Food makes the run go around. According to Toucan Sam.

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I was watching the Dallas Channel 5 morning News on yesterday and they were talking about the power of music having the ability to break all barriers. And as I’m listening to this particular story while getting ready to leave for work, I was in total agreeance. It is true that music can bring people from all walks of life together in harmonious assemblies as they dance the night away. It doesn’t matter if it’s a concert, a symphony, or a music recital; music is powerful. But what happens when the music stops? This was the question that I posed to myself as I continued to get ready for work. The question did not receive much more thought until today. Not because I didn’t care about the subject; but because the smell of my eggs and chopped baked chicken with onions, which was warming up in the microwave, started to permeate through the air. Then it all made sense. Yes, music does have a certain amount of influence when it comes to bringing humanity together. But there is nothing, and I mean nothing, like the power of food to bring mankind together.

There was a comedian, whose name escapes me, who said that God must have liked barbecue. The reason the comedian said, was because God was always asking for a burnt offering from the best part of the animal being slaughtered. While I won’t dare test my comedic expressions; however I will add that God must have at least liked the smell of barbecue. But then again who doesn’t. Guys I love the taste of good food. And I am not talking about your run of the meal food. I am talking about the proverbial “make you want to slap your momma” good food. I’m talking about the holiday’s meals cooked on a weekly basis type of good. That comfort food. Collard greens, yams, turkey, ham hock, and Brunswick stew good food. That kind of food that makes you look in the mirror and ask yourself “why did I eat all that food?” Only to run to the kitchen when you hear the clanking of another pot. Call it a southern thing.

Then there is the coastal foods with all of it seafood. Guys I remember visiting the great city of New Orleans and consuming so many oysters that I scared myself. I’m not talking about any oysters either. I am talking the ones that can cover the inside of your palm; with all the natural flavoring that comes from the Gulf Coast. Then there was the crab legs, crawfish (crawdads), and the mussels. If you have ever been done to the bayou and experienced any of this then you would agree with me that while eating these foods; you experience your own taste of heaven. Such was the case when I lived in Japan, California, and Florida. Though each location had distinctly different flavor; the food was still amazing. And though I had to give it up (the struggle is real); I would be lying to say I don’t miss it.

Now I am in the great state of Texas. The echo that you heard in your brain when you said that is real; due to the sheer size of the state. You know their motto: “everything is big in Texas.” This is certainly true about the steaks and briskets that they serve out in these part of the country . I am an honest man in all that I do and say; at least I hope I am. But I would be telling a fib if I didn’t say that hands down Texas has the best briskets and the cuts of beef that I have ever had the pleasure of eating. And the flavoring only adds to the lure of it all. You name the herb, spice, or marinade; somewhere in Texas someone has perfected it to match with their excellent grade A cattle.

Now if while you were reading this, you begin to envision yourself either cooking or going to buy something to eat; I can assure that you are not alone. Across the world those of us who are fortunate enough to do so are either anticipating eating, eating, or discussing a time when the meal was so amazing. This simple phenomenon connects us in all in the great phenom called humanity. Yes music is a wonderful thing; but not all of the world likes music. However, and I not a betting man, but you would be hard press to find a single person on earth who does not like food. The next time you are riding in a car and see a person who decides to eat their food while at the red light; watch their reaction when they take a bite. The next time you are at a restaurant and an entrée comes to the table; watch the expression of the individual when their emotions finally recognizes the flavor from their meal. But then again, you don’t have to go to those extremes. All you have to do (if you have been fortunate enough) is recall a conversation that we have either had with yourself, a friend, or a family member about the awesomeness of a delicacy that you have experienced. If you can’t do that my friend; then you need to take a road trip and visit one of these locations I mentioned. If you have a hard to deciding which one; take the advice of Toucan Sam. Just follow your nose.

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Love. It starts with You!

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And so this day again ascends on some of us like a warm bright sun ray climbing up the cold morning sky over a beautiful horizon. Its arrival is both welcoming and majestic. And so this day again comes up to meet some of us as if a cold draft from a Canadian Winter’s storm gripping each corner in which you move. Same date. Same day. Different experiences. Which is why I think that it is important that it is understood that you alone should dictate what this day, and any other day for that matter, will bring you.

I have been on both sides of the equation. Gifts, chocolates, romantic dinners, and John Legend music to set…you get the picture. However, I have also been on the opposite side. Forty ounces of malt liquor, packs of Newport 100 (Cadillacs), and 8 Ball and MJG…you get the picture. And it wasn’t until I got older that I realized that the common factor that determined what mood I would be in from date to date or day to day; stared me in the mirror each day. The truth is that before you can truly fall in love and give love unconditionally to anyone else; you have to love yourself first regardless of your imperfections and your own idiosyncrasies. Trust me guys, that last line was not made up by me. As a matter of fact when I first saw it (it was much more simply stated); it hit me like a ton of bricks. Yet, it has impacted my approach in to everything that I do and how I do it.

So, what is this whole post about? Well, simple. This post is about you. It is about appreciating the bright warm sun rays just as much as a cold Canadian winter storm draft. It is about you loving every day that you get a chance to love, to lose love, to let love find you; but remain steadfast in the knowledge that you should be loved if by no one else but yourself. Yes, this day is amazing. I see and feel the love in the air. I hear it on all the communication mediums as my day unfolds. But don’t you forget that you dictate what and how you love and how you are loved. You may not receive one single gift today; and that is fine. You may receive a ton of gifts today; and that is also fine. However, the greatest gift that you can give to yourself is to crush on you, hug on you, and love you.

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