Several years ago, we had some very good friends who were foreign nationals that were in the United States for work. When it came time for them to return to their home country, I asked them what, if anything, they would miss about the US. There were lots of different things, but one thing they said always struck me. They said that they would miss the sheer abundance.
The United States, they said, was the land of plenty. The stores were always fully stocked with anything you could possibly want or need (and then some.). It was not only the sheer abundance, but also the unending variety.
Interested in Cheerio’s? Do you want apple cinnamon or pumpkin spice flavor?
Need toothpaste? Are you looking for tartar control, whitening, or the kind for sensitive teeth?
Light, medium, or dark roast coffee?
Yellow or red watermelon? Seeded or unseeded?
There are several different varieties of everything and you could get them all at your local grocery store.
Then last March, for some reason that I still cannot fathom, the store shelves became empty of toilet tissue (among other items).
This morning (as we do every Sunday) we went to the grocery store and saw that, once again, the store has limited the purchase of certain products. I guess they fear the possibility of another lockdown and/or the potential for more hoarding. I stand agape at the thought. Really? This is the United States! The land of plenty - where the cupboard is never bare!
I came home saddened. I never thought that I would live in a nation where basic supplies were rationed - especially when that rationing had no real rationale. I cannot help but wonder if we are going to start lining-up in Soviet-style breadlines soon.
And then, I wonder what this says about us a people.
Once upon a time, we were a people who, through grit and determination, filled our larders, but today, how quickly those shelves are emptied.