that the family was trying to give themselves some semblance of freedom. By letting her dump the coffee they’re letting her practice her right as an individual to dump the coffee. Poor families from that era didn’t have much in the way of anything and maybe by letting her dump the coffee it helped them feel like they didn’t NEED it and if she wanted to dump it…well that was her decision and her loss as well as theirs. But it’s her decision to make.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. wise words – loved it… I love this kind of dilemmas as they stretch my thinking and expand my vision. I kind of likened it to the “fun fund” that I give myself every week. Although I am trying to save money, I do not like to feel deprived. Thus I spend (small) money on items that are “luxury”, such as a cup of coffee at a cafe, a nice stationary item I find here and there, or a book I like.

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  3. I remember when I was growing up there was no way I would have gotten away with that. I had to eat what was available, even if I didn’t like it. I am happy my grandmother taught me that because now I appreciate everything and I am not a picky eater (just don’t make me eat okra, please!!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. okra! 🙂 everybody has something; when I was a child I could not stand to celery. It made my stomach turn and made me nauseated. I am like you – I eat pretty much everything and I hardly complain about the food (except it is really bad, like heavily deep fried food I had once a couple of months ago etc. even these I am ashamed to complain about, as there are so many people who would need and love to have them, and food per se is so valuable..).

      Liked by 1 person

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