I remembered as soon as I came home that Friday and opened the fridge in search of a quick lunch. ‘Oh no, I forgot dessert!’ That’s what happens when you write a grocery list but then forget to take it along when you go shopping. Well, I wasn’t going to shlep back to the store with the kids. We would have to manage without watermelon this Shabbos.
As soon as the delivery arrived, I called to my kids, “Who wants to help Mommy unpack the Shabbos food?” I soon had more willing hands than I could handle, depositing my groceries on every available surface in the kitchen. The box was emptied in minutes.
“Oh, what’s this?” I stared at the one item remaining in the box. A quarter of a watermelon wrapped in saran wrap was lodged comfortably in the corner. “I didn’t buy watermelon!” Although I should have. “How did this land up here?” I looked at the food items scattered around my kitchen. This was definitely the right box. Everything else was mine. I dialed the grocery store.
“Hi, I just received a delivery and I found quarter of a watermelon that I didn’t take. Can you check if I paid for it?”
“Okay, one minute.” Several clicks of a computer mouse sounded in my ear. The man on the other side was apologetic. “No, I don’t see it here.”
“Fine, can you add it to my bill?”
“Sure.” He must be relieved. One less delivery man to send out.
“Can I tell you a funny story?” I greeted my husband an hour later. I described my disappointment at forgetting our Shabbos dessert and how it was mistakenly sent to our door. He listened thoughtfully.
It was only after Shabbos that my husband reminded me of the incident. “You want to hear the other part of that story?” He ventured shyly.
“Hmm?” I couldn’t imagine how he could add to a story that had happened to me.
“Remember I told you on Wednesday during lunch that we needed to buy watermelon because we would be fasting the next day?”
I did remember. I had wondered vaguely why my husband went food shopping that night but came home without the electrolyte-filled fruit.
“Well, I was filling up my wagon in the grocery that night. I saw there was only one quarter of a watermelon left, and I quickly took it. Then, I saw the boys from the dorm down the block. They were also buying food for before the fast. I heard them say, ‘Oh, there’s no watermelon left!” They sounded disappointed.
“I felt bad for them. I figured, they were more people than us and we could manage without it. So I gave them the quarter of watermelon from my wagon.”
Comprehension dawned. I smiled. “Wow! You gave away your watermelon, and two days later, Hashem sent it to our door when we needed it!”
The next Friday found me shopping without my list again, but this time there was one item I wasn’t forgetting. As soon as I came home, I made sure to put the watermelon in the fridge. As I started tidying the house, I called my grandmother to wish her a “Gut Shabbos.”
“So where will you be for shalosh seudos?” I asked while discussing her meal arrangements.
“I will be joining your parents for that meal,” she responded.
“I guess I’ll miss you, then.” My baby wasn’t walking yet and we did not use the eiruv.
My grandmother does not like to make anyone feel left out. “You know what? I will stop by and visit you on the way. How does that sound?”
“Sounds great! Looking forward!” We schmoozed for a few more minutes and hung up. The phone rang again.
“Hi, I’m passing by the grocery,” my husband was on the line. “Need anything?”
“I’m so happy you called!” I was amazed at the perfect timing. “My grandmother is coming by on Shabbos afternoon. Can you pick up some nosh?”
“Sure.” My husband is the expert when it comes to hosting.
Sure enough, I soon found myself unpacking a full box of snacks, chocolate and fruit. “Oh no!” I stopped, dismayed. “You bought watermelon!”
“I forgot to tell you that I had already bought that earlier. Okay, I guess double is better than none.” I started rearranging my fridge to make room for the second quarter of watermelon.
The final phone call in our saga came some hours later. We happen to live just down the block from my parents, which makes for some convenient erev Shabbos last-minute deliveries. I was on the phone with my mother, having asked her to send me something or other, when she suddenly asked, “You wouldn’t happen to have extra watermelon, would you? Somehow, we forgot to buy watermelon this week. Bobby’s coming for the seudah, and I really wanted to serve that for dessert. It’s too late to send anyone to the store now…”
Almost breathless from excitement, I said, “Mommy, you won’t believe it, but we actually bought an extra quarter watermelon this week. We really don’t need it. This is amazing!”
Pondering our watermelon tale, I was struck by the tiny glimpse we received of heavenly banking. I do not presume to understand, but I could see that our investment of a quarter of watermelon for a group of hungry boys had been repaid in full. We’d received both our own Shabbos dessert plus another chance to “invest” had been brought to our doorstep. It made me wonder why I would ever keep anything for myself. Giving it to someone else would mean having it placed in my heavenly bank account to accumulate interest that never stops growing, with generous dividends paid down here as well. Sounds worthwhile, doesn’t it?