Good company makes for a good breakfast

We all know that eating a healthy breakfast is important. It gives us a mental advantage, fuels us up for the day and increases our focus and concentration. At least that’s what nutritionists tell us. Moms will tell us we need something to ‘stick to our ribs’ until lunch time, to keep us from snacking.

I grew up with a breakfast of porridge — Cream of Wheat or Sunny Boy cereal every morning during the winter. The spoon stood straight up in that porridge pot and it did stick with you for the day. But as I got older and busier, coffee and juice replaced the morning meal.

This past week I went out for breakfast twice. A committee I sit on decided to have a breakfast meeting at 8 a.m. in downtown Vancouver, because I’m the only one that doesn’t live there.  I get up at 6 a.m., arrive at the restaurant just before 8, and I am still the first one there. The place is a beehive of activity, and waiters and waitresses move among the tables in a choreography designed to prevent crashes.

We get our menus as we lay out our meeting agendas and we eat as we plan our strategies. Power breakfasts are all around, as people text or call Toronto and everyone is on the phone or in some sort of discussion. Outside, sirens, horns and screeching tires are the background for a busy big city breakfast. With our meeting over, we disappear into the crowd and I make my way back to the SkyTrain, feeling like I’ve done a day’s work — and it is only 9:30.

Saturday morning was the monthly men’s breakfast. This is a group of wise elders from our community who get together once a month just to have breakfast. This day, 15 of us jockey for position around a long table in the Kalma Family Restaurant and the lone waitress asks if we want menus or just the special.

We all order the special and she seems pleased that we have made it simple for her. She records how we want our eggs and tells us our orders will be up before too long. She seems to understand that none of us are in a hurry. We have no agendas, written or otherwise.

It is a relaxed setting and the sun pours in through the window, the coffee pours from a bottomless pot and the conversation pours out across the table. We discuss everything from lawn mowers to chain saws, hockey and politics, families and weather. We solve many problems and offer solutions for many others.

I find myself thinking this is how our Senate should work. Once a month, in every province, a group of clever and judicious gentlemen should meet for breakfast and come up with solutions that would be passed on to elected officials the following Monday.

In the background, a radio is playing Hank Williams, Tammy Wynette and Kenny Rogers. It is not a distraction at all and seems to be quite in place on a Saturday morning in a small town restaurant.

We take our time to taste the food and when the meal is done we are on our way, back out into the crisp air and sunshine, fueled for the day.

It’s not what you have for breakfast that matters as much as who you have breakfast with. At least that’s what McGregor says.

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