My belly rumbled as I picked up the restaurant’s menu. Ordinarily, I enjoyed eating out, but today when I scanned the meals listed, nothing excited me. The menu was filled with bright pictures of juicy hamburgers, steaks, chicken, soups and eleven different kinds of sandwiches. It even offered all day breakfast meals, so the problem wasn’t a lack of dietary variety.
Arnie and I had been on vacation for the past week. Every single meal since leaving home was at a restaurant. When we left home I’d thought eating out all week would be like a dream come true. There would be no meals to cook, nor dishes for me to wash. All I had to do was lean back and enjoy myself.
The first thing I discovered was my dear husband had turned into a dietary camel sometime during the previous twenty years since our wedding vows. He loved to eat huge breakfasts early in the mornings, but then didn’t want to stop to eat anything else until six or seven in the evening. I, on the other hand, like to graze for most of the day. I needed at least a bowl of soup or a fruit every four hours. I ended up furtively snacking on candy bars to keep from passing out.
The second thing I discovered was eating every meal for a week at restaurants is not enjoyable. Cafés, lunch counters and food stands offer a huge variety of foods, but after the first few days everything tasted the same. What did I hunger for? I missed homemade food, healthy snacks and eating whenever I wanted.
After that vacation eating meals out eventually became fun for me again. When we planned subsequent vacations, I always pushed for having a home base equipped with a kitchenette. My husband Arnie was agreeable to my demands since this cut down on vacation expenses.
By the time our daughters started grew up, they developed their own opinions about what they wanted in meals. One day my youngest daughter said, “I wish we could have noodles for every meal, every day.”
I countered with, “You’d get sick of them if we had them every day. Plus, noodles don’t provide enough nutrition for a healthy body.”
Wiping away a hint of orange from her lips, my daughter said, “I eat noodles with cheese powder and peas. That’s a well-balanced diet. I get protein from the cheese. Noodles are made from wheat and peas are vegetables. That’s all a body needs, right Mom?”
I shook my head and laughed, “Too much of anything, even good stuff, is still too much!”
Putting her empty dish next to the kitchen sink, my daughter argued, “A person could never have too much money, nor too much clothing.”
Thinking about the creative juggling that I’d done in my checking account the day before, I debated, “Well, if we had too much money, we wouldn’t appreciate what we have. If you had a closet the size of our living room and it was stuffed with clothing, you’d never know what to wear and you’d end up hating everything.”
Looking outraged, Tammie said, “I wouldn’t stop appreciating what I had. I’d love being rich!”
Through the years, as my daughters grew up, we occasionally returned to debate the topic, “Too much of even good stuff, is still too much!” I’d point out, “Too much sun ends in a sunburn and overly dry land. Too much pizza wouldn’t taste good after a while besides make us fat. Continuous vacations would be boring.”
Now that the children are grown and flown from the home roost, I still have to occasionally remind myself that too much of even good stuff is still too much. I thought, “I love living in a land where there are four seasons.” as I admired the signs of fall in the yard while mourning the end of summer. Comforting myself, I concluded, “Too much summer would make me miss fall.” Out in the yard a frisky wind blew tattered, dry leaves around, while tall, tangled weeds dipped and swayed in the ditch.
I thought, “If there was too much fall, then I’d miss the stark beauty of winter.” In my mind, I pictured softly falling snow, hoar-frosted tree branches and winter birds at the feeder.
It was clear to me that, “Too much winter would prevent the arrival of spring!” While watching the last snowfalls of winter, I’d begin dreaming of budding trees, May flowers and a new garden to plant.
Sighing contentedly, I thought, “I love living in a land of four seasons. Each season changes just before it becomes too much!”