First of all, Dad was a creature of habit. He liked it when things were steady, and reliable and there weren't any really big changes to get used to - so for the first perhaps 10 years of Mum and Dad's marriage, Dad's packed lunch consisted of a peanut butter sandwich. There may have been 'cookies' or other treats, but the mainstay was the sandwich.
Then one day, just out of the blue, Dad said to Mum one night as she was getting ready to pack his lunch:
"You know, Mary, I think I shouldn't have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch anymore."
"What?" Mum replied, wondering what she could do now at this time of night.........
"Well, how about bologna and mustard? That would be good! Yes! That would be really good! Besides, I think the peanut butter is beginning to make my body smell....."
"Bologna and mustard - OK- that's what I'll pack", she said muttering to herself under her breath - "At 9:00 at night he tells me he smells and he needs mustard!"
So for the next 15 - 20 years (OK- writer's licence again - but it was a very long time.....)--Mum packed Dad's lunch with bologna and mustard sandwiches. Every day, 5 days a week.
Then again, one night, Dad approached Mum as she was getting ready to pack his lunch, and he said:
"Mary..the bologna sandwiches are good. I like them. But I think the mustard is beginning to make my body smell --maybe we should change to tomato ketchup ... so how about some tomato ketchup instead!"
"So, now after all these years you now want ketchup?"
"I think I do--ketchup would be nice"
"OK then - so ketchup it is!", she muttered under her breath again as she looked at this man and wondered if all husbands were so fickle and difficult............
But as a child I grew up in a home where on Sundays we had a lunchtime roast of chicken - every Sunday.
On Mondays Mum washed the weeks laundry in her wringer washing machine, and then served left over chicken for dinner.
On Tuesday we may have had meatloaf and mashed potato. (We had mashed potato a lot, and only usually corn or green beans - Dad didn't trust peas and the broccoli had to sit at Mum's end of the table so he couldn't smell it!
On Wednesdays Mum cut out coupons for groceries, and ironed the clothes for the week. (We probably ate left over meatloaf)
I don't remember Thursdays - maybe they were paydays, where Dad would come home and Mum would get out the big, grey journal, and they would lay aside the cash for the bills to be paid and meticulously tick off each bill in the journal - in retrospect - after paying bills maybe we didn't eat!
Then on Fridays, Dad would take Mum grocery shopping with her coupons, and if I was lucky I could have a toy or a comic book--I always liked Fridays - they made the rest of the week worthwhile!
But as scheduled and regular as our weeks were, I ended up having the best childhood, with lots of laughter and a feeling of security - sort of like I knew my parents would always be there, and would always protect me, and there would always be the same home to come back to every time. They did what they could in what were in the early days very difficult times, and just kept doing it, meanwhile being able to store away money into a bank account and look after their family in the best way they knew how to.
But to this day meatloaf and definitely lima beans have never made it onto any of my dinner menus for my family ---somehow I don't think they ever will!