How sweet it is

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 6, 2003

Like many of you, I have been giving serious thought to making personal New Year’s resolutions, but nothing has firmly gelled. Normally I don’t participate in this annual well-meaning but weak-spirited plan to better one’s self. My mantra for the 20th-century was &uot;The fun never stops,&uot; and it remains so for the 21st-century.

Yes, I could participate in the American pastime of decreasing the girth of one’s belly. But so far I’m still enamored with continuing to cut a wide swath through the region’s finer restaurants. If you dine where I have already eaten, you’d also forsake toning the physique and instead concentrate on table manners.

Who among us is completely immune from the tempting sights of variegated salad displays or the come-hither-to-the-table aromas of blue-plate specials? And what American meal is complete without dessert? You are undoubtedly aware that sugar is the fifth major food group, which naturally includes chocolate.

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Thanks to family and friends, homemade fudge, assorted chocolates and hard candies heavily occupied my kitchen table last month. Were I on an actual diet, these brightly colored and flavorful candies would be my enemies.

I prefer to think of them as my friends.

They’re waiting to give me a quick energy boost, top off a delicious TV dinner, accompany a fine movie on DVD, and console me after a difficult day at the office. Even now my psychic sweet tooth is contemplating a few chocolates from a Whitman’s Sampler after completing this column, even though it is nearly 5 a.m. Monday.

The topic of eating and weight loss reminds me that the word diet is also synonymous for a legislative body, like the Suffolk City Council or the Virginia General Assembly. Perhaps it refers to the ideal of a balance that should exist between the governors and the governed.

Please recall our Sunday editorial urging you to become more aware and involved in how the city functions. Council, the Suffolk School Board and the GA make decisions that affect most all residents in one way or another at one time or another. Truly, if you refuse to pay attention concerning these agencies, please don’t come crying to us when edicts are handed down with which you strongly disagree.

Attend these public sessions – they’re for you; submit letters to the individuals concerned and this newspaper; in the office we know from experience that many council members regularly read and respond to citizens this way.

Lest I forget, myself and the other employees are most appreciative to those of you who have written letters to the editor this past year; it helps fulfill our daily mission of serving our readership.

Further, leaving the protests to Suffolk Council watchdogs, for example, is foolish. Many spend time and energy to investigate matters they know are important, and rightly question the people who are in control.

Granted, some people who speak publicly could use a course in diplomacy; by their insulting demeanor they periodically come across in the opposite way intended. This only breeds hurt feelings, resentment and stubbornness. Then such watchdogs (and the public) are often frustrated and leave bitterly, wondering what it would take to persuade the powers that be. To which I suggest a heavy coating of honey – not vinegar – on the tongue may further their cause.

Stephen H. Cowles is the managing editor and a regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. He promises to reduce his weight only if a higher pant size is required.