By Bruce Stambaugh
Who doesn’t love food, fun and fellowship, even if they happen early in the day around the breakfast table?
Studies show that eating breakfast is important to maintain good health. It helps you get your day started right. I’ve discovered that’s true far beyond the nutritional benefits of healthy breakfast foods.
When it comes to breakfast, I am a fortunate person indeed. I don’t mean the quality or quantity of the early morning fare or the sacred times alone with my wife or sharing blueberry pancakes with the grandkids.
I am blessed to be a part of three entirely different, unrelated groups that all happen to meet regularly in charming Mt. Hope, Ohio for breakfast. Sharing around a common meal, including breakfast time, is special. Given the conversations, there is no dozing at these tables.
For several years now, I have been privileged to commune at breakfast every Friday morning at a local business where I serve as a consultant. At least that’s my definition of how and why I keep showing up for Friday morning “break” as the regular employees refer to the gathering. And what a time it is, too.
On a rotating basis, each member of the company’s team, plus me, takes turns bringing breakfast for the 15 or so staff members. The menu is entirely up to the person responsible for hosting the break. The cuisine ranges from sausage gravy on biscuits to homemade sweet rolls to French toast casseroles. Fresh fruit and juice are often provided, too.
Anxious anticipation always seems to precede my turns. They’re not afraid that I’ll forget or even of what I bring because my lovely wife always whips up some tasty breakfast treat. To be honest, I think that’s the only reason they keep me on the list.
You get your own food cafeteria style and come to the giant table surrounded by chairs and benches. Then the fun begins all around, with internal jokes and good natured kidding.
The second group is a gang from church that meets monthly in the town’s restaurant. Dubbed “55 Plus,” the attendees belong to the senior citizen bracket, unless our young pastors make an appearance.
Though I can’t always participate, I love to hear their experiential stories. That age group has a lot to teach us young bucks if we’ll just listen. From time to time, an informative speaker does the sharing.
The other group is the newest and most serious of the three. The straightforward sharing has priority over any food, which is more often than not simply toast and oatmeal. The troop started as a support group for three of us, all prostate cancer survivors. We share the latest concerning our conditions and healing, both physical and emotional.
A fourth prostate cancer cohort joined the group, and then recently, we added two more to the Blue Men’s group, which is what we have labeled ourselves. The title reflects the fact that blue is the color for prostate cancer. One of the newbies is also a prostate cancer survivor. The other is fighting a courageous battle against a more formidable, horrible kind of cancer.
The extraordinary club includes business owners, pastor, engineer, writer and banker. Cancer indiscriminately invades many careers. I admire my friends’ frankness and honesty, their devotion to staying positive and living a servant lifestyle, no matter their profession or personal prognosis.
Friends and food make for fine fellowship. Together they sweetly season even toast and oatmeal with faith and hope.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2013