Friday, June 13, 2008


I have a hoarding habit. I think it comes from growing up on the mission field and not having access to things we liked in America. Friends would come to visit us and bring us goodies, which we would divvy up with military precision. My brother would blow through this allotment in record time, and then he would come begging for some of mine, which I resented deeply. I had an empty stationery box in my dresser where I kept my chocolate from America.

Our family has continued this tradition, on two levels. The first level is Mom’s normal chocolate stash. Make no mistake, the chocolate “cabinet” is way out of reach of the children. I have various other chocolate stashes around the house, but if Meg knows where they are, she will raid them. So for my own protection the mother lode has to be out of reach.

The secondary level of stash is when we get candy from America, usually mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Since all four of us like them, we have to divide the package into four little baggies of them. The kids ask every five minutes if they can eat one of theirs. I hide mine somewhere and eat one every once in awhile.

This plan can backfire however, because the other day I was working on my box of filing and I found a baggie of Peanut Butter cups at the back of my filing cabinet. But alas, they were stale and disappointing.

Heather uses this word to refer to over-the-counter drugs she carries in a little box in her purse. The other day, she asked me to pick up some allergy medicine. When I walked in she said, “You got the stash?” and then chuckled.

For me, the word actually carries the original illegal meaning. Most people find this surprising about me (because I’m in the ministry) but I grew up around drugs (as in marijuana). In fact, my brother sold pot to others when I was a kid. I can remember when I was 8ish: I came into the house to find him measuring out a large table-full of pot to make dime and nickel bags as well as a cache of joints.

I also learned early on that he had a stash of Playboy in his room. And, uh, Mom and soon-to-be-stepdad had a stash of Jim Beam on top of the fridge that I could reach any time I wanted a nip. Ah, yes, the innocence of childhood. I was 9 at the time.

Now that I’m supposed to be a man of God, I invest the word “stash” with other meanings. For example, I find it difficult keeping a stash of Hot Tamales in the house.

Also, I think the word “stash” would make a good name for a character in a soap opera. I can just hear someone saying, “Did you hear that Stash proposed to Alycia, but he really thought she was her twin brother Mortimer?”

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