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Mom Had a Beef with Rationing

One summer day during World War II, Marie was doing her housework. After all, it was the first of the month and they’d just received their new supply of ration stamps. They were blue, for canned fruits and vegetables, and red, for meat. It took ingenuity for a housewife to make the stamps and days of the month come out even – especially red stamps.

Marie normally bought a huge beef rump roast the first of the month and parted with a goodly supply of red stamps. In the following days, they had roast beef sandwiches, beef stew, stuffed green peppers, hash, and on and on. On the last day, they’d enjoy soup, made with bone she’d carved from the roast on the first day.

Marie was feeling good, for yesterday was the first day of the roast, and with careful planning, there were at least ten meals left. Her four-year-old daughter, Nina, came in with a request, “Mom, there’s a dog in our yard and he doesn’t belong to anyone. He’s hungry. Can I feed him something?”

“Give him the bone in the refrigerator,” Marie magnanimously offered.

She heard the refrigerator door open and close, and then the back door slammed shut. She gave a contended motherly smile and went on with some drudgery cleaning. Suddenly, a small voice in her mind told her that something would go wrong if she didn’t have a look in the refrigerator.

So she looked inside the refrigerator, there sat the bone, all alone. She looked out the kitchen window, and there sat the dog eating her roast. She panicked. What to do? She couldn’t afford to spend any more red stamps this week.

This called for fast action! She grabbed the bone, ran out the back door and threw it with all her might towards the farthest corner of the lot. The dog dropped the roast and ran for the bone. Marie raced for the roast, tucked it under her arm like a football and headed for the house. The dog saw her maneuver and the chase was on.

By now, the neighbors had formed a cheering section over the back fence. “Go, Marie, go!”

Marie made an end run around the clotheslines. Behind her was the dog, ahead of her were the kids, holding the back door open and shouting, “C’mon, Mom! You can make it!”

Marie gave it all she had and dove over the goal line into the kitchen. Sweeter words were never heard than those uttered by her son, Bruce, who said, “Gee, Mom, could we ever use you on our football team!?”

Marie trimmed the teeth marks from the roast, washed it and cut off enough to make chili for dinner. The family, especially Nina, thought it best not to tell Dad about the excitement of the day. He was sort of finicky about food sometimes.

But he liked his dinner that evening. In fact, he said it was the best doggoned chili he’d ever eaten.

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