Cavemen do it. You should too

Cavemen Did It – Why You Should Too

I know people who meet friends every week at the same place for dinner. It’s a local destination that they admit doesn’t have the best food – it’s just ok. But that’s not what they go for. It doesn’t serve the kind of food that makes you feel good about eating healthy, it’s more the type that you keep eating in spite of the calories, the fat, and the lack of nutrients. Also, the ambiance is a bit cheesy. So why has it become a tradition? I have joined them on many occasions and I can tell you it isn’t just about the food. It’s about what happens there.


There’s More Than the Menu

Because they have been going to this restaurant for so long, the wait staff knows them well and they are treated like special guests. The food seems to come just a little bit faster, the drinks are a little bit stronger, and the interaction is more personal and pleasant without being invasive. Yet it’s more than that. It’s the simple act of joining together with friends to share a meal and doing it with regularity that creates a family – meal feeling. It’s the creation of a tradition – that’s the real draw.


Serving Up a Connection

Sharing food, whether it’s at a local destination or in a home, is an event that brings people closer together. Meeting for coffee or gathering in the park isn’t quite the same. Sitting at the table and eating together – the traditional breaking bread – is what makes it a bonding experience. Passing platters, sampling appetizers, and sharing food has an effect on everyone.

Are you the type of person who doesn’t want anyone touching your food, or asking for a taste? Are you a food protector? Perhaps you could use a lesson from your ancestors and learn to let go.


It’s Primitive

In the days of early man, food fresh from a kill had to be shared. This type of communal dining facilitated cooperation amongst the participants. People worked together to hunt and prepare the food and learned to take only their fair share, no more. There was the unspoken connection of having tasted the same thing and the comfort of feeling satiated like those around you.


It Makes Your Better, Really

There is also evidence that sharing a meal with others increases altruism. Yes, it actually makes you a kinder person. Eating family style prompts an awareness of your behavior. Will most people eat what’s been ordered? How much should you take? Passing a platter and monitoring your personal intake makes you more aware of others and their needs. It’s also fun.

Not many restaurants are family style, but many offer “sharable moments” that allow everyone to try a taste of what’s ordered. If you’re eating healthy, and you’re sharing, you’ve accomplished two of the most important things your mother likely taught you. You’re also doing yourself a favor emotionally.

Whether you gather in someone’s home or meet at a restaurant that’s a favorite local destination, enjoy the bonding of a shared meal. Pass the plates, share the food, and talk with each other. You’ll be glad you did.

How Sharing Food Makes You a Better Person

About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.


Swimming Pigs

Swimming Pigs and Lobster Dinners

When one becomes a traveler, the desire to seek unique experiences can lead you to some unusual places. The act of traveling can put you in touch with interesting people, strange customs, different local foods, and some pretty amazing adventures. Sometimes it even brings you face-to-face with farm life run amok.
A very recent trip to the Exumas, a chain of small islands in the Bahamas, landed us in an environment so beautiful and peaceful that it seemed this couldn’t possibly be one of the  trips mentioned above. But then again, one should never make assumptions.


Taking a Chance

In spite of a love of travel, I am a fearful flyer, so the 9-passenger plane that brought us to our tiny island nearly did me in. Once ensconced in our cottage on the 2-square-mile island, my heart-rate slowed and the stunning crystal blue waters calmed me. Perhaps the quarters without televisions, phones, or any of the usual trappings of daily life, would set the pace for a quiet time. This would likely be an uneventful tour of the white sand beaches that dotted the islands around us.


Yeah, When Pigs Fly… Or…

Think again. Never assume. While the overall vibe was very chill, there was an undercurrent of excitement about what a traveler could discover here. Maps showing a grotto made famous in the James Bond  movie “Thunderball” for snorkeling, an island populated with various species of iguanas, and a menu that boasted some fresh local food hinted at the tour that was to come.  This tour was going to take us to a place that had perhaps the most unusual experience of all.

Swimming pigs. Yes, pigs that swim. A boat ride to Big Major Cay brought us to a beautiful beach populated with swine paddlers aggressively looking for food scraps. Good thing we brought some!  Pigs of various sizes swam to the boat – one even tried to climb in – and we spent a few moments tossing bread into the water for them. Once we landed on the beach, we walked amongst the pigs, saw their tiny babies sleeping in the sand, and were even chased by some who thought we still had food. It was definitely not your average day at the beach.  As a traveler, I love when things aren’t typical – this experience definitely qualified.


Is This For Real?

Using a hand-drawn map, we carefully navigated the shallows between cays to reach other stops where we could see iguanas, climb on rocks and cliffs, scour sandbars for starfish, and snorkel in some of the clearest turquoise water you’ve ever seen. There was a feeling of connection between us and the water, the land, and the sky. The wide open views and the simplicity of it all was breathtaking.


Making a Connection

Coated in salt water, sand, and sunscreen, we landed back at our cottages to enjoy some down time. Memories of our swine friends and their lizard-island neighbors lingered as the sounds of reggae floated through the air. The lack of an agenda allowed for cold beverages and conversation with locals that gathered nightly in the restaurant bar. There was talk of this place being the “real Bahamas” along with stories of how this particular island was settled. It currently boasts less than a hundred full-time residents who are so welcoming – that, in the moment, we felt we could be included in that number.

Then it was off to dinner where the local food that is most plentiful, conch and lobster, appeared nightly. Oh to enjoy the fresh taste of something we don’t eat at home! The conch fritters were formed and fried like a giant hush puppy or lightly battered and served with a tangy sauce. Bahamian lobsters, served simply with drawn butter, have no claws – perhaps a fitting representation of the gentleness of the place and the people.

Full and tired, but ready for another day’s adventure and another tour of low-lying cays and sparkling clear waters awaited us. So we slept the kind of sleep that only comes when there is no stress and no worries – only magical thoughts of fish swimming in grottos and pigs swimming by our side. No we weren’t dreaming – it was real. A unique adventure that was truly a gift.

Think again. Never assume. Take a chance.

About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.


Treasure Your Mother

Treasured From the First Moment – The Bond of a Lifetime

Her voice fills my head and her advice and encouragement guides me daily. A sense of warmth floods me when I think of her – she is a treasure. She is my mother. What can I say? Always my trustworthy champion. The one person who knows me better than anyone else. She is love.

My mother is still with me, living nearby, so I am able to experience her generosity of spirit, her laugh, her smiling eyes and her wisdom. I am fortunate. I can tell her how much I love her as often as possible and wrap my arms around her and give a gentle squeeze.  I treasure her with all of my heart. But how can I ever explain to her how much she means to me? How can I help her to understand that she has been the single most influential part of my life? I say the words, but is it enough?

She knows.

Mother’s have a sixth-sense about their children. I know this. I too, am a mother. My son is nearly 13, but he still hugs me and says “I love you”. I know he means it in his own, young boy way. That fills me with a sense of peace, joy, thrilling happiness – you name it. I am fortunate.

 Not everyone still has their mother, even if they do, not everyone has a close relationship with them. Yet it’s hard to deny that we should treasure the mere fact that our mothers brought us into this world and raised us to the best of their ability. As a species, humans stay with their mothers longer than any other animal. It makes us who we are. Some may get many years with their mother, others may not get enough time. But there’s no denying the bond that is created regardless of the experience. More powerful and natural than any other, the mother bond is a force that should never be taken for granted, or dismissed.

The relationship should be celebrated in some way, not necessarily with fanfare but confirmed none-the-less. One day isn’t enough. It should be treasured daily with thoughts and actions. It should be honored with kind words and understanding – with forgiveness.

Cards, flowers, and gifts are nice. Any gesture is greatly appreciated by moms – I know this. But perhaps the best way to show your mom that you treasure, appreciate, or simply acknowledge her role, is to be a good child. It is to be a good mother.

Hear her voice, listen to her advice, and look for the signs of her encouragement. Be the voice, the trustworthy teacher, the encourager without expectation. That is the cycle of love. That is motherhood.

About the Writer: Brenda has lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia for most of her life. Her background as a reporter and news anchor for a local program fed her interest in writing on varied subjects.
She also enjoys spending time with her family, painting watercolors, playing on a tennis team, and traveling whenever possible.
Brenda H.

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