I have found it again! It was gone and out of my life. It happened so quickly that I never truly recovered. There is no need to cry over spilled milk, I have found it again. Reunited by destinies kind whim, my heart is overjoyed. Come, gather around, and let me tell you a tale.
We go back to the beginning…
Cereal was the primary breakfast food for my family; a giant bowl of sugary goodness drowning in ice-cold whole milk. I can remember it from pre-school all the way through high school. And I don’t think I am alone, cereal seems to be the Great American Breakfast Food. It rivals the classic bacon and eggs, even toast trembles at the might of Cereal. Alas, I do not like Cereal.
It has a temperamental nature and a flakiness that often leaves me unfulfilled. The nature to which I refer is the bodacious claim of a sweet, crunchy flavor that will satisfy all your breakfast needs. It is a lie, just like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Unicorns, and Lightsabers. There is no lasting crunch, there is no lasting sweet flavor.
For Example, here is a well publicized lie,” Cap’n Crunch® is a great-tasting, crunchy sweetened corn and oat cereal your whole family will love.” Liars!! What they don’t tell you, and they never will, is that within a few minutes of milk exposure the hard exoskeleton of the corn/oat pellet begins to decay and soften. The sweet, crunchy breakfast shrivels in to a soggy, pathetic lump of wasted potential. (pausing to wipe away the tears). Even Crisp X can’t endure the harsh Hoth-like terrain of the cereal bowl. I’ve never found a Cereal that I was consistently willing to submit my palate to , not even Coca-Puffs or Lucky Charms could win my heart. Sooner or later everyone gets soggy.
Over the years I have often tried to breach this trust issue with Cereal. I went back to the table several times but to no avail, they just don’t measure up. Each time they promise greatness but falter within mere minutes. I was heart-sick (Proverbs 13:12, ‘Hope Deferred makes the heart sick…’). But a miracle would take place in South Carolina.
Around the Fall of 2005, Nina and I were grocery shopping one night and noticed a new box of cereal on the shelf. It was located on the end-cap because its inaugural debut, and it was only a buck ($1). Nina grabbed a box or two. I shrugged stating my indifference on what cereal she purchased. The next morning would be the dawn of a new day.
I arose early, as was customary given my profession as an Airline Employee, and went to the kitchen to forage for some breakfast. Half-asleep and groggy, I stumbled upon this box of cereal. I shrugged my shoulders again and said, ‘Why Not?’. I opened the box and pulled the plastic apart with a sleepy grunt. The next thing I remember was being swept away. My heart was filled with joy as my nostrils flared with delight. It was absolutely intoxicating. I poured the cereal in to a bowl and very carefully added milk along the side, trying not to contaminate the scintillating, sugary squares. Grabbing the bowl with one hand, and boring a spoon into the heaping mound with the other, I spun around and leaned upon the counter for comfort and support.
I took the first Bite…YES! With each crunch the perfect solution trickled down my throat. I closed my eyes, my heart was racing…and I sighed. It was a full-shoulder slouching, total exasperating release of several decades worth of resentment and bitterness cured by the sweet savour. My palate was reborn.
We would enjoy The Cereal for a few months. One night in particular I was up studying Manfred, a dark tale written by George Gordon or Lord Bryon as he was called, and I decided to have a bite to eat. As I sat back down with my prized possessed I took a bite. I closed my eyes, my heart was racing, and I sighed. Then I uttered this declaration, “You could barter Kingdom’s for this stuff.” And I was not joking.
You could approach a King with this offer, “My Lord I offer you two bowls of The Cereal for Half Thine Kingdom! What say you to that?” And before he can answer, you interject, “Nay My Lord, ONE bowl of The Cereal for your ENTIRE Kingdom….and your provinces and locations of your other castles and…well, we can work all that into the contract later. What say you to that?”
The King curiously replies, “You ask a great deal of me, for such a tiny parcel of food. What have you up your sleeve?”
“No thing sire, just an even trade.”
The King Stands hands you his scepter and crown, “I accept this offer.” He declares. You accept this great trade and hand over The Cereal. The King is led out side the Kingdom and the gates are closed behind him.
He takes his first bite and says, “Sucker!!”
Then without warning The Cereal disappeared from the Shelf. It was nowhere to be found. I was devastated. Was it better to have love and lost or to have stayed embittered? I say it was better to have loved and lost. At least I know that somewhere out there, there is a bowl of Cereal worthy of a King’s Ransom.
This brings me to the present, this week to be exact. Nina came home on Monday or Tuesday from the grocery store with a bag of what looked like The Cereal. I paused when I saw it, could it be? I examined the bag. The name was the same and the texture and size were correct, this could be monumental. But I wouldn’t eat it right then. One can not run head long, helter-sketler in a situation like this. The moment has to be right. I would wait till morning.
The next morning I woke and started my daily routine. I had nearly put The Cereal out of my mind, after years of separation I wasn’t going to let it back in so easily. I grabbed the bag from the pantry and opened it. What happened next was all too familiar. The aroma wafted graciously to my thirsty nose; redemption has come again. My first bite was, well magical, and yes I sighed. I thought for a moment about that King, more than likely he is a pauper or vagabond, running around the country side scavenging for food. I can see him glancing toward the Castle with a smirk, while he gnaws on ahalf eaten turkey bone. He erupts in a hearty laughter and declares once more with his greasy lips, “Sucker!!”
I am not a spokesperson for malt-o-meal nor have I ever been one, but I would consider it in the future.ha. But you would be doing yourself a favor to go buy a bag today. And Yes, You’re Welcome. Enjoy!