It was around 1996 and I was alone in San Francisco taking care of business for NASFA. I was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Farm Agents.

It came to my attention via the Concierge at my hotel that the Cheesecake Factory would be a good place to dine. Apparently a lot of other people got the same message, since the main dining room was slammed.

I decided to sit at the bar and order my food. A couple of prim and proper elderly English ladies were seated beside me. We struck up a conversation and I was delighted to hear their accents.

When our food was delivered to us, one of the ladies looked at her food and released an exasperated sigh saying “Well, would you look at that, that’s enough food for three people!” She turned to me and said “It’s no wonder that there are so many of you waddling about.”

She was spot on! She nailed it, and this was about 22 years ago. Obesity in the United States has worsened since.

Actually, she made my day. I have told this story many times and everyone has loved it.

I related this gem to an English gentleman that I met on my trip to China a few years ago, with my editor and son Bradford. He immediately began to apologize for the rudeness of his fellow country person.


I stopped him with a  “No, no, no, kind Sir! you owe no apology. This lady spotted a national epidemic, and she identified the problem so concisely and in such a delightful fashion.”

I have recently moved to Mississippi with my wife, Lucy, who grew up here. This perhaps gives me license to reveal that MS falls near the bottom of the States in several areas, but MS is on the top of the list in Obesity. This is where the fat is at!

She was spot on! She nailed it, and this was about 22 years ago.

My brother Mark visited us at our little white house that is smack dab in the middle of the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge while here we attended the wedding of Lucy’s cousin Sue. Mark said that he had never tasted better food than what was served at the reception by the ladies of the Bevill Hill Methodist Church.

Mark is an excellent cook, and it takes one to know one! Let us take this issue off the table (pun intended) and just blame everything on the good cooks in Mississippi.

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