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Back in the late 1970s, maybe even the early 1980s, my wife and I owned a business selling wood burning stoves. The bottom just about fell out of the business and we decided to move from Brunswick, Georgia back to Modesto, California.

Everything was packed and loaded into the two vehicles. All was ready for the 3,000-mile, cross-country trip, except for the two animals and about 800 cans of canned meat and vegetables.

I have always had this ‘thing’ about having tons of canned food. I have always had a pantry everywhere I lived. If there wasn't a pantry when I moved in, then I built one. I guess storing canned food stems back to when I was a young boy in the orphanage. I never forgot the nights I went to bed hungry, my stomach hurting and growling. I remembered the days I had to steal bread crusts so whatever boy was locked in the hall closet would have something to eat. There was no way we could haul all this food across country, so we decided to leave it for the next family, who might rent the house after we moved.

I drove to the super market to pick up some sodas for the trip. As I made my way down the isle, there were three elderly women blocking the walkway. I stopped and waited hoping that they would move one of their carts so I could get through. I stood there getting a little agitated. The three of them were going though tons of coupons. All at once, one of the ladies dropped the coupons and they scattered all over the floor.

I pushed my cart to one side, and got down on my hands and knees and began gathering up the hundreds of coupons. As I raked them together, I heard the ladies talking among themselves. It appears the three of them had pooled their social security money together to buy food for the month. I gather up the coupons and handed them to one of the women. When I looked into one of their carts, there must have been 40 or 50 cans of peas.

"Boy, you guys sure must love peas!" I said.

"They are on sale five for $1," said the elderly woman.

"You eat peas every day?" I asked.

"Corn will be on sale next month," said another lady.

"Ladies, have I got a deal for you. Put all this stuff back and follow me," I told them.

"I know that you do not know me from Adam, but we are leaving in a few hours. I have a ton of canned food that you can have for free. Peas, corn, canned meat, tuna, chicken in a can, you name it and I got it," I said. "The manager knows me here. He will tell you that it is okay."

Within five minutes, the ladies were following me to my house. For more than 30 minutes, we loaded canned goods into their car's trunk and back seat. All at once, one of the elderly ladies picked up two cans of Corn Beef Hash and held it against her chest.

"You've got meat. I LIKE MEAT!" she said as she sat down on the ground and started to cry.

"I've never seen anyone cry over canned meat before," I said.

"You'll cry if you get hungry enough," said one of the other elderly women.

"I know," I said as I smiled at her and remembered my days in the orphanage.

As they drove away, I looked over at my wife and yelled out "I FEEL GOOD! Like the song says."

"Oh, shut up. Let's head out for California," she said with a smile.

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