Memories Are Built In An Instant, But They Last Forever

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

For those of us in the United States, we’re entering the heaviest travel week of the year. Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is the one that brings the most people home. As the song says, over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. I remember those days, and I miss them.

Waking up at Grandma’s always came with smells I’ll never forget. Breakfast on the stove, a pot of coffee waiting to be poured, and logs crackling in the fireplace. Okay, and there was that one year when one of the bedrooms was being used as an incubator for about fifty baby chickens. That one came with a smell I’m happy to forget. But they were fun to play with.

Depending on the calendar, Thanksgiving always comes pretty close to my birthday (sometimes they’re on the same day), so that made the trip to Grandma’s even more special. Most of the day, we’d be outside running around the farm, walking through the woods, or shooting my BB gun. That was the only time of year I was allowed to touch it.

And you never knew how many aunts, uncles, and cousins would pile into that little three-bedroom house. There were times we had more than 20 people there. Sometimes, a few of us would sleep in the cars. That was back when station wagons were still a thing. And with one bathroom in that house, there was never any grass growing behind the barn. For the boys, that was a mandate.

When I think of the best times in my life, those days always come to mind. It was a simple life, with simple pleasures. As the adults would sit around the table playing dominoes, we’d find a quiet corner to tell spooky stories and try to get one good channel on TV. I guess it wasn’t all fun and games, but the other times have just slipped from my memory and the good parts are all that’s left.

I think about those days often, usually when I come into the house on a weekend and the smell of bacon is lingering in the air. Of all the sensory reminders of our youth, smells probably top the list of things that can instantly take us back to an earlier day. I also like driving through small towns where all the light poles are decorated with wreaths and huge candy canes. It just makes me feel good.

It’s natural to gravitate toward those things that remind us of a simpler time in life. And, to be fair, I know some folks don’t have a lot of those memories. So, they have to create new memories today that they can reflect on years from now. It’s never too late. But it does take effort.

Like most things in life, we can’t create a lot of memories just sitting around in front of the TV while the kids play video games on a tablet. No conversation, no interaction – just sitting around exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, completely oblivious to the existence of others.

Yet, whenever we turn on the news to hear another story about the worst in human behavior, the first things we blame are upbringing and a lack of values. And the whole time, our kids are sitting across the room with their face buried in an electronic device of some kind that’s giving them the only real source of companionship they’ll have all day. Do we see a problem here?

And those values come through the very things that formed our most cherished childhood memories. We owe it to our kids and all those around us to help them build memories of their own – times they’ll look back on with a gentle smile and a warm heart. Those memories are will help shape their innermost values, good or bad. So, it’s worth whatever it takes to make those memories positive.

Memories can come at any time of year – we don’t have to wait for holidays. A few minutes singing silly songs or reading a book together; a family picnic, or just a walk in the park; games at the table after dinner – you know, a meal where everybody sat down together. All of these things build memories, and those memories will stay with us a long time. And those memories build values.

But, the thing about memories is that the best ones will always include other people. We can’t build fond memories in a vacuum. So, spend a little time building memories with those around you – your family, your neighbors, even perfect strangers. Your memories will become their memories, so it’s two for the price of one. Make those memories positive, and everybody wins.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Relationships are Complicated – Choose Your Food Wisely

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Weekends are a time to get caught up on all the things we let stack up during the week. Oh, we tell everybody we’re not doing anything – just sitting around the house and getting a little rest. But we know better. Rest is what we do in between errands. You know, when we’re not putting away groceries from the first errand or planning the next one. There’s never any shortage of things to do.

Grocery shopping usually tops the list. I’m sure some of you have figured a way around that. You go online, click the items you want, trust a minimum-wage employee you’ve never met to get them for you, and then just arrive at the appointed time so they can load your purchase in the car. Voila! If you trust the kid down the street to pick out produce you’ll actually eat, you’re a better man than I am.

I guess I just like the act of shopping. There’s something about sifting through the strawberries, picking the perfect steak, or checking dates on dairy products. I mean, is yogurt supposed to fart when you open it? I’m sure it’s just a sign of active cultures, but the same can be said for curdled milk. I like to know what I’m buying is at least supposed to be fresh.

Besides, if you shop online, you’ll miss all those extras that are strategically displayed throughout the store because the retailer knows you’d never think about them otherwise. And that’s where we blow both the grocery budget and our diet. It’s been estimated that Americans spend an average of $5,400 a year on impulse purchases, and 71% of those are food. Well, in a strictly literal sense.

I’m not sure a lot of that stuff actually qualifies as food. Just because you can eat it, that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Every product we pick up has nutritional information on the label. That’s required by law. As if that would stop us. You could put a label on potato chips that says, “This product will clog your arteries and make you even fatter than you already are” and I’d still buy them.

Doctors have suggested we should have a healthy relationship with food. Well, if love is the basis of a healthy relationship, then food and I are on solid ground. I talk a lot about health, and I do believe we need to focus a lot more on nutrition. But when somebody invents broccoli that tastes like a bacon cheeseburger, we’ll talk. Until then, I’ve just agreed to know my limitations and work with them.

For me, that means trying to eat at least one healthy meal for every piece of junk I eat. Which is probably why my weight never comes down. I’m eating a lot of healthy stuff, but I’m eating a lot of junk to go along with it. A protein bar doesn’t do a lot of good if you wash it down with glazed donuts. I take supplements – good ones. I keep them in the cabinet next to a bag of M&Ms.

Okay, I’ve had a little fun with this today, and I hope you have, too. The bottom line is that, if we hope to live to a ripe old age without becoming overly ripe, we need to pay a little closer attention to the things we put in our body. That begins at the grocery store, when we’re deciding what choices we’ll get to make in the coming week. Go in with a healthy mindset, and those choices will be good.

That’s not to say you won’t yearn for a chocolate bar during the week. So, instead of finding one on the candy aisle, look for something a little healthier. Maybe something with mixed nuts and berries, bonded together with a little chocolate. You can find them in stores but read the labels. Many times, they’re no better for you than a candy bar.

I’ve found some healthy alternatives online. And the beauty of shopping there is I don’t have to walk past the potato chips and candy bars at the checkout line. You know, things that cost half as much and make you twice as fat. And when it comes to nutritional value, there’s no comparison. Sure, I love a good candy bar as much as anyone. But the older I get, the more I realize they don’t love me back.

A healthy relationship with food means it loves you as much as you love it. And long after the taste is gone, your body is left to deal with the choices you make. Keep that in mind as you walk through the store or make your selections online. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. With the right choices, you can enjoy an incredibly tasty meal and hang around to tell your grandkids about it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved