Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The New Normal For Communal Gatherings

 I’ve been watching The Healing Kitchen. It’s a series of 9 episodes designed to teach food as medicine and healing.

Along the way I’ve learned things that I think are amazing.

Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, whom I have great respect for as a health professional, said something that shocked me.

She said that she’d prefer to see someone eating a Twinkie in a group of family and friends  rather than something healthier alone.

She was not promoting junk food consumption. She was emphasizing what she sees as more important than the food itself – eating communally.

Recently I have developed an interest in Blue Zones and living to one hundred and beyond with good health and faculties intact. I’ve watched several documentaries about the subject and all of them echo that sentiment.

How do I apply that to my life? My friends and family are all over the planet.

There are a lot of people who believe that online connections are not real. I disagree with that. I have solid online connections with people in a couple of ways.

Firstly, I have friends that I have never met in person. And yet, I’ve known them for years. Two women in particular I met on a website called Shelfari in 2006. Shelfari was a website where you maintained a bookshelf with books you had read and there was discussion of the books.

When Shelfari was taken down, Jane and Natasha and I moved our friendship to Facebook. I’ve corresponded with them several times a week for 17 years. I have talked on the phone with them. I have a solid connection with both of them that I don’t think is lessened by not having met them in person.

Solid connections about reading and life.

Then there is arghink.com, the blog community that Jennifer Crusie provides for her fans. There are women who have commented on her blogposts for years. I am one of them. I met Jenny in person several years ago when she did a book signing in Louisville, KY. She gave a talk and then answered questions before people stood in line to get books signed.

When it was my time to get my book signed she asked who to make it out to. I told her she could use my name, Judy, or she could use the name I commented on arghink with, Clever Cherry. As soon as she heard my Cherry name she knew who I was and she came around the desk to give me a hug.

Solid connections about writing and life.

Pinellas Writers is a Zoom group I belong to. Every Tuesday night we meet and read something we have written to be critiqued. I’ve made friends that I have contact with beyond the parameters of the group.

More solid connections about writing and life.

I live 800 miles away from one of my daughters and her family. We do Skype game nights and Skype dinners. Sunday we ate tacos together. My daughter Ruthie, my son-in-law and grandson were on their back porch In Kentucky. My daughter Liz and I were at home in Florida.

It was chaotic with dogs barking and too many people talking at once and laughter and tacos consumed.

It sure felt like a communal meal. I would like to think Dr. Low Dog would recognize it as such.

And, in my life, it is a way of connecting that I am most grateful for.

Feeling Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel

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