Food Lady


Ronnie Pastecki

A flurry of motion caused me to look up from the book I was reading. I smiled when I realized that it was a beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird. As the little creature hovered in midair, the wings beat rapidly together as if they were trying to send a message to me.

This same bird had tried to enter through an open window earlier while sipping my morning pot of tea.  I followed the creature’s movement as it approached the feeder, tried the various ports, and left. I assumed he had drunk his fill of the sweet nectar within and went on with my day. However, this insistent visit made me arise and return to the feeder. Sure enough, the liquid was almost gone. Could this avian wonder really be alerting me to refill his bowl? I made a new batch, placing the now full red disk back in its regular spot, and waited.

As I did, I recalled the various dogs I have had over the years. Each canine soon learned to go to their bowl and check it out. They would quickly find “the Food Lady,” as my husband laughingly named me, if nothing was available. That name stuck over the years and soon referred not only to my feeding of pets and visiting birds. I enjoy cooking large meals and sharing them with my family. The reusable plastic containers appear as soon as the dishes are cleared so that all can enjoy the leftovers.

Sharing food is a basic of hospitality. This has taken on a more insistent need as the economy tightens. Food banks throughout the United States have experienced unprecedented demand. Who hasn’t seen the television coverage of the long lines of cars lined up for food distribution?

My little feathered friend beckons me to refill his feeder. It raises the issue of whether I am doing my part to share the essentials of life with my less fortunate brethren. The disturbing image of children going to bed hungry stays with me. How can they do well in school or in life if they do not receive adequate nourishment? Indeed, we can all share our blessings with others. So, the next time you see a flyer or an ad seeking donations to your area food pantry, pause and consider if you too can become “the Food Lady.” You may never see those who benefit from your generosity. Still, the sense of goodwill will wash over you just as the returning hummer brings joy to your life.