Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

Saving Time For Something


EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE IN SUCH A HURRY THESE DAYS – even me who is a retired geezer and has a minimum of deadlines and other important urgencies in my life. Saving that extra three minutes seems to be critical even when the time saving actions have a lowering of quality along with the few saved ticks and tocks.

I’m not saying that saving time is a bad thing. It is just one way to have more time available to, hopefully, enjoy doing something else.

Like breakfast.

When I get up in the morning one of the first things I do is put on a pot of tea for Dawn. After that I head out in search of coffee. Until I have my coffee my day has not officially begun. Before I pour that first cup or two down my gullet everything I do is strictly muscle memory.

After I return home to really begin my day I get something to eat. Some days it is a bagel or toast, but more and more often I dig a spoon into a bowl of oatmeal. I know, I know, most people don’t like oatmeal, but I do. Most of the people who do like oatmeal doctor it up with fruit, cinnamon, and other sweet things.

I don’t.

I grew up in a family that was still reacting to the Great Depression. Both of my parents sprouting from poor families and coming of age just as the world’s economy crashed and burned. There were no luxuries only the bare necessities to carry on and keep from ending up in “Hoovervilles” or “on the road.”

(This might be a good time for younger readers to do some Socio-Economic research and learn what Hard Times were really like.)

When I showed up on the scene in 1946 the world was still reeling from The Depression and World War Two that was, to a large degree caused by The Depression. Even though the United States did not suffer the physical devastation that Europe and parts of Asia did, there was the loss of half a million soldiers.

Everyone lost in World War Two.

What does this have to do with my breakfast?

Oatmeal was an inexpensive hot food to fill the kid’s tummies. It would keep them going until lunch and keep them warm. I liked oatmeal for those very reasons. Those reasons really come into play here in chilly, blustery Ireland.

It wasn’t until I started school that I learned that there was Oatmeal and then there was “Oatmeal.” We kids would compare our homes and lives and that was when I learned that my oatmeal was different.

The other kid’s oatmeal had fruit and honey and cinnamon sprinkled on it. My oatmeal had salt.


I do remember asking my mother about this. She told me that when she was growing up, one of nine children in an immigrant family, that there was no money for such expensive and frivolous things as strawberries, honey, and cinnamon. Salt was all they had. Salt on her oatmeal carried on to salt on my oatmeal decades later on the other side of Depression and War.

And so, today in 2019, a hundred years from my mother’s childhood, I still have oatmeal for the same reasons; it keeps me warm and will hold me until lunch. My only concession to the 21st century is that now I save time by using instant oatmeal. In 90 seconds I can have a hot, steaming bowl of oatmeal to begin my day. I don’t have any plans for the two minutes I’ve saved by using the instant oatmeal, but I’ll think of something. Meanwhile, here’s to Mom and pass the salt.

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