It has been two months since my last missive, and I have missed the daily jotting down of things that roam aimlessly thru my mind. Hopefully, I have mended my wasteful ways and am now back to allocating the 15 minutes each day I use for writing. Whenever I lose interest, I go back to 2007/2008 and read some articles I wrote then, and they give me so much pleasure. Things long forgotten are instantly brought back to memory. Therein lies my motivation.
⌘⚽ I’ll bet you are unaware that the most widely consumed meat on Earth is pork. Personally, I thought it was chicken, but pork is consumed by 36% of Earthly residents and chicken is 2nd with 33%. My favorite (beef), comes in at a mediocre 24%. The average person in our country eats 51 lbs of pork each year. You guys are eating a lot of pork!
I’m confident my family doctor thinks I eat too much meat because each time I go in for my yearly physical he always hands me literature on healthy eating, and it never includes very much meat. I probably wouldn’t be taking a cholesterol pill if I consumed less meat. I used to eat a lot of steak, but after choking on it back in 2014 and almost losing my life, I switched to meat that wasn’t so dense. Mostly now, my meat is chicken, hamburger, or something else that’s easily swallowed. I remember that life-threatening event and it had a lasting impression (thanks to Cindy for saving my life).
Sometimes, I wonder if we see the past as it actually happened, or do we intentionally forget certain aspects of what occurred. I believe that all of us have some type of burden to carry from our past, but I also think our past is unchangeable and we should always try to put it out of our mind unless they are beneficial or beautiful memories.
Anyway, back to the meat thing. We all know that too much of it will eventually clog our arteries and generate all kinds of health problems. I walk around with 200 lbs on a frame that my doc tells me should only have 175 lbs. My only explanation is that, somehow, I believe I’m a healthy 200 lbs. My doctor ordered an echocardiogram last week, so we’ll see what damage all that meat has done to my cardiovascular system. I dunno how it can come back showing problems because I feel as healthy as a horse. We’ll see. I know that I’m a grateful recipient of undeserved grace.
Update: The doctor’s office called and said everything looked good. That made me feel better.
⚽⌘ It seems as if the heat index for our area in Virginia has been over 100° for the past two weeks, thus, our thrice weekly walks really took its toll. It would be easy to say, “to heck with it” and stay inside all day, waiting for cooler weather to prevail. But, upon further reflection, I decided that wasn’t the choice I wanted to make, and it wasn’t a hard decision. Over 200 years ago, families loaded all they had into wagons pulled by horses and trekked all the way from the Eastern Seaboard of our country to the shores of the Pacific coast. They did that in the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Heck, it’s hard for me to visualize anyone today driving a car that far without an air conditioner in it. I wonder what the settlers of that time would think of the people we have become today. Yes, I’m confident we still have strong, sturdy people that roll out of bed every morning and work outside in the extreme heat and cold, but a lot of us don’t, we stay inside and find things to do, rather than open the door and walk into a heat index of 110°.
Well, I decided that I don’t want to be that guy, the one that stays inside and cowers from the heat, I want to stand straight and tall, breathe in that hot humid air and say, to no one in particular, bring it on, I can take it! What I may have failed to mention is that part of my motivation comes from my wife. She heads outside in just about any weather, except the rain, doesn’t want her hair to get wet, other than that she’s finding something to do out there. The odd thing is, she never sweats, nothing, nada, not a drop of salty brine glistens on her forehead. Turn your head and look in my direction and you would assume I was just in someone’s swimming pool with all my clothes on. I don’t quite understand why a person doesn’t sweat when the temp is nudging 99°, but then again, she doesn’t have a lot of meat on her bones, unlike the more than plump guy standing beside her, apparently preparing for his role when Satan opens the gates of Hell. I’m thinking the Lord believes that if he turns up the heat some of this fat will melt from my body, if only I have the willpower to step into his oven.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be a pioneer, but neither do I want to become a couch potato. I’m going with an old proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was ten years ago, the second-best time is now”. My take on that goes like this, “The best time to take a stand was ten years ago, the second-best time is now”. So, tomorrow when that old temperature gauge heads towards 100°, I’m gonna step out into that oven and take a stand, refusing to stay inside where the temps stay around 78° all day and all night. But I will be watching to see if the fat melts away 😊. I am reminded of a quote by Saint Vincent de Paul “Be careful to preserve your health. It is a trick of the devil which he uses to deceive kind souls, to incite them to do more than they are able, in order that they may no longer be able to do anything”. Hmm, maybe I need to rethink this thing?
⌘-⚽ A few months ago, our longtime neighbors (Mary Beth & John) moved about four hours away and their lovely granddaughter (Beth Ann/ Alvin) took over their beautiful home. We now have five handsome boys, anywhere from age 3 to age 12 living next door to us. It saddened our hearts to see our friends move, but we knew it was the right decision. They needed to be near their daughter (Robin/Greg) to get help with their health needs. From experience, I know that as you travel thru life, people enter your circle, stay for a while, and then move on. Some, you miss very little, and then some you miss a lot. Mary Beth and John will be missed terribly. The good news is that when we are finished with COVID-19, we can go visit them. It looks like that will happen in the Spring of 2021 (7 months). By then, we will have been marching in place for a year. That’s a lot of time to relinquish to a virus, especially when you get older and the years you have left get fewer.
Our time “hunkered down”’ here at home isn’t a total disaster. We have visited with family, always using a face mask and social distancing, and gone to the grocery/drug stores for food and other necessities. We spend a lot of time outside working in the yard, hovering over every weed that pops up and immediately sentencing it to the gallows. As soon as a gumball or pinecone hits the ground, it is pounced on and deposited into my handy cart for disposal. As you can tell, I have too much time on my hands. I also spend a lot of time on my PC, but that happens whether we are in the middle of a pandemic, or not 😊.
If I had to decide what activity I miss the most during this stressful time, it would be visiting my family and friends. While all the other stuff is important, bus trips to other cities, dining out weekly, attending church in lieu of virtual services, etc. I miss visiting those dear to me the most. Arthur Brisbane said it best, “A good friend can tell you what is the matter with you in a minute. He may not seem such a good friend after the telling” 😊.
Wherever you are in this world, I hope your family loves you as much as mine loves me. I know you will return their love abundantly. That is my intent as well. I am always grateful that you take the time to read my missives. Until next time, be well….Tommy
What Would You See
Recently I was sitting alone in a little local diner, enjoying the $3.99 daily special. It consisted of a barbecue chicken sandwich, one side (I chose the homemade potato salad), and a drink.
While I was enjoying this special treat, in walks a husband and wife. I immediately became interested in their interactions with one another. The husband found a desired table for the two of them, sat his wife down, made sure she was comfortable, and went up to the counter to order. He gave his order, received two paper cups, and went on to fill them with soft drinks. He brought them back to his wife. She asked if they had a certain item that she had wanted him to order. He very sweetly said, "No, but I will get you some later". When their food was ready, he went to the counter to retrieve it, and came back to serve his wife. They enjoyed a lovely meal together.
So why am I writing about this? Well, it's not every day that I see a woman treated so gentlemanly by her husband. In fact, and very sadly, I see much, much more of the opposite. Usually the wife is always the one taking care of the husband even when they are eating out. I once saw a couple come in with 5 small kids at this same restaurant. The mother looked dog tired. How wonderful for her that she doesn't have to cook dinner tonight I thought. But she retrieved the food and began serving each child and her husband. No rest for that weary wife, and how sad for her. It broke my heart.
But what really got my attention with this particular couple was the fact that the husband was not your average Joe so to speak. You see, this man must have weighed at least 400 pounds. He was so large, that it did indeed surprise me that he could walk so well. Just one of his calves was the size of my granddaughter. His thigh was as wide as me, and I am not a small lady. He had to sit on the edge of the booth seat. His wife by the way, was half my size.
And if you are wondering, yes, he did order a lot of food. Probably enough to feed an average family of five.
When the couple had finished their meal, the husband rose to clear the table. As he struggled to bring himself upright, he took that moment, half way up, to kiss his wife on the forehead. I sat there, teary eyed, at what I had just witnessed the past half hour.
This man so impressed me in more ways than I can explain in words. Not only was he an exceptional gentleman to his wife, but he was well mannered, soft spoken, and was dressed so very neat and clean in what appeared to be a work uniform.
Many people would look at his size and immediately think "Lazy". But he was not in any way, shape or form. Why do we judge people so harshly on appearances? What would you have seen when this obese man walked into the restaurant? Would you have noticed his neat and tidy work uniform? Would you have noticed the way in which he treated his wife or how polite he was to the employees there? Or would you have only seen his 400+ pounds, the large amount of food he ordered, or him struggling to get up from the booth?
This experience made me so sad. I am pretty sure that this man does not want to be obese. He does not enjoy being judged in every area of his life because of his size. But people will judge him, and then go off and do their sins in private. We all have our addictions; the obese man's is just out there for the world to see. I understand because I know how he must feel. I have fought obesity and chronic illness since my childhood. I have been unjustly called lazy. The looks, the laughs, the whispers, the pointing, they all HURT. And the words. The old saying that sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me, is a crock. Words are like swords or fresh water. They can either cut you, or nourish you. The Bible says that words bring one of two things, life, or death.
I know I learned a lot from my experience that day. I hope everyone in that restaurant did. I saw a beautiful man who loves and respects not only his wife, but himself as well. That is all anyone should be able to see.