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Snap, Crackle And Pop

All I wanted was a box of Rice Krispies. Sometimes I will purchase the cheaper store brand but I was craving the name-brand snap, crackle and pop version. That is until I saw the price of a skinny box of cereal with the cute elf-like creatures on the box.

I guess I expressed my disdain for the $4.99 price tag a little too loudly as a woman approached me while I stood in the cereal aisle of a local grocery store.

She, too, lamented the increased prices of everything from bread to bologna. We shared comments about the lack of some products and the challenges of stretching our food budgets. We agreed a pound of bacon would be a splurge at $6.99.

Our conversation expanded from the local economy to include our concerns for the people of Ukraine and how watching the evening news was painful. She told me how she and her husband contributed in various ways to help others but as the economy is so tenuous, it was becoming harder and harder to give.

We weren’t expressing political views — they never entered our conversation. We simply stated our shared feelings of helplessness in light of the war in Ukraine. Neither of us had answers for ending the war, but we acknowledged our belief in prayer and keeping the faith. And we admitted we shed tears over the current state of affairs far and near.

This brief sharing of concern and fear for the future with a stranger in a grocery store aisle gave me some sense that I was not alone in my frustrations. There is comfort in knowing others are feeling the same way.

It doesn’t make it go away. It is just good to know we can lean on one another for support in these times.

Now there are those who believe I have no right to complain about the price of a box of cereal because there are many, many people in Ukraine much worse off. I respect that opinion; however, when our economy means cutting back our spending, it also means cutting back on our ability to give to others.

If you’ve ever flown in an airplane, there is some solid thinking that if the oxygen masks are deployed in an emergency, you must put your mask on first in order to be able to help someone else with theirs.

It’s that same thinking we should employ these days — to take care of ourselves, families and neighbors so that we can be of assistance to others far away.

For the record, I bought the cheaper store brand cereal on sale for $1.49. It tasted nearly as good because I knew I had some cash left over to donate to the second collection at church to send to Ukraine. I think Kellogg’s will understand.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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