Core Value Blog Post: “We are always hungry for more.”

In the U.S.A. we just had 4th of July last weekend. I was lucky to spend time with some family that I have not been able to be in close contact within a few months because of the pandemic. It was very nice to spend time with my parents who are getting older, especially, they are at the age now where every day they are still with us is a blessing, and we are grateful.

Some of you may have seen a photo circulating last weekend with my Mother and me as an example of “TLC Sunday Funday.”  Her English name is Josephine, she is 77 years old, 5 foot 0 inches and is always hungry for more. Today’s story is about her.

Growing up as a child, my parents both worked full time in factories. My Dad worked for Ford Motor company, and my mom worked in a potato chip factory, we always had fresh chips in my house. Mom worked at 6 AM – 2:30 PM every day. For as far back as I could remember, she ever came home and would cook and clean the rest of the day until late at night and do it all over again the next day, never complaining and always smiling and always reminding us to be grateful to God that we were blessed.

As a younger child, I remember on Saturdays and Sundays I would see my mom start working in the kitchen at 7 AM, and many times she would be in there all day and even into the evening cooking or baking something.  I found out as I got older that she was also experimenting with new recipes as well all the time.

My mom loved to cook, and still, to this day, she still loves to cook every day, multiple times a day.  As I got a little older, in my teens, I started to understand a little more why my mom was in the kitchen all day. It was not just us; it was others she was cooking and baking for all day, let me explain.

A typical Saturday for my mom was something like this:

6:00 AM she would get up and start making breakfast and for all of us because she knew my Dad woke us all up at 6:30 every Saturday and made us do chores as a family.  By 7 AM, we need to be outside or inside doing something productive. In my Dad’s view, so we needed to have breakfast early enough to not ‘waste the day.’ He was big on getting stuff done early in the day.

By 6:30 AM, the aroma of fresh coffee and fresh-baked bread filled the house; my Dad would start playing loud music to get us up. The first thing you would smell was that bread and coffee, and it made it much easier to get up! We would eat quickly and start working, and my Dad kept us busy all day long with chores. Cutting the grass, planting a tree, repainting something, cleaning the cars, he always found something we could do and expected us to do it and not complain.

While we were out working, my mom would, of course, clean up after breakfast and do her chores but was right back in that kitchen by mid-morning preparing for lunch. We always had a huge lunch at 1 PM sharp, and it was still a multiple course meal.  Pasta, salad, bread, a meat dish, a dessert, and sometimes various choices of each. There were 5 of us, but it always seemed like there was food for 15, but my mom never threw anything away. After lunch, she would start making calls and sending us to neighbor’s houses to deliver the extra food.  I was always embarrassed as a kid to bring pasta to neighbors’ houses, especially ones that I barely knew that somehow my mom had connected with.

Dinner, of course, was later in that evening, and we would always have a relative or neighbor over for food, of course! Then after dinner and after any visitors left we would watch TV and get ready for bed, but my mom was still in the kitchen until 9, 10 or even 11 PM, I didn’t understand why when she had a day off she was in that hot kitchen 12 or even 16 hours a day.  We also made fun of her and questioned her. I later understood why.

I could write more examples, but I would be here forever. My main point today is that until I was 15 years old, I thought my mom cooked all of our meals because she wanted to save money. Until I was 30, I thought my mom cooked and baked all day because she loved to cook. I don’t know why it took so long, but into my 30’s I finally realized that my mom cooked all day because she loved making people happy.

It made her happy to make people happy, and food was her weapon of choice. Desserts were especially something she used often. If she knew a neighbor’s kid received a good report card from school, she baked cookies and sent them.  If she knew it was a relative’s birthday, she would call and invite them over and ask them what their favorite dish was and make it and send them home with extra.  If she ran out of people to call or reasons to make something, she would continue to make stuff anyway to try new recipes and get better at cooking.

My mom was and still is ‘always hungry for more” when it comes to cooking and baking, but it took me three decades to understand why. She loves cooking, but what she loves more is making people happy, seeing them smile, and being able to engage with them and spend time with them. If all she has to do is cook and work hard to make that happen, that’s what she will do because that means she can keep them ‘hungry for more,’ which allows her to stay ‘hungry for more.’ You see, she doesn’t serve pasta or dessert; in her mind, she serves happiness.

My mom, I have realized lately, is an excellent example of what I have been saying a lot recently. Whatever you are looking for, you have to give to others.  I think my mom is looking for love, happiness, and satisfaction.  Her method of achieving that is by loving others, giving them pleasure and making sure they are satisfied; in turn, she finds true happiness in her kitchen even on a hot summer day at 77 years old.

What are you looking for?  Are you hungry for it?  Just give it to others; it will find its way into your life. In an idea, what we do here at TLC is like what Mom does. We give people community, good products, excellent service, respect, recognition, and a smile, and in return, they give us the same thing.

I don’t know about you, but even after 20 years Jack Fallon is hungry for more, what about you?

Thank you for reading, now go and feed your hunger by feeding it to others!

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