Your Meme of the Day for Thursday:
Back in the 80’s I covered (many) heinous and bizarre crimes and capital-murder trials in Montgomery County, Texas, where I was the bureau reporter for The Houston Chronicle.
I came to know a court bailiff who was one of those classic, East Texas gentlemen. He was a tall, lean, salt-of-the-earth type who had a calming influence on everyone within his range.
One day while the jury was deliberating in one of those awful murder cases (I think this was the one in which an ex-con and his teenage son raped and killed two teenage sisters and buried them in shallow graves in the woods), some other reporters and lawyers and I ended up in a conversation about healthy eating.
There was a lot of talk about what causes high cholesterol and what foods we ate and what we avoided for health reasons.
The aforementioned court bailiff who was listening in on all this talk finally interjected with a question.
“Ya’ll really worry about all that stuff?” he asked politely.
After a moment of awkward silence I asked him, “So how old are you anyway?”
This was a long time ago, but I remember that he was pushing 80 years old.
I can only hope that if I reach 80 I’ll be so healthy.
I then asked him what he ate that kept him aging so well.
“Whatever I feel like eating,” he said.
Granted, this was a man who grew up in a time when people ate what they wanted without worrying about how the food was processed with ghastly chemicals and whatever by-gods end up in our foods.
These days, I think we do have to be conscious of our food and eating habits because God only knows how the food was made or where it came from. I won’t even touch on corruptions like the Blue Bell ice-cream scandal that is ongoing near my Texas hometown.
But I do think there is something to be said for eating whatever we want, within reason, and just enjoying the hell out of it.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people like the court bailiff, who eat whatever they feel like eating, are people who are naturally relaxed and “comfortable in their own skin.” They enjoy life in general without much fuss and muss and high anxiety about anything, including whatever food they relish. They don’t beat themselves up with guilt if they have a big dessert with a chicken-fried steak lunch and a dessert at suppertime, too.
People like the old-timer I knew at the courthouse have such a quiet lust for life that they out-live the sugar and fat and calorie counters. It seems to me that they arrive naturally at the kind of holistic health that we’re all stressing out in trying to achieve.
In diet as in everything else, balance and moderation and attitude and common sense and simple enjoyment count for a lot.
Writing this remembrance has made me hungry for some greasy street tacos from my favorite street vendor and I’m going to go enjoy the greasy dickens out of some.
And yes, I had my cholesterol pill this morning, Doc.