I usually have breakfast at home – toast, coffee, maybe some hot cereal (if it’s made for me). It isn’t that I don’t know how to cook cereal it’s just that I would rather not. Sometimes a situation arises that causes me to eat out.
When conditions allow I like to wake up in a leisurely manner: slumbering, drifting in and out of sleep, trying to recall dreams as they fade away. But the conditions have to be just right: no early morning appointments, reasonable levels of quiet throughout the house, and no pressing need to visit the little boy’s room. All of those have to be present in order for that wonderful 15 minutes to pass peacefully.
Last Wednesday morning nothing was as it should be. I woke to the sounds of doors being shut firmly, voices raised and too much commotion for 5:30 in the morning. I threw on a sweat shirt and jeans and hustled downstairs to see what was afoot, and that’s where it almost was - on my foot. Buddy, our dog, had made quite a mess of things in the night.
Unless the Exxon Valdez oil spill could be considered a minor mishap, you couldn’t really call what Buddy did an accident. It was more like widespread wreckage. Sometime in the night, probably during the third watch, Buddy desperately needed to go ashore.
As there are no moorings to hold him, Buddy is free to float about the house. He is however, normally content to remain berthed in one area. With no one awake to let him out, he was forced to navigate the first floor in search of a secret passage to the outside world. Finding no place where he could drop anchor, Buddy jettisoned his cargo in several ports of call.
Even though it wasn’t an oil spill (don’t blame OPEC) the mess left by Buddy was quite crude (oh ick!). I made several sincere offers to swab the deck, or at least help clean up, but as my skills in this area have proved to be less than admirable I wasn’t pressed into service.
Since the kitchen was closed that morning I chose to eat in town. I hesitate to name the restaurant for fear that my dozen or so faithful readers will forever more associate dog droppings with that establishment (who wants that kind of advertising?). Plus, I don’t want to get sued.
When I walked in the hostess offered me a booth. As I sat down I recognized the man in the booth next to me. He looked to be about my father’s age (if Dad was still alive and I could meet him for breakfast). After we exchanged polite greetings I asked if he wouldn’t mind some company. He motioned me to sit down, so I changed tables.
He was drinking coffee (with cream) and his breakfast was already on the table: Eggs (over-easy), potatoes, wheat toast (with jelly) and ham. When the waitress came by she asked if I needed a menu or a run-down of the specials.
“I am going to make it easy,” I told her. I’ll have coffee and exactly what he’s having, except I’ll have sausage instead of ham.”
“What’s the matter, you don’t like ham?” my dining partner asked.
Now I felt bit defensive. I mean wasn’t it enough that I had ordered everything else he had in front of him? “It’s not that I don’t like ham, it’s just that I like sausage better.”
“I like ham,” he said. “Always have.”
“Me too,” I said. “Come here often?” I asked, hoping to change the subject.
“Yes,” he said. “I never learned how to cook and now that my wife is gone I eat out a lot. How about you? Do you eat out a lot?”
“Well, normally not. I usually have breakfast at home, but you see we have this dog and last night…oh never mind. How’s the ham?”