Friday, February 19, 2010
My Main Man!
IN HONOR of Black History Month – I shall pay homage to my favorite American hero. If you know me at all – Michael Jordan may come to mind immediately. Although a true icon and, to me, a real live super-hero, MJ isn’t my first pick.
If you know me well – you will have no problem understanding why I choose George Washington Carver to pay tribute to this month. It’s actually for a couple of reasons. Initially, this idea came from the realization that I must eat healthier and must diet to get down to my target weight of 175lbs by my birthday, June 30th. It will be quite a milestone, but with each butter knife swipe of my favorite food, invented by GWC, it might be a little difficult.
When God gave Carver’s George the idea to smash peanuts into a paste, I am pretty sure that he didn’t have it in mind that someone would actually spend nearly fifty years eating enough of the delicacy to fill a medium size bedroom.
I guestimated a couple of months ago, that over my lifetime, I have consumed – wait – “enjoyed” enough peanut butter to fill my bedroom. Stacking the 20oz jars to the ceiling and against the walls – it comes to over 22,000 ounces of the most spreadable delicious, outstanding combination of sweet and salty that exists. About 600 jars - or ¾ of a ton. You can figure about a third more of that amount would be in jelly and someplace – one must fit in a dumptruck load of bread, Ritz Crackers, or saltines, vanilla wafers, or Wheat Thins. And then when you are done with that appetizer – you could probably add enough prepackaged Nabs to fill the cab of that dumptruck. Probably two cabs.
And while you are at it – fill a half a truck bed with just roasted peanuts and the other half with Snickers, Twix, Reece’s, and other goodies that include goobers. I am sure that I have consumed a shopping cart full of boiled ones as well.
Oh yes, and don’t forget my favorite liquid accompaniment to those delectable peanut butter treats. Chocolate milk mostly, but a heckuvalot of chocolate milkshakes, 2%, and every now and then, sweet iced tea, and pop.
Over the recent years, I have become guilt-ridden with having lustful thoughts of the barbeque ribs, french fries and other heart-stopping favorites that have made their way somewhat through my blood. But I have never felt guilty about a single spoonful of peanut butter or a peanut-filled Pepsi bottle. Peanuts and Me - we were made for each other. Just like George.
George Washington Carver must have been a tremendous soul. He didn’t patent peanut butter when he first happened by it in the early 1900’s. He always felt that food was God’s gift to us – he could take no credit. Well – it’s probably best he didn’t – because after the abuse I have put the poor stuff through – I wouldn’t want George to feel bad if my veins harden into pretty much the same stuff he created on that wonderful day when he was working his way through research that would account for his book “How to grow a Peanut and 105 ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption.” Dang, I have only made it to 86...must - eat - more - pean...
Finally – the second and most selfless reasons to celebrate the life of George Washington Carver. He was born the son of a slave woman in Missouri on the Carver plantation. During the Civil War, his family was sent away and scattered about Arkansas. When baby George was located – Moses Carver traded a race horse for him and he was returned to the plantation. Although he was “free” he remained there until he was about 12 years old when he left to seek an education. I can’t imagine any of my kids taking off on their own to seek anything but a Nintendo DS and a slice of pizza and sure they would return home for dinner.
Truly amazing. Aside from inspiring the entire agriculture industry, GWC’s story should be most inspiring to anyone.
Go here if you find his story as interesting as I do.
An extraordinarily humble man – all of his work, he claimed was done to the Glory of God. “He testified on many occasions that his faith in Jesus was the only mechanism by which he could effectively pursue and perform the art of science.” As you may guess – he inspired as much criticism as he did praise. The man couldn’t catch a break – but it is almost as if he never heard the noise. He kept right to his research in Alabama and to his faith and love of people.
A terrific quote from George: "When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world."
And as written on his tombstone:
He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.
Today – I thank George Washington Carver for all his contributions to this world. His patience, his humility, his faith, and love of humankind and plantkind.
I am hopeful that Mr. Carver’s generous attributes will influence me as I launch my latest health regime and kick the lifelong addiction to his most heavenly contribution. From this day forward until my birthday in June - I will try very hard - to skip the Skippy.