Confessions of a Cereal Killer

If my mother didn’t make eggs and grits for breakfast when I was growing up, I had a bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Even when I went into the Navy and had a buffet of breakfast choices, I frequently picked out a packet of Corn Flakes. As an adult, I continue to eat cereal, reserving the eggs, bacon/sausage, and grits (I now sometimes substitute hash browns for grits) for eating out at a restaurant. My two choices now are: Frosted Flakes or Honey Nut Cheerios. I use 2% milk and never tire of the taste and consistency. One important thing I have learned about cereal is that you don’t pay full price for a box of cereal. The price of cereals is acceptable only when combined with coupons and/or BOGOS (buy-one-get-one-free). I’m sure there are other healthier ways to start the day, but starting without a bowl of cereal when I’m at home is a tradition for me and an enjoyable one.

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A Sound Enthusiast

I have always been a sound enthusiast. I was in college when I heard a phonograph record played in hi-fi. I was excited. I had gone into a furniture store, had asked for a demonstration of hi-fi, and was entranced. I heard percussive sounds that I had never heard before except in a live concert. Then stereophonic sound was introduced. I couldn’t imagine how stereo could be possible, but bring it on. In order to hear stereophonic sound, I learned that there were FM stations and AM stations cooperating to broadcast one track on FM and one track on AM so that anyone who had an AM and FM radio could then produce stereophonic sound in their home or office. It is many years later, and I own a beautiful sound system that is installed in my living room. It provides me with 5.1 stereophonic sound. It also plays dts sound, which is a high-tech sound that can be heard only on audio systems set up to “translate” this kind of quality sound. At present, mostly only blu-ray discs feature dts sound. I hope my ability to hear the tiniest bells and percussive sounds lasts for many years as I progress as a senior citizen.

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Discovery at the Dental Office

I have been going for my dental work to a local dentist named Dr. Ron O’Neal for years. Although his dental office, All Family Dental, does not take my Humana Health insurance, because I trust him, I have depended on him for dental work which has been frequent because of the malformation of my gums and permanent teeth. When I have had big dental bills rather than routine maintenance, I have pressed the office to accept my Discover card. However, they insisted that they took only Master Card and VISA, two cards which I have but don’t use especially for larger bills because Discover card gives me a rebate on everything I charge. With another large dental bill coming due, I wrote Dr. O’Neal and his office secretary a persuasive letter asking them to research the possibility of accepting Discover card. I am happy to report that my arm twist worked, and they will always remember me as the Discover card pusher.

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My Tomato Crop

During the recent “cold-down” here in west central Florida, I feared only for my one tomato plant which is loaded with Better Boy tomatoes. My custom is to check it every day, spray for insects, and feed it regularly. When the weather people began to forecast lows in the upper 30’s, I became concerned about my plant. The first morning after a low of 37.1 degrees, the plant took a turn for the worse–drooping and sagging. I hastily fed it water and watched it only slowly regain some strength. That night I checked it before I went to bed, and it appeared to be at death’s door. When friends suggested I cover it, I resisted as it is too tall to cover and covering incorrectly can be a death knell. The next morning when I checked on Thom’s tomato, it looked as though it had had a shot of adrenalin. It looked perky. It looked as though it would survive. Now I can understand how farmers must feel when they realize that they have come through a weather-danger period and their crops have survived. It sounds a bit trivial, but I’m excited that my crop (singular) survived.

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A Twist (repeat)

I most enjoy movies and books that take me in a direction that makes me believe that there is an impossibility of a satisfactory denouement. I am not good at out-guessing authors and movie producers but am rewarded when the ending is both satisfying and rational. I most dislike movies and books that have cop-out endings–such as identity changes like the one I just read about in a Dean Koontz book entitled The Key to Midnight. One of the movies I’ve watched recently was “Abel’s Field,” a Christian-themed movie that portrays a seventeen-year-old young man who has the total responsibility for his family, including twin girls. After watching him deal with his awesome challenges, I was very pleased with the satisfactory resolution of that movie. One of my favorite movies, “Dear Frankie,” is a movie about child abuse and a family in Scotland. In the middle of that movie, I was distressed, knowing for sure that there was no way the problems that had been presented could be resolved to my satisfaction…but they were. I must write too that I enjoy stories that take me in a direction that completely fools me when the denouement arrives. The best example I can think of for that genre is the short story, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” by J. D. Salinger. I guess you can tell that I love good literature and well-done movies.

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The Hamilton Uproar

I love music, particular the music from Broadway musicals. When I read about the play, “Hamilton,” I immediately reserved a copy of the original cast album from the library. When I was notified that the CD was available, I rushed to the library to pick it up. Coming home, I plopped it into my CD player and listened to several of the beginning tracks. It was not what I had expected. It was rap. I returned the CD to the library without finishing it. However, I did do something wise: I reserved a copy of Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton on which the play is based. It took quite a while for the book to become available, all 731 pages of tiny print. During the reading, I occasionally listened to tracks from the play, posting the lyrics on the left side of my computer screen while playing the track on the other side. As I read, the songs in the play came alive, and the exceptionalism of the play became apparent. As I write, I have only one more chapter to read: “Eliza.” One of these days I will have an opportunity to see the play “Hamilton,” which played so successfully during the political turmoil of the Trump/Clinton election season.


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Hopscotch with the Sprinklers

When I moved into my home, the lawn was sodded and, I was told, it would need to be watered. Since I moved in on October 31, at least it wasn’t during the heat of summer. However, when I checked on having a well drilled, I was told that, because of the high elevation of my home on Disston Ridge, the cost of drilling would be prohibitive. So, I installed a sprinkler system but accepted the fact that I would be sprinkling my yard with “city water.” Since the water rates were high, I realized that I would have to play some games regarding when I allowed the sprinklers to come on and when they should be turned off. I bought a gadget that would automatically shut down the sprinklers if the day before we had at least .15 rainfall. The automatic turn-off worked nicely when I was away. However, when I was at home, I manually turned on and off the sprinklers so that my water bill did not become exorbitant. I came to realize that anticipating the accuracy of rain predictions was dubious at best and the lawn sprinkling would be a challenge, as it definitely is.

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