Morning Worms and Corn Bread

The red-breasted, mother robin flew back to her nest,

high up in a forked branch of a very tall avocado tree.

She had flown off in the early morning California sunshine

to find an early-morning worm as breakfast for her chicks.

“The early bird catches the worm”; that’s what his Dad

had just said as he sipped a cup of cocoa and his Dad a

mug of steaming coffee. He was perched, as he was most

mornings, on his Dad’s knee, his chin resting on his hands.

Elbows planted on the red formica table-top and his eyes

gazing out their big, second-story, kitchen window in an

old Oakland victorian home that had stood since the

War Between the States until now, the end of the Korean War.

It was a Saturday morning. Or was it a Sunday? His Dad

was always home on those two days and they spent the

mornings together as many Dads did, with their boys and

girls, in the years after the end of the great World War, Two.

His Mom was frying bacon and scrambling eggs. She’d

make toast, too. And maybe he’d make a bacon and egg

sandwich. He did not like his eggs all runny and yellow

like his Dad. His Dad would dip his toast into gooey yoke.

His Dad and Mom ate weird things that only grown-ups

liked. Oysters, chicken livers, stuffed bell peppers, pig’s

feet, hot sauce, horseradish and even avocado dip. None

of those things appealed to him or his taste buds.

The really good stuff to eat was hot dogs, french fries,

strawberry shakes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,

fried chicken, corn on the cob, cotton candy or bologna

sandwiches all washed down with an ice-cold root beer.

He did like the slices of apple that his Dad would slice off

with his pocketknife, or orange segments from an orange

his Dad peeled in one long string of orange peel. He and

his Dad liked the same kinds of candies, cookies and pies.

They liked biscuits, too, dripping with butter and jam,

or pear preserves that his Mom would can. His folks grew

up on a farm, in East Texas, and they still liked to put up

and eat their own foods, made by hand and kept in a pantry.

He loved it when his Grandmother or Aunts would come

to visit from Texas and spend long days in the kitchen;

kneading bread, making cinnamon rolls, sweet bread or

bake sweet potato pies or cornbread they’d have with milk.

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