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by Eric Thomsen, managing editor, ONE Magazine

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A CLOUD OF STEAM rose slowly from the battered pot. I lifted the lid and peered inside to find an unusual pasty concoction that simmered and bubbled thickly. Grimacing, I closed the lid quickly and flashed a forced smile. “I see we are having goulash again.”

Don’t misunderstand me. In the 26 years that I ate her meals, my grandma never disappointed me. She was proud of her cooking, and her recipes made my taste buds dance in anticipation. But there was something about that goulash…

Maybe I knew too much about the way she made it. You see, grandma Hansley was a proud survivor of the depression era, and she lived by the adage, “Waste not, want not.” She was frugal, guarded her savings, and found uses for things that most people discarded without a second thought. I remember washing disposable, plastic Dixie™ cups, saving popsicle sticks to prop up small plants in the garden, and playing with toys fashioned from empty thread spools and chipped buttons. She saved her Quaker™ Oats canisters for storage and refused to use air conditioning—even when the north Florida summers grew hot and humid.

But it was leftovers that really set grandma apart. After each meal, she carefully stored each item, and I knew I would see it again. Mashed potatoes became fried potato cakes. Bacon and sausage were used for seasoning. And I often saw grandma nibbling away on those unmentionable parts of the turkey or chicken that (for obvious reasons) never made it to the dinner table.

And then there was goulash. She never told me what went into her Saturday night stew, but I am almost certain that it was a combination of leftovers from the week’s meals. It tasted great as long as I didn’t look down!

Grandma taught me more than she realized as I sat at her table and watched her move about her well-worn kitchen. I learned to be grateful for what I have, to avoid waste, to avoid taking life for granted, and to make the most of the life I have been given. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, in her own way, Grandma was teaching me to be a good steward.

As you flip through this edition of ONE Magazine, you will find stories of stewardship. You will peer across the waves with Harold Harrison and sweat with the marshal on the dusty streets of Dodge City. You will meet a genuine steward(ess) with Chuck Snow. And through it all, you will be reminded that we should never take our lives lightly! Don’t waste a single page.

And just for the record, I would do just about anything for one more chance to sit across from my grandma with a steaming bowl of goulash. I wonder if we will have leftovers in Heaven…






©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists