I was at my grandparent’s for dinner, and we were all leaned back in our chairs, relaxing over coffee. Grandpa held his small bottle of saccharine up.
“This is it, Denn,” and he shook the bottle. “The is the last bottle. No more after this.” He popped the cap and shook out the last two pills.
I see now that my American Consumerism was in full bloom. “Did you buy a few extra bottles to stash?”
“No, this is good.”
“But grandpa. They’re not selling anymore. And I’ve never seen you drink coffee without it.” My want-it-now-and-lots-of-it was in overdrive.
“Tell you what. I drive by two or theee pharmacies on the way home. Why don’t I stop and see if I can get you ten or twelve bottles? My treat!”
“That’s okay, Denn,” he said. “I do like it,”he said, shaking his head. “But, it’s okay. If I can’t get it, that’s how it goes. I’ll use sugar. Or drink it black.” He tipped his cup to Grandma who believed that to add anything to coffee was a sin.
I knew then I was different. I might have remodeled a closet as a memorial to saccharine and took a loan out for a lifetime supply. I can’t help but think of Seinfeld’s girlfriend filling her closet to overflowing with ‘the sponge’ when it was taken off the market.
Right there I had an education in contentment that no book or pastor can beat. Grandpa loved his saccharine. But if it wasn’t available, he was fine and would drink coffee just as it was made. Neither situation would throw his contentment, his happiness, or his satisfaction one way of the other. His contentment came from inside. Nothing outside, especially a coffee sweetener, could steal that from him.