Imagine the Good News —DeWese

BREAKFAST IS a ritualistic celebration for me. It must consist of complementary foods—eggs and bacon, eggs and sausage. It should include some grits or fried potatoes. And fruit; I prefer mixed berries or melon, but not mixed melon—just honeydew or just cantaloupe. There must be orange juice and strong, dark roast coffee. I usually make two pieces of toast and butter with thick slices of country white bread.

The food is almost always perfect because I cook for myself. I am one of America’s great egg cooks. I’m talkin’ about fried over, sunny side up, scrambled, poached, soft boiled and omelettes of all persuasions.

I sit at the end of my kitchen island with the food assembled before me. Three years ago, I would rush through the food to reach the climax—a cigarette. I quit smoking nearly three years ago and, although I still have the nicotine cravings, I eat slowly now because there is no smoke reward at the end of the meal.

I neglected to mention the newspaper. It’s part of the ritual and it must be to the left of my plate, stacked neatly from the front section right through to the classified. I get two papers, so there is plenty of reading to do.

It was a Sunday morning and raining. I had prepared breakfast and was ready to eat, when I remembered the newspapers. I dash-ed, er, make that walked fast, outside to find one paper soaked and disintegrating and the other paper missing or undelivered.

It felt like a punch in the gut. For a few seconds, I couldn’t get my breath. My entire morning was ruined without the paper. Almost as bad as the time I ran out of grits.

I took my place at the counter, closed my eyes and tried to gather myself.

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