No, this is not a pep talk on what we should and should not eat to stay healthy until we approach our 100th birthday. There is enough expert advice to go around. And it changes every other day. Those of us who still want more on that front just need to read today’s news. There’s surely going to be something new we should rush to buy or something in our pantry we now need to throw away. So I’m not going there.
My thoughts took me in a completely different direction this morning. I was in my kitchen making breakfast when I happened to drop my vitamin capsule. The orange-colored one. It rolled on the kitchen floor and finally stopped next to the pantry. I picked it up and that’s when I remembered the young baboon. I met him on one of our trips into the wild many years ago.
We were going to visit Queen Elizabeth National park in Uganda. When approaching the park, we saw a mother baboon with her offspring sitting close to the road. We stopped to greet them.
Our son was quick to open the window and throw out a small wheat biscuit. It landed on the ground next to the young baboon. He and his mother observed it suspiciously for a long time. Touch…or not to touch? After careful consideration the youngster decided to take it. For closer examination.
He rolled the biscuit in his fingers and looked at it from all angles. He smelled it. Then he started cleaning it. He blew on it. He scratched it with his fingers. He cleaned it against his hairy arm. And then blew on it again. Repeat. This cleaning ceremony took at least five minutes. Then he halved the little biscuit and gave one half to his mother. They ate their biscuit halves slowly enjoying the taste of whole wheat.
Then the mother stood up and came to thank us. Or maybe it was to get one more nutritious treat? But that was not going to happen. We shouldn’t have fed them in the first place.
After this charming demonstration in cleanliness, I couldn’t be angry at our son. I just told him not to do it again. But I can never forget this young baboon’s efforts to ensure his food was eatable and clean. And I’m sure he hadn’t read the latest advice on food hygiene.
So I followed his instructions and cleaned my vitamin. Repeat.