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June 8, 2012

Happy Living Through Coffee, Candy Bars

Harry M. Covert

I hope the talk emanating from the northern climes, New York City specifically, limiting sizes of soft drinks, doesn't float down to the Mid-Atlantic and other southern areas.


Just because some citizens, young and old alike, enjoy the largesse of the U. S. bounty, and become overweight is no reason to legislate waist sizes or posterior broadenings or 20-ounce soda cups.


Bluntly, we've become a nation of followers, whiners and cry babies. Whatever the current faze, it almost always comes from video hucksters. Unfortunately many fall prey. We take the words of the infomercials as gospel truth when it’s nothing short of charlatanism.


It's irritating to hear all the talk about obesity. First, every high school should require students to participate in old fashion physical education classes, daily pushups, pull-ups, jumping jacks, etc. Second, require pupils from the first through 12th grade to eat in their cafeterias with traditional menus. This means no vending machines in schools. Water and/or milk for lunches.


I'm getting ahead of myself it seems. Government is getting too involved in our daily lifestyles, attempting to legislate if you want a Big Gulp or fresh mug of steaming coffee, a large Snickers bar or an extra large Hershey's.


When the craze started about coffee drinking, lots of people suddenly had to have decaffeinated instead of the real stuff. At my house growing up it wasn't unusual for visitors to come two or three times a week to talk about the affairs of the day as disseminated by newspapers or a little community gossip, which I liked, or a conglomeration of musicians. There was no such thing as decaf.


I lucked out. I watched my parents make pots full of heavy duty coffee with chicory. We had a percolator on top of the gas stove and it was always at the ready. It would perk 10 cups. Shortly I learned how to make it and how to help myself to the taste which has lasted to my superannuated state.


It's great that so many people are worried about our health. Some of the simplest things, though, are fun and healthy. I'm a coffee and food lover. No allergies for me. I can eat most anything, but I stop at sheep's eyes and other unattractive animal parts considered delicacies in other parts of the world. I prefer shrimp, soft shell crab, lobster, and other such joys, along with meat loaf and steaks and traditional comfort foods – mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, rhubarb pie.


One of the marvelous joys of being an American is the availability of foods and medicines and the fast food places of all cuisines. How great is it to go to see the Frederick Keys at Harry Grove Stadium, or visit Oriole Park at Camden Yards, to have a crab sandwich, or pizza, or hot dogs and hamburgers? Oh, yes, then there's the game.


Back in the "olden times" in my grammar school days, we didn't have a fancy cafeteria. We had a basement. At 10 in the morning we had a snack. Peanut butter sandwiches. The old fashioned institutional peanut butter that stuck to the roof of your mouth, two small prunes and a half-pint of white milk, our only choice. Later, we had recess and kickball. Sometimes the teachers would allow us to play marbles. One of our marble players grew up and became an all-state football and basketball star, went on to successful college and professional football careers.


I am a television watcher, but sometimes I think it's smart to turn it off. We won't have to see the political meanness on all levels. Then we can't be purloined by the TV preacher telling viewers to "sow a $1,000 seed" and Divine things would happen. No, it wasn't Reverend Ike of years past. And I'm not watching any more of the quick and easy way to strengthen my abs, or the five-day dash to lose pounds quickly and countless other useless shows.


It's important to teach personal responsibility in our lifestyle. Don't over eat, exercise a bit and don't be fooled.


A certified medical doctor, whom I've depended for a quarter century, gave me some good advice at age 50: no matter what, lemon juice or any other concoction won't erase age spots; hair won't grow on a bald head (that doesn't effect me) and eat regularly and vitamins aren't necessary.


Then, there was the time after a stent operation. Asked if I needed anything by a nurse, I said strong black coffee in a joking manner. I'd been told by a non-medical person to eliminate coffee. "You can have all the coffee you want."


I did that day. I can drink real coffee before bed time and sleep like a baby. That's my usual practice.


I trust the New York suggestions don't permeate local political thinking anywhere around these parts. Damn Yankees.


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