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June 2013



Food for thought: Enjoy a pleasant meal I spent a week as a camp counselor last summer. Spending a week with a group of 7- to 9-year-olds can be challenging, but also great fun. Before camp begins, “Four Minute counselors Essays” by Dr. receive training. Frank Crane was Much of the published in 1919 but its contents training dealt remain relative to with sensitive the world today. issues such as dealing with children who have troubles at home, children who may be homesick or campers who may be, shall we say, a bit too enthusiastic. But one area of training was a bit surprising — helping children learn to eat at a table. When I was growing up, my family spent a good hour every evening eating dinner. We conversed, argued, and enjoyed each other’s company. My father often recited epic poems he had to memorize in school. He said, “I had to learn them and I sure am going

to use them.” So we listened and learned. We also learned good table manners so that our meals would be more pleasant. Today’s children live in a much different world. Which family can afford to spend an entire hour sharing a meal? It’s more likely that Johnny is running out the door to soccer practice, Jenny is still at band, Mom has rushed in with some ready-to-eat meal and Dad is emptying the dishwasher so that everyone will have a clean fork. We live in a rush-rush world and we eat rush-rush meals. Dr. Frank Crane, the essayist who has been inspiring my columns this year, wrote what he called, the Ten Commandments of the Table. These were not “for the feast when guests are present, nor the formal dinner, but more especially for the family.” Here are some of them: Bring with you a cheerful mind Grumpy faces and angry voices do not belong at the family table. A daily dose of humor and good spirits keeps you healthy. As Dr. Crane says, “A serene soul is the best aid to digestion.” Don’t read Or text or read your email. Focus on your family. Electronic devices are a lot better at waiting than a child with a

Clarence Beam, a native of Glenmoore, celebrated his 100th birthday recently in Phillies style. The baseball club gave Beam a box of Phillies mementos in celebration of his milestone.

NOTES FROM A RETIRED TEACHER Lisa Marie Crane Lisa Marie Crane is a mother and a grandmother and a recently retired public school teacher in Chester County. She is a graduate of West Chester University, and received a Master’s degree in children’s literature from Hollins College.

great story to tell or a spouse who needs a sympathetic ear. “Mealtimes ought to be a sacrament of love.” Converse Mealtimes are a great time to practice the art of conversation. A friend of mine keeps a deck of cards with topics for the table. Dr. Crane’s commandments: Don’t criticize. Don’t argue. Be light and agreeable. Don’t hurry Enjoy the process of eating. Savor the flavors. Enjoy the company. Neglect no one at the table Encourage everyone to share in the conversation.” You never know what insights you may be missing when a shy soul is afraid to join the conversation. “Aim to increase every one’s self-respect.” Laugh “One good laugh is worth many

medicines.” Tell jokes. Share funny stories. Sing an old song. Ben Franklin said, “Trouble knocked at the door, but hearing laughter, hurried away.” Avoid satiety This is a great reminder that we should eat to live, not live to eat. Don’t eat or drink too much. Savor each bite. Eat for health. Be thankful Remember those who supplied the meal. A thankful heart is a happy heart, and probably a healthy one too. We enjoyed our campers at meals, once we got them to sit down and learn that mealtimes could be as much fun as fishing or hiking. Crane says that courteous meals “sweeten the day, improve the atmosphere, and (are) points of spiritual as well as physical refreshment.”

Kennett Area Senior Center staff members shown at the recent “Taste of italy” spaghetti dinner fund-raising event include (from left) Harry Wackerman as Chef Vinny Vincenzo, Bert Lutz, Carmen Cruz, Andrea Durynski and Anita O’Connor.

Happy 100! to a Phillies fan

Italian dinner at Kennett senior center

Clarence Beam, a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan, received a baseball hat autographed by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and other team memorabilia on his 100th birthday recently. A resident of Tel Hai retirement community, Honey Brook, Beam also received a citation acknowledging his

Kennett Area Senior Center, 427 S. Walnut St., Kennett Square, recently sponsored a “Taste of Italy” spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Students from Kennett Consolidated and Unionville high schools greeted and served guests and cleared tables after the meal. The senior center’s staff provided Italian villa/restaurant-like decorations

milestone from the state House of Representatives. Known by his family and friends as “Baldy,” Beam attended Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla., each year until 2011. Beam was born and raised in Glenmoore. He retired after working 42 years at a Downingtown paper mill.

and appeared mustachioed with chef Vinny Vincenzo portrayed by Kennett Square Resale Book Shoppe manager Harry Wackerman. The evening was another excellent opportunity for the seniors and students to strengthen their intergenerational bonds to the delight of everyone in attendance.

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