Here it is, the first installment of my writing experiment, “Thursdays with Chia Obama!” If you didn’t read my introduction to this weekly series (posted last night), you can find it by clicking here. “Thursdays with Chia Obama,” which blatantly steals its title from Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, chronicles the life of my Chia Obama in sometimes fun, sometimes more serious ways. Sometimes there is a lesson to be learned and sometimes you’ll laugh (I hope). This is just a writing experiment, so feel free to give me feedback about what you like or don’t like about it, because it is as much for you, the reader, as it is for me. Enjoy!
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It is the early summer of 2009, a hot, sticky Saturday afternoon in North Central Illinois; last Saturday, to be precise. After allowing a mixture of Chia seeds and water to sit for over an hour, I watched carefully as my wife applied the resulting gel-like paste to numerous rows of grooved surfaces where Barack Obama’s hair should be. This, of course, is not the 44th president of the United States; it is a clay Chia Pet likeness of the leader of the free world looking determined. Yes, we bought a Chia Obama, and I am not ashamed of admitting it.
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The sun beamed in through the kitchen window, bathing our Chia Obama in sunlight. It has been only two days since we planted the Chia seeds, and already they are starting to sprout. Just as the Obama likeness they are planted on portrays, the seeds seem determined – determined to grow quickly. There is no time to waste during a recession, especially when you’re a Chia Pet with a lifespan of only a month.
Chia Obama’s companion is a Hoya plant my wife inherited from her great-grandmother Ethel, an amazing woman who died last year at age 107. It is unknown exactly how old the Hoya is, but family memories indicate it is at least 30 years old. By comparison, the Chia crop will die in infancy.
There is a lesson to be learned from this. Live every day of life to its fullest because you may not have much time left. Then again, you may live to be 107. But since you rarely know when your time will be up, it is never too early to start ticking off the items on your personal bucket list. Don’t worry about completing your list prematurely – you can always add to it.
Sure, it is a bit of a cliché to tell people to live life like there’s no tomorrow. But it is a lesson worth repeating because so many people neglect to heed it until they are late in the game, to use a sports metaphor.
However, I think more people are realizing this at an earlier junction in their lives, particularly during the current recession. A lot of people who lost their jobs wonder why they worked so hard for an employer who just cut them loose in the end, hard work be damned. I am among those who learned that lesson the uneasy way. By all means, work hard at your job, but be able to separate your work life from your home life, and hopefully happiness will ensue.
And if you find yourself in the unenviable position of temporarily not working, learn to appreciate “the little things” a little more. Like watching a Chia Obama grow “hair” thanks to your suddenly green thumb. And having the presence of mind to realize the experience may teach you a lesson – or several.
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It is the first day of July 2009, a cool, breezy Wednesday afternoon in North Central Illinois. The high temperature is about 25 degrees lower than it was the day Chia Obama’s seeds were planted. The temperature drop does not seem to faze Chia Obama; after four days, most of its seeds have sprouted. Just like Chia Obama’s namesake, the plant seems able to roll with any changes it faces, remaining calm, cool and collected.
Is a plant capable of being calm, cool and collected? In my house … yes, it can.
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Check back here at The Bread Line next Thursday for the second installment of “Thursdays with Chia Obama”!