The Suitcase Lady


October 11, 2011, 9:58 pm

One morning last week, my husband went out for the mail and came back with a bucket of meat.

“The raccoons will be happy tonight,” he laughed.

I wondered if I had just entered the world of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, that hilarious children’s book where food rains down from the sky.

My husband’s theory on the meat was more mundane. Approaching the mailbox, he saw two packages of pork sausages, one huge package of ground beef, a large fish fillet and a stick and a half of butter sprawled out on Lake Shore Road. All the food was in grocery store packages, but some were opened with a bit missing. Since a Packer game was held in Green Bay the night before, he surmised the bounty was fallout from a tailgate party.

At dusk the feast was spread out in the Tooley Cafe. We made bets on who would come and what would be gobbled up first. We were both wrong. A stray cat ate a bit of the fish, followed by a raccoon who grabbed a stick of butter, put it in his mouth and ran back into the woods. A steady parade of creatures followed and were still arriving when we went to bed.

The next morning the ground was licked clean. I recently heard a piece on NPR about a family who gets all their food by dumpster diving behind grocery stores for discarded, unopened food packages. They not only get all their meals, but also fill their freezer and have ample food to share with others.

We are not about to dive for our dinners, but we won’t waste good food either. There are always hungry mouths to be fed.

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