When I arrived home yesterday, Kelly was unloading groceries from her car. One of the bags contained boxes of cereal and among the drab Cheerios and Honey Bunches of Oats was a bright red box with yellow lettering: Lucky Charms.
“Why’d you get Lucky Charms?” I asked, since it was in our repertoire of breakfast comestibles.
“There was a special,” Kelly said, “buy 3 get 1 free.”
I was secretly delighted. Growing up, “sugar” cereals were banned in our home at an early age. I can recall days in Somerset, New Jersey when my bowl would be full of Fruit Loops and my milk would have turned chocolate from Coco Puffs. But it all came to an end after we migrated from the carbohydrate-liberal town of Somerset to the carbohydrate-conservative town of Warwick, Rhode Island. There are two events that supposedly took place that forced the issue. One event I witnessed first hand, the other I did not.
The one that I did not witness (and seems more like parental ploy in hindsight) was that, despite never having a cavity, our dentist allegedly told our parents to cut all sugar cereals from our diet. One might argue that the reason we didn’t have cavities thereafter was because we ate no sugar cereals. But I don’t buy it. Soda pop, juices, Kool Aid, all have high sugar content and we continued to consume those, unfettered by dental regulation. And besides, we brushed our teeth every morning after breakfast, which would take care of the sugar in the cereal. No, I think the dentist was a patsy in this case. There was another inciting event that took place and this one I was a direct witness to:
We sat in the dining room in our brown raised ranch in Warwick (pronounced “War-ick” by the natives). I remember being seated in a chair with my back to the kitchen, a window out to the backyard off to my left and the living room to my right. My brother was definitely at the table. I don’t know if my sister was there. Mom had picked up Cookie Crisp cereal at the store and my brother and I were doing our level best to see that not a single bit of it went to waste. At some point during the meal, Dad entered the room. He must have taken note of what was in our bowls (miniature chocolate chip cookies floating soggily in milk) for I distinctly remember the look of shock. “Bernice!” he said, “Do you realize that the kids are eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast?” (I’d never heard of Bill Cosby’s famous routine at this point, mind you.)
Well, that put an end to it. The dentist might have provided a convenient appeal to authority argument, but there was no arguing with chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. For the next six or seven years, I seem to recall eating nothing but Corn Bran, that bastion of colon-ary goodness. Such was my suppression of sugared cereals that by the time I got to college, I ate nothing but Fruit Loops for the first month. Four bowls each for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I might have kept going was it not for the havoc such a diet wreaked on my digestive system.
But then yesterday, Kelly came home with the box of Lucky Charms and so tomorrow I will have them for breakfast. How can I not? After all, they are magically delicious.