CEREAL

I was partaking in a bit of nostalgia last night around midnight, you guessed it a bowl of cereal. I’m sitting in the dark of my dining room spoon in hand, the ice-cold milk splashing over my golden flakes and nut clusters – I pause a moment before plunging my spoon in for that first cold, crunchy, sweet and perfect bite.

I remember being a kid at the breakfast table a box of Frosted Flakes bigger than me just out of reach, my small plastic bowl awaiting that avalanche of sweetness. Next to it the gallon jug of whole milk stands with the screw cap – old school. I reach the box with the tip of my fingers rocking it back and forth till I can get a good grip. I finally get it tipped over and the flakes pour into my bowl some escaping onto the table – of course I scoop them into my mouth directly a crunchy appetizer. Ahh now the challenge, tipping that big jug just enough for the milk to pour into my bowl, but not too much oh no not too much. I carefully balance it, tipping, tipping careful now ahhh the liquid splashes in and off the first flakes onto the table, I continue on filling my bowl to the top of the flakes now swimming so deliciously. I glance around, no witnesses, and rapidly wipe the spill up with my napkin.

It’s early Saturday morning, just past two as I quietly close the kitchen door behind me, hoping my parents are sleeping and unaware my post curfew late arrival. Bed or snack I ask myself standing in front of the fridge drinking directly from the milk carton – CEREAL! Of course, the perfect solution, quietly I extract the box from the pantry grabbing a spoon and bowl from the cupboard. Cheerios – I pour a big bowl a few escape rolling onto the floor – shit I think as I bend to chase them under the chair. Two spoons of sugar and I pour the milk over them sloshing but managing to keep it all in the bowl – I have evolved. My spoon rhythmically cycles in and out the crunch of toasted oats loud in my ears. I chase the few remaining “Os” around the bowl finally picking it up and sucking them down with the last sips of the sugary milk. I rinse the bowl and spoon off – I was never here!

What’s that I hear, noises from the kitchen hmm pistol or baseball bat you can’t be too careful these days. I think better of it leaving both behind as I get out of bed. It’s a bit past two in the morning, the soft glow of the overhead stove light illuminates my twins sitting at the kitchen table talking softly Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Crispix boxes stand like opposing skyscrapers. I grab a bowl and spoon – no words needed as I pour the milk into my bowl – splashing a bit out – damn! We munch in silence; the boys go for a “pour over” their bowls still half full of milk. I rinse my bowl and spoon quietly replacing them, gnight boys luv ya – I head back to my bedroom with a smile.

I’m about to dig in as my wife sits down with her bowl and spoon, it’s just the two of us now, the kids probably sitting in their own kitchens ready to indulge in a bowl themselves. I smile as I hand her the milk and we silently munch away – ahh midnight cereal, so good.

About the Author

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Born in Manhattan in 1965 Joseph Castagno is the son of a second generation Italian American father. His mother’s family were mixed heritage people: Indigenous Haudenosaunee, French, some of the earliest Dutch settlers of the Hudson Valley. Growing up with such a multicultural heritage provided him with a view of both the immigrant experience, a perspective on the founding principles and ideals of the United States as well as the original teachings and ways of Northeastern Indigenous people. Having lived all over the United States Joseph has a broad perspective on US society and the variety of social values and customs that make up this great country. He currently resides in Florida with his wife Tammy, having raised four children they are now enjoying their grandchildren. Joseph has always had a passion for reading and writing and has published a number of articles in local papers and magazines. After a long career in healthcare he published his first novel “Jake” in 2016 drawing on his experiences and observations living in the Southeast and Florida. His current novel “Traffic” has just been published and he is currently working on his next novel and spoiling his granddaughters!

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Memories

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