Change has happened again.
Sister-Here and the Bro-In-Law moved to Nashville, heeding the siren call of family and a grandbaby. The B-I-L and I tried to tie her to the mast but she's surprisingly strong for an ol' girl. Never underestimate the strength of a gramma.
So Sister Near is now Sister There. The other sister who used to be Sister There has now been promoted to Sister Over-There. The B-I-L is still the B-I-L.
Before Sister Here (now There) and the B-I-L left, they gave us a lotta foodstuffs. Frozen, boxed, bagged, jarred, and bottled. Good stuff. Interesting stuff. Even some "what is this?!" stuff.
This morning, in the predawn darkness, I'm clambering around in the "pots'n'pans" drawer trying to find my favorite frying pan. After three minutes of moving stainless steel in a somewhat pugilistic way, I had yet to achieve the charming tones of the Westminister chimes. Hark, the gentle morning voice of my Beloved wafts down the hall.
"Oh for cryin' out loud - MAKE SOME TOAST!"
Realizing that the pin had now been pulled from the grenade, I veeeeeeery gently set the pan on the stove and begin the search for a potato.
The Little-House-On-The-Corner is called that because it's...little. In realtor's speak it is a "cozy bungalow" or a "charming cottage". Which doesn't make it any bigger.
We've found that the key to living in a little house is to utilize space. So, in search of a potato, I head for the laundry room.
Yeah. The potatoes are in the laundry room. The bread is on top of the refrigerator. And I won't tell you where the onions are kept. They're next to the carrots. Suffice it to say that when we make vegetable soup, we add a little bleach. Just to be safe.
I check the top of the washing machine for potatoes. Just laundry detergent, dryer sheets, Windex, and Febreeze.
A thought flashes by.
"I wonder if that would work on onions and carrots?"
I move things one more time. Why, I don't know. It's pretty hard to miss a 10lb bag of potatoes. A little frustrated, I look over at the dryer. It's covered with stuff jettisoned for the Sister'n'B-I-L's move to Nashville. And a box catches my eye.
I remember having it as a kid. And I remember it didn't make much noise.
Malt-O-Meal, it is.
I boil the water, pushing my culinary expertise to its limit, and pour most of the scalding liquid into a bowl. Grabbing the Malt-O-Meal box, I quickly scan the back for cooking instructions. Good. I'll read those if things get outta hand.
I begin to pour the Malt-O-Meal into the bowl of angry, steaming water. Huh. Stuff looks like sand. And all the sand is sinking to the bottom. I keep pouring until I make a little island. A Malt-O-Atoll.
Yeah. That oughta be enough.
I start to stir. And stir. Pretty runny still. I talk myself out of adding more sand. Nah. Better give it a minute. Stirring, stirring. Still sand and water. I even lost the island.
I wander into the Reading Room and get 3/4 of the way through an old Peanuts book before wandering out again.
I go to the counter to stir the Malt-O-Meal. It won't let me have the spoon. And it's not as quiet as I remembered. Its loud sucking sound matches my gasps as I finally get the spoon free..
I chip off a chunk and taste it. Yeah, that's Malt-O-Meal. Needs something. I reach over and get a spoonful of butter from the dish. I flip the glob of curdled moos at the bowl. It hits the resilient brown-sand surface and bounces onto the coffeemaker where it immediately slides down the hot glass of the pot and melts across the warming plate.
This morning just keeps gettin' better and better.
There. The clean-up has been accomplished with only a few small burns. I pour a cup of the Elixir of Knowledge and plop down in a chair at the table.
As is my bent, by the third sip of Elixir a verse struggles up from the depths to lie gasping on the beach of my thoughts.
"...and all these things will be added unto you..."
Not dumped. Definitely not enough to make an island. No. Added. Just enough to get the desired result He wants for me over time. Not more. Not less. Just the right amount. At the right time.
Too much of a good thing can be as bad as too much of a bad thing, I s'pose.
And, of course, I want it all now. Right now.
Another thought flops out onto the beach of my mind...a beach the color of Malt-O-Meal.
Yeah. I guess that would apply as well. Sure.
I wrote a script awhile back where a widow recalls something her late husband used to say.
"My Billy had a sayin -: "God knows just how much manure to add to make the best crops and the prettiest flowers."
Then she raises her cup for a toast.
"Here's to bein' plentiful, growin' beautiful, and, uh, not too much manure."
Or too much Malt-O-Meal.