Written early Friday morning.
I grew up hearing the phrase "a gracious plenty" in daily conversation. My mother would say it to indicate there was more of something (beef stroganoff, beans to snap, etc.)
This morning, as usual, I opened my window and poured some sunflower seed out on the sill for My Friend the Squirrel. He knows when I am supposed to get here, and if I don't do it right away he comes and stands on his hind paws and reaches up with his front paws, making himself BIG to say, "here I am and I'm ready for breakfast!") And I comply. Today I was in early, so I beat him to it.
I heard him eating a bit after I sat down, and then I heard him making odd noises I'd never heard from him before...fussing noises, like the chatter when dogs get a squirrel "treed." (This never happens, really, in our lives; a squirrel could sooner catch one of our dogs than the other way around!)
I looked over and his tail was up and bushy over his back, in the defensive posture that says, "I'm HERE!" He wasn't talking to me; he's never behaved like that before. I eased up and, sure enough, we had company:
(my regular visitor is on the left; the new feller is on the right).
They both have their tails up, as you see. But the "home" squirrel more. And the closer they got to each other, eating toward the middle, the more the scolding, and the louder! and finally I got up and got the bag of seeds, and I said, "Guys, really...there's more. There's a gracious plenty." They each skittered away a few feet while I replenished the windowsill.
Now they are drawing closer together again. Homie still has his tail way up. The other squirrel is a little more relaxed. And Homie seems to be trying to EAT EVERYTHING AS FAST AS HE CAN...
Because he doesn't believe it. People have come and gone from this office (previously a dorm room) for the 76 years that this building has stood. Some of them feed him. Some of them don't. Sometimes the room has been empty.
He wants to GET HIS.
This morning NPR had a story about the psychology behind super-sizing food items, spurred by the NYC mayor's proposal to restrict sales of sugary soda to 16 oz. Here's the first line of an abstract from a study on same topic:
"This research proposes that consumers' preference for supersized food and drinks may have roots in the status-signaling value of larger options. An initial experiment found that consumers view larger-sized options within a set as having greater status."
We want to GET OURS.
It reminded me of this great essay by Walter Breuggeman. "The great question now facing the church is whether our faith allows us to live in a new way."