At nearly 50 years old I have seen my fair share of life. Presently, I am managing to survive an “un-presidented” time in history. One where the politics of politics finds me talking to my microwave and accusing my Ocimum tenuiflorum (Holy Basil), of being part of an Alternative Right conspiracy by spreading “fake news” amongst the rest of my herb garden.
Yet, I remain hopeful because, in the end, everything is relative. I know this because as I sit across from my Baby Boomer husband for whom I readily offer up my Generation X eye roll each time he asserts his life experience over mine, because I am kept humble by four Millennial “Step-Somethings” who I love without apology and who make me proud to be their “Step Dude” every day.
However, here too is a generational dichotomy, as I have absolutely no clue how any of them navigate their daily life without a Day Minder calendar and a barrage of stickies utilized on the front-line of life as defense against the very real possibility of forgetting a dental appointment, birthday, exact day to recharge one’s fitness tracker, plant watering schedule etc.
At times we do not seem to agree on very much other than the belief that we are each relentless in our need to be right and our almost superhuman abilities to be perceived by one another as wrong. Still, we love, we laugh, we curse and damn each other with half- truths of an existence in the after-life marked by fire, brimstone, and “Celebrity Apprentice” reruns. It is a perfectly imperfect existence at best with one common thread, food.
We all love to eat and when we are lucky enough to share the same table and break bread, somehow the differences don’t seem so important. The meal transforms us and open mouths seem to reconnect us each to open minds.
If not by genetics, we are all calorically bound. Brought together by a love of food and a realization that a full stomach is a leveling force between the need to be right, and the desire to be understood. No matter the language the sentiment is the same… “Eat”, “comer” “mangiare”, “есть” “تأكل” seems to be a global reminder that we are all human and therefore can choose to be humane.
The power of the purse is not to be underestimated, nor can we wish away divisive forces that threaten us all. Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder as I watch the man I love, watch the boys we love using the wrong fork as they seemingly forget the importance of a coaster, that none of that really matters.
In reality, I am not sure I am fully aware of all the lessons to be learned by our dinner table. However, sometimes the facts speak for themselves and I believe these three truths might one day collectively change the world.
1. You can’t fight with a full mouth.
2. A clean plate leads to a clearer mind.
3. Dessert is a powerful force of good.
Will these insights trump the challenges we face as a family and a nation? Who knows, but until we figure it out at our house I will continue to believe that if I feed them they will come.