“ He that would have the perfection of pleasure must be moderate in the use of it.” (Benjamin Whichcote)
When Marjorie retired from New Jersey to a three story condominium facility in balmy Delray Beach, Florida, this elderly widow seemed determined to overcome her sudden loneliness from losing the company of her husband Bill. But in her wildest dreams, Marjorie could never imagine her upcoming “rock star” status as “Momma Munch” as she became commonly known for her masterful bread baking efforts within a year of her move to this tightly knit, new community home.
Imagine then then the pleasing smells of Marjorie’s freshly kneeded dough on weekday mornings permeating the outside air from the open kitchen window of her condo. Fidgety squirrels and wild blue jays would then be her first guests to gain Momma Munch’s attention as she placed timely samples of these tasty bread treats on the railing outside her door. Neighbors would soon pop in to her unit as well for a brief chat while hoping to get some quick bites of her latest rye, wheat, or multigrain bread concoction. With all loaves now cooled as lunchtime approached , Momma Munch would now spring into extra action hoping to spread kindness toward others by peddling her wares. For one might might discover her popular bread baskets in popular spots like elevator entrances, swimming pool lounges, and picnic tables throughout the day,
So on Memorial Day weekend, Momma Munch sensed good reason to take some time off from her bread routine for a healthy change. For her son. Darren, a biology professor, would be coming in from out of town to pay tribute to his late father Bill, for his heroic army infantry service during World War II. So on Friday night, Darren would suggest to his mother that they share some fond memories of Bill with a quiet picnic outing in the Florida Everglades on Memorial Day. But of course, Momma Munch would feel compelled to bring along next Monday several loaves of her legendary bread to share with anyone she encountered during their outing.
Now who would have thought that a featured customer on that day of rest for Momma Munch would be a hungry alligator? For as Marjorie and Darren enjoyed their shaded comfort at their picnic table that morning with the breadbaskets stacked high for all to see, a ravenous gator lie lurking within striking distance of them nearby. Slowly, the reptile would then slowly emerge from the murky canal and crawl up the sloping boat ramp. For it had sensed the aromatic loaves of their human food. Suddenly, as Mother Munch gained first awareness of the gator’s ominous presence nearby, she reverted back to her bread giveaway ways and began tossing bread tidbits toward the gator’s eagerly awaiting snout.
How untimely then it seemed when crowd of a curious tourists would arrive from a noisy airboat tour docking nearby amid this odd feeding spectacle. Yet in spite of their exciting shouts and screams upon seeing the reptile at close range, the gator seemed insensitive to the human danger and did not move away. So in the “heat” of that moment, Momma Munch undoubtedly took great satisfaction in realizing that she had again done her volunteer duties well. For there would be plenty of her tasty bread for the gator and hordes of tourists to feast on along the park that day. Yet our more mindful Darren would recognize right away his mother’s error of thought. For if humans continued to indulge in their personal pleasures by encroaching on the alligator’s natural habitat, how then would this species with their instinctive defenses confused in the future continue to survive?
Note: The cover photo to begin this blog marks the exact location in the Florida Everglades where my mother and I actually witnessed an alligator approaching our picnic table on a recent picnic outing.