For some reason last night, just before sleep, I thought about making French toast for breakfast. We haven’t had any French toast for decades, but there it was in my pre-sleep thoughts. Rosalie didn’t think we had any syrup but I assured her we must have. We did. The expiration date was July, 2005. Now I ask you, how can maple syrup ever expire? So we had French toast with really old syrup, and we haven’t yet expired from using it.
I find that the more blogs I write, the more likely I’ll repeat myself. I’ve written about meals in my youth before. So forgive my repetition. This breakfast of French toast reminded me of my youth, when nearly everyone in town had a waffle iron, and we all breakfasted on waffles or pancakes or French toast. That thought led me to the meal we all got whenever we were sick—milk toast, hot buttered milk poured over slices of toast. I remember it as being so good it was almost worth it to get sick. And the treatments for such maladies: the steam tents our mothers used to drape over the bed, held up by chair backs next to the bed, the Vicks Vaporub, the spoons of Castoria, the awful taste of Castor Oil. I remember a time when I was very young, only five or six, and my mother insisted I swallow a Castor Oil pill. I remember the pills as huge gelatin, squishy things, and I fought her tooth and nail, wailing and spitting it out time after time after time. I don’t remember who won but I suspect I did.
All these memories welling up in me. I remember my dad breaking up a slice of bread and putting it in a glass of milk. I remember how much he liked his steak with lots of suet. No wonder he died of a heart attack. I remember how he never complained about having to eat the chicken back while the rest of us dined on the good parts. I remember the June bugs that would attach themselves to the screen outside my bedroom window, how I’d take such pleasure in flicking them off with my finger. My youth seems to have been filled with summer insects—clouds of mosquitoes, the home-invading millers we’d catch in soapy pans, the crunchy black beetles that swarmed around the Mascot Theatre marquee. Those days of beetles and mosquitoes seem to be gone forever. Did that happen because of the DDT we used back then? Or was the air cleared by clouds of bats?