i just sent my morning email to Master. It included this line: “Today is my father’s birthday. i’m eating Farina. i’m waxing nostalgic for stuff i didn’t even like.”
Let’s back up to yesterday when my mother gave me a box of Farina. Haven’t seen it in years. i am quite certain it’s still on the store shelves, but i long-ago dismissed cream-of-wheat and the other brands of Farina… bo-ring!
So…. my mother gives me this little box and gives one to the spawn for her budding pantry… and when i got home, i absentmindedly put the box on the edge of the open shelf in the kitchen to remind myself to try it.
The spawn isn’t a swearing woman – which surprises me on a regular basis – because i am. This morning, i turn from getting coffee and she’s pronouncing… “THAT is hell-a-scary, right there.”
i turned to the fearsome sight… not so scary to me:
But she assured me… he was “hell-a-scary” looking kid. On closer examination… i got it… he does sort-of smack of the Hitler Youth and he seems entirely too happy with that hot cereal.
Plus, the spoon is HUGE. i took her to work and then – remembering that Farina is a great source of iron for vegetarians – deciding to make a bowl when i got home. With that plan in mind, i recalled the Farina of my youth… mmmm…. warm… creamy… stick-to-your ribs sort of food. Sweet, as i recalled, and then a memory of someone stirring cocoa powder into cream of wheat for me once. Oh… yum… i was going to have a heapin’ helpin’ of a good childhood memory. (This was nice today because today is my father’s birthday and… well… i have a few “sad feels” about that).
Ah, but memories are tricky things… some things can roll around in your mind and on your tongue… delicious in their memory.
When i was a child…
i remember when...
But when i pulled this off the shelf? When i prepared it? Um…well, it tasted pretty much like it looks:
It tasted like beige.
Still, it’s healthy and i’m going to finish this damn stuff. Now i’m halfway through the bowl and i’ve hit the lumps.
How did i forget about farina lumps? Very few bowls ever made it to the table without these offensive bits. And so i sit with my bowl of farina and the sad realization that some of those awesome bits of memories (the good old days?) are pretty much bullshit. The farina of my childhood was good because i was hungry and it was sweet and yummy because they would find stuff to stir into it to cover the fact that it IS and TASTES and SMELLS beige.
The memory is a deceptive thing. i’ve chosen to pull just a sliver of it out and polished it up and held it.
Here’s the consolation for me… if that’s true, then some of the scariest monsters in my memories are likely caricatures as well. Perhaps not as one-dimensional as they have become in the scrapbook i call a brain. Regardless… they are memories… which means their power is really only in their legend and their legend lives only because i retell it.
What to do with this? i do not know… but the farina is cold now and the only thing less palatable than a warm bowl of farina is a cold one.
Pink’s “Good Old Days”