Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

by Andrea Pakutz

Mary Harriet Hubbard was 82 years old.  She lived alone in a low-income housing plan for the elderly.  She had been the eldest of eleven children, and had raised nine of her own.  All of her life she took on the responsibility of caring for her large family.  Now, since Charlie Hubbard had passed on, she found herself quite alone and quite lonely with on one to care for, no one to cook for.  Mary Harriet Hubbard, affectionately known as Hattie, was a good cook who really knew how to stretch a dollar.  After all, she had lived through the Great Depression and through food rationing in World War Two.  But, these days, Hattie didn’t feel much like cooking.  What was the use of cooking just for her?  Besides, since Charlie died, there was less money than ever.

On the morning of Friday, November 12th, Mary Harriet Hubbard opened the door to her pantry. It was a ritual of Hattie’s to start the day off with tea and toast.  On this Friday, the entire contents of the pantry consisted of five teabags, 2 rolls, I can of peas and one can of tuna.  This was very discouraging and Hattie decided to have a serious talk to the Lord that evening.  Hattie had a personal relationship with the Lord and talked to Him as if her were a next door neighbor.  That night she prayed, “Lord , I don’t like to complain, but here doesn’t seem to be work for me to do here any more.  I’m no use to any one.  Just so you know, Lord, my bags are packed and I’m ready to go.  If there is anything you want me to do, you’ll have to let me know.  So that’s that.  Amen and good night.”

On Saturday, November 13th, Mrs. Hubbard went to her pantry to get her tea and bread.  When she opened the door, three loaves of break spilled out onto the floor.  Hattie stepped back in surprise, and then she began to laugh.  The pantry was full to the brim with enough groceries to feed an army.  “So Lord, there is more to be done”, she said out loud.  From that day on Mary Harriet Hubbard’s cupboard was never bare.

On Sunday, November 14th Hattie Hubbard cooked a meal for all the residents of her building.  She continued cooking for her friends and neighbors for years to come.  Mary Harriet Hubbard lived to the fine age of 92 years old.  When she died, many were surprised to learn that she left her cupboard to a new resident, a Mr. Bigley, a man that Hattie barely knew.  What they didn’t know was that Mr. Bigley had for twenty some years been a chef in the United States Navy. 

[Back to Issue 2005]

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