Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Right Stuff

There is something just right about hot oatmeal when the oats have been hand milled and just a pinch of coarse sea salt has been added to the oatmeal when it cooks.  That is a simple dish that even a duke or a duchess wouldn’t sniff at.  Mother is so very gracious to take the time to make our oatmeal the right way. It takes a little patience and a little time, but my, it is so very tasty, especially with a little cream and brown sugar.

We were sitting across from each other at the breakfast table with our oatmeal and a pot of English Breakfast Tea, reading the morning paper.  The sun was shining, there was the sound of finches singing outside our window, and two squirrels were playing in the tree on the front lawn.

“Mother,” said I. “What a wonderful morning!” Then I looked up at her and noticed that she had turned pale and that there was a dangerous look of fury on her face.

“Well, your view is better than mine,” she snapped, “Just turn around and look out the other window!”

I turned and looked, and I was completely aghast!  Our next door neighbour was out in front of his house walking around in his pajama bottoms and flip flops, not even wearing a t-shirt, and he was talking on his cell phone.  What a sight!  Never in my life had I seen anything quite so appalling.

I was repulsed.  My appetite was quite spoiled, and I pushed the oatmeal bowl away from me.  Just then I began to be aware that our telephone was ringing, and I hesitated, 
“Certainly I hope it isn’t that individual on the front walk..”

“Aren’t you going to answer it Alfred?” asked Mother.

“Must I?”

“Yes, Alfred, it can’t be him,” she said indicated the partially clad individual on the sidewalk. “He’s already talking to someone.”

I heaved a sigh of relief and picked up the phone. “Mountjoy residence,” said I.
A voice on the other end jangled, “This is Grace Whittington, We haven’t met, but I was looking at our Church Guest Register and I noticed that you had visited our church last month.  We have a little dinner party every month at the Bistro Watel.  There are only six of us.  Last month we shared a Chateaubriand, a whole tenderloin. Absolutely exquisite.  We wondered if you and Mrs. Mountjoy would be interested in joining us?”

Now ordinarily I wouldn’t even think of accepting such an invitation, but I was still looking at the portly disheveled pajama clad individual perambulating on the front side walk, and I thought, “The Bistro Watel?  Chateaubriand? Such a nice contrast!” So I said, “Let me ask Mother.”

Mother looked at me, then looked back out the window and wrinkled her nose, “That may really so very much more pleasant than looking at the show outside our window.  Ask them when it’s going to be Alfred.”

“Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.'  And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests” (Matthew 22:8-10).   

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