So there I sat in my booth at Cagney’s in North Wilkesboro for a Saturday morning country breakfast of bacon, soft scrambled eggs with biscuit and gravy.

While I enjoy the flavors, I think the memories of growing up in a family that celebrated many of life’s specials moments around a table set with savory country cooking are even more cherished than the food itself.

While I didn’t think of it at the time, those moments had a profound influence on my life. I’m sure those early days of celebrating life contributed greatly to the fact that I enjoy bringing people together for special occasions.

The idea of not offering food and beverage to guest seems to be an assault on the idea of civilized Southern hospitality.

I don’t think it needs to be a lot, but it needs to taste and look good. I understand that taste and looks are subjective, but a good effort goes a long way.

I’m certain it’s not just a Southern thing, but I do think that we Southern folks have a great knack for it and the stylistic way we do it sets us apart from others.

In the adjoining booth was a gathering of three who were celebrating the birthday of Buretta Faw. She was joined with her good friend Rita Aguilar and Buretta’s granddaughter, Lexis Wyatt.

While I was not part of their party, I could not help but notice the happy moment. Buretta was presented with a variety of gifts, the first gift was jewelry that featured a seashell, to which she displayed an expressive smile and said, “I see a trip to the beach coming up.”

The next gift also featured a seashell to which with even more excitement she expressed her certainty that a trip to the beach would be in the not too-distant future. With this comment, there is no doubt that Buretta loves trips to the beach.

Midway through my breakfast, I noticed that the last gift was being presented.

It was a larger box that contained a custom bag that was printed with pictures of what must have been friends and family. As she looked over her gift her beaming smile was joined with tender tears.

While I did not know any of the celebrating people in the booth next to me, I felt the moment.

I extended a birthday wish and took a picture just like I was part of their group.

We do a lot things over the course of our lives. As Americans, we spend billions a year on the things we surround ourselves with.

As the years pass and as the interviews and stories keep adding up. I’m noticing more and more about what truly seems to be important in life for most people. It’s not about having a lot of stuff.

For the most part, it’s the people in our lives, the good memories, the being together and the images of those we care for that makes our face leak.

Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award-winning syndicated TV show “Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas.” The weekly show can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com.