Story Circle Network

Catastrophe, Survival, and Recovery: Stories from the Storms

Katrina Aftermath
Stephanie Barko, Austin TX

A couple has dinner in a city seven hundred miles from New Orleans. The wife suggests that they make a stop at a grocery store on the way home, and donate their purchase to the relief effort. The husband shuns the idea. He never goes to the grocery store with his wife.

"It's on the way home. We will do this." the wife says.

The husband drives his wife to the store and parks. She enters the store with her downloaded food pantry list while he grabs a cart, trailing her. They traverse up one aisle and down another until the list is bought.

"Okay, let's check out." she says.

"Is this all you're going to get?" he asks.

She explains that she intended to spend $25 and has done so.

"Well, let's go around again and double it." he says, astonishing her.

The couple makes another round to the baby food, the soup, the peanut butter and the canned fruit before heading to the checkout stands.

"Put it on your credit card." he says. "I'll pay half when the bill comes in."

After she signs for it, he picks up the white plastic bags, wondering where the stuff is dropped off. She stops him and asks the sacker to tie the ends. She picks up two tied bags and leads her husband to the food bank bin opposite the checkout stands. He deposits his bags into the bin after she deposits hers, and they walk out. It is the first time she has ever seen him donate to charity. They float out of the store and into their car, returning to suburban life.

Last updated: 10/04/05