Tony A. Smith

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Peach Cobbler Capital of the World

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I was in the “Peach Cobbler Capital” of the world today believe it or not.  Yes it’s  true, I was in the small town of Porter, Oklahoma with a population of 574 people today to take care of some personal business.  There is not a whole lot of town in Porter as you can see from the photo here.

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Porter is located in the northeastern part of Oklahoma and is also the “Peach Capital” of Oklahoma as well. Every year for the past 50 years Porter has hosted their annual “Peach Festival” on the streets of downtown Porter.

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On July 16th of this past year during the Peach Festival, Porter, Oklahoma set a new world record for the largest peach cobbler in the world weighing in at a whopping 2902 pounds. The winning cobbler which is now in the Guinness Book of World Records was 18 feet long and 8 feet wide and beat the previous record of 2195 pounds.  The cooking pan that was built to cook the cobbler in was 6 inches deep.

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It took 7 long hours to cook the peach cobbler cooked on kerosene burners in a permanent oven built right next to City Hall.  The ingredients consisted of 405 pounds of flour, 300 pounds of butter, 87 gallons of milk, 537 pounds of sugar, and 966 pounds of Porter Peaches.  So if you ever get hungry for some good peach cobbler and a lot of it, you might want to visit this little town during the middle of July. I am sure they might have some good peach cobbler and even a little ice cream to go with it!

Family Time

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Have you ever heard people say that the family who sits down to eat a meal together around the table sticks together through thick and thin?  Too often we are so busy being busy with work, running to soccer practice, or dance, or baseball, or football, or another meeting, or shopping, or playing on the computer, or talking on the phone, or texting,  or combing our hair, putting on makeup, or whatever, that we don’t take the time to sit down at the dinner table and reconnect with each other.  There are many who never sit down together and break bread due to overwhelming schedules of life.  It’s a pretty sad shame too, since there are many benefits to eating together as a family if you can fit it in your schedule.  Now I’m not talking about sitting around the television in the living room with a television tray full of food.  I am talking about honest to goodness “Pass me the potatoes please, and how was your day”? conversation.

There are so many benefits that result from being able to eat together and look one another in the eye and actually hear each other breathe.  There was a study done by John Sandberg and Sandra Hofferth entitled “How American Children Spend Their Time,” which was published in the Journal of Marriage and Family which found that having family time meals on a regular basis results in fewer behavioral problems.  According to an article published in 2006 in “New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development”, family time dinners are even more important from a vocabulary standpoint than being read to.  It was found that young children learn 1000 rare words at the dinner table in comparison to only about 145 words from parents who read books out loud to them.  It only makes sense that there is more focus at the dinner table and obviously more comprehension.  No television, no phones, no computers, no noisy noise for a few minutes…. Sounds too good to be true……..but something you might get used to… right?

Being able to sit down and eat together as a family gives you a sense of belonging, and reminds you that you don’t have to face this old world on your own. It’s important especially for young children to give them that sense of security as often as we can.  So if you want to do something good for your family that will last and last, encourage everyone to try to sit down at the table at least for a few minutes, at least once or twice a week if you don’t already. It will make all the difference in the world. Children will remember those times for years to come, as they try to instill the same values, and quiet times in their own families that they were taught and can recall made a difference in their own lives and upbringing. Bind the family together and wrap them with the minutes of together moments forever. “So that’s what breathing sounds like?” Honest to goodness!

 

 

Being Happy

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“Once upon a time, there were four little girls, who had enough to eat and drink and wear, a good many comforts and pleasures, kind friends and parents…. and yet they were not contented…. these girls…. made many excellent resolutions; but they… were constantly saying, “If we only had this,” or “If we could only do that”….So they asked an old woman what spell they could use to make them happy, and she said,, “When you feel discontented, think over your blessings, and be grateful.”

     “They decided to try her advice, and soon were surprised to see how well off they were.  One discovered that money couldn’t keep shame and sorrow out of rich people’s houses, another that she was a great deal happier with her youth. health, and good spirits than a certain fretful, feeble old lady, who couldn’t enjoy her comforts; a third that, disagreeable as it was to help get dinner, it was harder still to have to go begging for it; and the fourth, that even carnelian rings were not so valuable as good behavior.  So they agreed to stop complaining to enjoy the blessings already possessed.”

Written in the Book – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

True happiness is indeed something that comes from within and does not relate to what we have or don’t have.  It relates to what we make of the day and the time we are given.  I have found in my own life that I am happier when I choose to make the lives of others happier. Everything we have on this earth is a gift from GOD.  The very breath we breathe is a gift.  

This past weekend I was able to see my little grand baby on an ultra sound monitor at only 16 weeks old.  The little baby is 4 1/2 inches long now and weighs in at a whopping 5 ounces.  Yet, as small as our baby is – I saw tiny legs, arms, fingers, and toes moving around and legs kicking like a wild one already. Yes GOD breathes the very breath of life into each of us and what a precious gift a new life is.  I am thankful, and happy I have lived long enough after my widow maker heart attack to be able to see my little grand baby before even coming out of the womb.  

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When I was youngster growing up on the south side of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma we didn’t have much in the way of material things.  My brother and I got school clothes once a year which consisted of 2 pairs of jeans, 2 shirts and 4 or 5 pairs of socks.  That was supposed to last us the whole year.  If we got holes in our jeans, Dad ironed on a patch or two to get us through until the next year.  There were many days we went without lunch and breakfast simply because we didn’t have enough money to make it to the end of the week.  I can remember being so hungry sometimes that I even thought about eating the crab grass in our front yard. Dad had an old Chevy that he paid $50 for that hardly ever ran.  Not having much though didn’t seem to bother us. We were content with playing baseball, hide and seek, freeze tag, and enjoying time with our friends.  Even if our stomachs were growling at us begging for food as we sat our desks in school, we were still happy for what we did have. 

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Sometimes when we start feeling down about ourselves, about what we don’t have, or how our life is going, it is best to start thinking about what we do have and in how many ways we have been blessed.  It might be time to look for ways we can be a blessing to others who cross our path.  That’s the path where true happiness can be found. It won’t be found covered up with things, but is waiting for you to find it where it’s been all along.