Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shared Experiences Build Bonds



On the surface this blog is certainly a food blog.  Underneath it is really an exploration of family and community.  I just happen to think that it is around food that we form those bonds, those shared experiences that make us community.  But food is by no means the only way.

Walter Cronkite’s autobiography explains a memory of his childhood.  Driving across the fields of his Midwest in the evening all the farmstead homes lit from the inside would all go dark at the same time, give or take a few minutes.  In that day people only had a few TV stations and everyone watched the news at the same time then headed off to sleep.  Even if in separate homes there was a shared experience. When I was a kid we had a few more distractions, but we still experienced what Cronkite describes.  Each October we all watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown on the same night on one of the broadcast channels.  Each December we all got excited for each of the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. Each spring, normally Easter weekend, we could all watch The Wizard of Oz for the only time that year.  In high school all this started to change, not just because we got older, but we also got VCRs.  We could watch these “events” at any time, and it was amazing.

Now we have DVDs (we don’t even have to be kind and rewind), Netflix and other streaming sources, massive choices online for a multitude of distractions for any interest, and satellite TV.  Anything and everything is available to us all the time.  For an information junky this is all amazing.  But what has been lost?

Last week in my family and many others we regained some.  Last Monday night we had Monday Night Football on.  While that’s not rare at all, this night we had it on for a commercial, specifically the new Star Wars trailer. As soon as we saw it we went online to buy tickets for December 17.  The internet slowed to a crawl as millions did the same.  This past weekend we watched The Phantom Menace as part of our build up to part 7.  In Mid-December my entire family will head to the theater, probably a couple times, and just as I did as a kid, we will all escape to a galaxy far, far away and share a communal experience like few we have left.  Whether it’s a sporting event or a massive blockbuster movie, these communal experiences are a tangible part of what ties us to those around us.  Let’s embrace these opportunities to laugh, cry and cheer alongside others.

Now I think I need to go make some Yoda and Millennium Falcon-shaped pancakes.  May the force be with you.      
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