Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fair or Fat??

As we approached the main gate the excitement and anticipation started to build. This was surely not the first time that my wife Gail and I had journeyed to Columbus Ohio to visit the Ohio State Fair, but we enjoy it anew every time we attend.

Junior Livestock

My first visit to the Fair, one of the largest in the country, was about 60 years ago when my friend Ronnie Hines and I attended with Ronnie’s dad. As young boys we had a terrific time looking at the livestock, watching the judging of horses, sheep, hogs and cows, some even being shown by boys our age.  We also were fascinated by watching calves being born in the maternity barn,  visiting the dairy barn where they showed how butter is made, and of course, we spent a little time in the amusements area where the merry-go-round, with its calliope music playing, and the tilt-a-whirl and other exciting rides were in full and noisy operation.  Ronnie’s Dad got tired of this area pretty  quickly!   It can be a tiring day!!!


In the late 1940s the Fair boasted a variety of food stands but not to the extent that they have today. Ronnie and I kept going through the line at the “free soup” display at the Mrs Grass’ Noodle Soup booth until they politely asked us to keep moving. It was “Hey Boys, that’s enough, get out of here ” as I recall.  And this after only 10 or 12 helpings. 


On this day, 60 years later, Gail and I intended to see the dog agility show and to watch the judging of the hogs and cattle and a whole list of other really interesting features. One high priority on our list was to watch the Ohio State Fair Band which is made up of the top musicians from high schools across Ohio..

But today I was sort of troubled.  As someone who has been overweight for some time and trying to lose weight I was rather dismayed by the food midway. There were hundreds of food stands, and many reflected one of the problems we face today in this country.  As we strolled down past the food stands we saw an array of foods which probably should never be put in front of anyone. How many people really need to eat a deep-fried stick of butter,  or “Have you tried the chocolate covered bacon.?”

Next to the Roast Beef Sundae stand where you can get a pile of roast beef in a cup covered by mashed potatoes and gravy...  we found the Krispy Kreme doughnut hamburger.  

Just the thought of those high calorie foods reminded me of a remark that Conan O’Brien made on one of his television shows after visiting Ohio. He said that there was a welcome sign at the State border that said “Welcome to Ohio.   You’re not fat here, Friend.”    While that was funny, it is also tragically true.

I had been thinking a lot about the difference between appetite and hunger.    Certainly hunger needs to be fed, the body seems to require a certain amount to keep operating. But many of us mistake appetite for hunger, that appetite being a craving for something that we mistakenly think is for food, but perhaps it is just masking a craving for something else that we need, or think we need, deep down in our lives. 

Over the years I have found that many of the things that seem to call to us as "pleasure giving" are, to the contrary many times, the source of hurt, anguish, disappointment and fear

Maybe we are craving attention, companionship, beauty, health, wealth, or even just the need to feel loved.  Sometimes, if those seem unachievable, we turn to food to satisfy the craving.    

In whatever form it comes, it can cause disappointment and discouragement.  We probably all know someone who after a major disappointment or stressful situation has resorted to eating for consolation.  Or, the quiet, lonely person who eats as a substitute for companionship

In many instances the identification of a problem is the first step towards solving it.  We can look deep within and see if it is REALLY hunger that would draw us to the Roast Beef Sundae, or that Deep Fried Twinkie.  Or, to see if we HAVE to have that extra hamburger, the giant order of French Fries, or excessive consumption of any food or beverage.

The problem is not just in my native Ohio, of course, but is so widespread that some government entities are making efforts to control the size of soft drink servings and to ban certain foods from school cafeterias to combat obesity.

Unless we address false appetites, none of these "government mandated solutions" will be effective.  We can't stop the availability of these types of appetite appeasers but we can stop the craving.

God, as Divine Love, is constantly supporting our efforts to be God governed, to be the reflection of Love, of tenderness, of unselfishness, when we listen quietly.  Isn’t that what we are here for?  When our hearts and minds are so full of love and caring for others, constantly praying to feel that Love in our hearts, we will no longer need the poor substitutes to curb appetite.  When our thought is directed away from our own SELF we will be fulfilled without even a Twinkie!

I am working on it.   Care to join me?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I LOVE these thoughts- and YES, I care to join you!