Overly Well-Fed Americans

On a trip to Romania around fifteen years ago, I was desperately trying to locate my flight to Budapest, Hungary. It didn’t help that nobody at the Paris airport seemed to speak English. Nonetheless, I got on board in time. Unfortunately, my suitcase didn’t.

In America we’re used to late luggage being delivered in as timely a way as possible, but on this trip, the best they could do was to hold on to my stuff till I returned to Budapest a week or so later. No wonder. The mission team I was traveling to catch up with faced many hours of driving to reach the border between Hungary and Romania and on to the small town we were to serve in. No way any airline would’ve delivered my luggage to Romania under those circumstances.

But that left me with a problem. The only clothes I had with me were the ones I’d been traveling forever in.

Fortunately, the team leader had some discretionary funds he could use to buy me a few essentials. The town was having a market day the next day, so I didn’t have to wait long to go shopping.

Oh, but I discovered something horrible that day. Romanian clothes don’t often come in the sizes worn by overly well-fed Americans. I had to settle for one pair of pants that was big enough–way too big, if I recall correctly–a sweater, and a couple of shirts.

When I asked my host if the pants and sweater matched–color blindness can be such a nuisance at times–he said, “Pants dark, sweater dark. They match.”

As we went about our activities that week, I’m not sure that I saw any overweight Romanians, much less any that were my size at that time. When I got home, I was all too aware of how drastically overweight too many Americans are.

I don’t agree with the Obamas about many things–and I don’t think overweight is a problem the government has any business trying to deal with–but Mrs. Obama is certainly right on the ball in being concerned about America’s weight problems. Especially among children and teens.

Every time I go to the mall, I invariably see one or more teens with fat bulging out over the top of a pair of jeans–all too often bare. And it’s not just teens, either. Do they actually think “muffin tops” are attractive?

Is it any wonder that the Young Adult (teen) novel I’m writing currently is called Project Muffintop? It deals with that problem. But it won’t help most overweight Americans.

You see, my protagonist knows she’s overweight and wants to do something about it, but I’m not sure whether most people really care. Maybe not until–like me–they find themselves diabetic when maintaining a desirable weight would’ve prevented the development of diabetes. And maybe they wouldn’t care even then. Not until a heart attack knocks them down.

I don’t know what the answer is. Americans have grown accustomed to the convenience and tastiness of the unhealthiest of foods, foods that are almost guaranteed to put on undesirable weight and keep it there. We’re spoiled.

I’ve read a dystopian novel or two–those are books about situations that have gotten as bad as bad can be. Including severe shortages of even the most basic foods. Not something any of us would enjoy having to live through. But what’s going to turn us away from the luxury of our unbridled eating, otherwise?

I’d love to have your feedback on this. Please leave a comment.


I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website. Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, please check it out at Amazon.
Best regards,

The “Good Old Days” That Weren’t

r1958-2    t-r1963    Flatlanders

If I recall correctly from the days of my youth, one of the things we hated most about older people was the way they talked about “the good old days.” Especially the days when they were our age.

Well, not me. I wasn’t thrilled with that time in my life.

As a Preacher’s Kid who didn’t know that moving came with the territory until my father announced his resignation at the end of the worship service one Sunday, I was miserable. I was eight years old at the time, and that’s one of the only times I remember crying as a child. I didn’t want to leave the town we were living in.

So I unconsciously decided to hate the city we moved to. I don’t recall a whole lot about that place. Not a whole lot good, anyhow. I gained a lot of weight—I remember weighing 148 in the sixth grade and having people at church talk about what a cute little fat kid I was.  Although I had friends in the neighborhood, we weren’t close in a permanent kind of way.

My parents were so concerned about my misery that they fully supported my becoming a safety patrolman. Whether that brought me out of my shell any further, I couldn’t say.

So when we moved to another city, it was such a relief from the one I’d hated so much that I was bound to like it better.  But lo and behold, the mayor prevented schools from opening on time in his resistance to integration. I don’t know how many Saturdays we had to attend school to make up for lost time, but I resented it—and Mayor Duckworth, whom I considered not to be worth a duck.

During my eighth grade year, I came down with acute viral encephalitis and was in a coma for several days. Although I survived and was not left a vegetable as the doctors feared I might be, my recovery took forever and left me without nearly as much stamina as I’d had before.

As the son of the Preacher, I often felt like I was left out of things. The kids at church were nice enough, but I didn’t really feel close to them. I was starting to like girls then but shy about admitting it. I dated very little, but enjoyed hours of telephone conversations.

Things changed when I bought my first guitar in the fall of 1962 and started learning to play. That was during what I refer to as “the folk fad of the sixties,” and I ended up forming a trio with two other guys from church. That was fun, but they had girlfriends and I didn’t.

After graduating from high school in 1964, my parents and I moved to another state. No more trio. No more youth.

Life is so much nicer now. I’m happily married, healthy in spite of the number of medicines it takes to keep me that way, and very involved in church activities. Not to mention having become a published novelist who retired at sixty-two to write full-time.

Other older folks are free to talk about the good old days if they want to, but I’m happier with my life now than I ever was before.


Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I revise and re-post a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.

Best regards,