Can cheesecake give us point for agreement

Published 1:44 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My friend, Mark, sent me a message saying that for Thanksgiving dinner, he tried a cheesecake recipe I shared with him. He said the crust was a little disappointing, but that otherwise it was yummy.

Now, it might not seem like it, but this interaction between friends might just demonstrate how we can begin to unite our divided country. Let me explain by telling you the story of how this interesting friendship developed.

It all started with a televised opinion piece and a response in opposition to that opinion piece. You see Mark is the general manager of a television station and part of his job is writing and regularly sharing editorial comments during the news.

About a year ago, his editorial concerned why victims of sexual assault do not speak out. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but boy, it fired me up enough to shoot off an email letting him know I disagreed.

He responded with the reasoning behind his comments. However, he did say I made some valid points in my email.

As I said, that was the start of this “friendship.” It was a rocky start at best and was slow to improve.

A month or so after our first exchange, I responded to another of his editorials. This resulted in him inviting me to visit the station for a tour, something I haven’t done yet.

This back and forth rocked on for several months with him expressing an opinion, me not going along with what he said and letting him know my opinion. The email discussions were cordial enough, but lordy we were on different pages, like a lot of Americans are right now.

Then, something happened that brought a change to our messages and started us on a path to friendship. I agreed with one of his editorials and I told him I agreed. a

I laughed when I got his return message.

“I am framing this email.”

Another editorial I agreed with soon followed and I told him so. His response was priceless and funny.

“This just in — A live Report. Experts are saying they now have proof that below freezing temperatures have been reported in Hades. Thanks for watching.”

Miraculously, I agreed with a third editorial.

“WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE! Completely agree again with your editorial. Very fair and balanced. That’s three in a row.”

He responded with, “Shut the front door.”

Shortly thereafter, the tone of our messages changed. If I disagreed, it was more of a friendly message sent with a bit of humor. One of those messages, and I’m not sure exactly what it was, started our cheesecake discussions.

I discovered he likes making cheesecake and some of his creations sounded wonderful. After I asked about one of his recipes, he shared it with me.

We still didn’t agree on everything and I took issue with some of his opinions, but when we disagreed, it was with an ability to agree to disagree.

For example, I didn’t see eye-to-eye with him about immigration and the response of the government to the approaching “caravan.” I shared my thoughts and he replied.

“Just want our laws upheld. Hope you are well. Did you make the cheesecake? When are you coming for your tour?”

I answered, “I want some clear sensible laws. I’m well. No cheesecake yet… Have to give some thought to tour time …”

That folks is what can happen when we people who don’t agree on everything decide they can listen to each other, allow differing opinions and find common ground. We can disagree without it becoming an argument or leading to bad feelings.

We can decide to interact calmly towards each other even when our ideas about what is right and what is wrong are not always the same. We can discuss rather than argue. We can listen and allow rather than closing our minds and hearts.

And, we can find common ground. A love for cheesecake is an excellent place to start.

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.