Cooking With Myra: Sausage, cabbage, cornbread quick, easy meal for 2014
By Myra Starkey
Dec. 31, 2013 at 6:31 a.m.
Dale Carnegie Human Relation Principle No. 10: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Last Sunday, I met a nice lady who is 98 years old. She lives alone, drives a car, cooks for herself and even mows her yard in the South Texas summer heat.
We talked for more than an hour, and I learned about her life and her family. She has two children: a 74-year-old son who lives in Louisiana and a 64-year-old daughter who lives in California.
I asked her the secret to living so long and hoped she would say, "eating bread and lots of bacon," but alas, she simply said do everything in moderation. She does not drink or smoke, and cancer or early heart disease does not seem to run in her family.
Her father lived to be 94, and she told me she probably took after his side of the family. It is true, the best way to live to be 100 is to have parents who both lived to be 100.
I asked her if she drank sodas, and she smiled from ear to ear and said her favorite was orange, and she had at least one per day. She admitted to not being a big eater, and her petite frame backed up her words. She has the figure of a 20-year-old except for the additional wrinkles.
We talked about why other people did not live as long as she has, and she told me her secret was "just getting up."
I thought she was referring to getting out of bed in the morning, and she corrected me to let me know she meant she moved around all day and did not sit down for long.
Based on this one fact, I may live to see 90 because I hate to sit.
As our conversation progressed, I realized that she had very definite opinions on lots of things and was not afraid to speak them. She even said that she voted for Obama the first time he ran for president.
I suddenly realized that I no longer liked her because she disagreed with me politically. She had seemed like such a kind and wise old woman who I was really starting to like - until I found out she thought different than I did.
Now, I simply wanted to cease our conversation or launch personal attacks on her and get other people who agreed with me to do the same. Or maybe I could just argue with her until she came over to my way of thinking.
This last section is, of course, totally false, except that she did vote for Obama. She did have opinions on a few things that were different than mine, but I liked her all the same. Nobody, including our spouse or close friends, is likely to believe the exact same things that we do. It seems that many people get terribly disturbed when others disagree.
If you have been listening to the news recently, you have probably heard that the patriarch of the "Duck Dynasty" clan, Phil Robertson, said that homosexuality is not only against what the Bible says, but (to him) seems totally unnatural.
This is not the first time he expressed this opinion, only that in this instance he said it to a reporter for the men's fashion magazine, GQ. He was even quoting Bible verses to back up his thoughts. He is known to be a very conservative Christian.
The liberal and the conservative press all jumped in to bash him, agree with him or say that everyone was entitled to an opinion.
There were some who defended his First Amendment right of free speech and others who claimed he had crossed the line.
The A&E network suspended him from the show, but the "Duck Dynasty" cast said that without Phil, the entire production was over. This is one of the top-rated series on TV and grosses more than $400 million per year in advertising and products for A&E network. The network eventually told Robertson he could be on the show.
I believe that one of the things that makes our country great is that we can express our personal opinions. We can fight for causes that we feel are true and just and try to change things for the better.
We will not get thrown in jail for disagreeing with the government.
In fact, we can organize a bunch of fellow citizens and even vote people in or out of office. In the United States, we are free to have a political, spiritual or moral agenda.
We can go to any church or no church at all. Much of the world does not share this freedom. Over the past 237 years, our country has progressed and changed in many ways. I still think we are the best country in the world.
We have the freedom to be unkind. We can be selfish and mean to those around us. We can hate others who don't agree with us or look like us. But what would be the purpose of that sort of behavior?
If I had a New Year's resolution, it would be to just love other people for what they are. There is some good and some bad in every person. None of us is perfect. We all have things we believe that are probably illogical, dysfunctional and not founded in rational truth.
I need to respect the beliefs of others, and I hope they will extend the same grace to me. I don't have to agree with them or engage them in a debate. I only need to be kind.
For New Year's Day, make a simple Southern meal of cabbage and sausage. I added a side of cornbread studded with chopped bacon. Simple, delicious and quick leaving you lots of time to relax.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.