I've been thinking for several months about writing a blog that might be published in The Times. Today, I decided that I might try it.
You see, today is Election Day, a day of decisions. How do we decide? Which one do we prefer? Why isn't it as simple as it used to be? Would one end up costing us more money?
I'm not talking politics. I'm talking bread. Edible bread. Remember when the choice was two? Wonder or Colonial. And that's not the only thing I had to worry about on this day of choices. Eggs: large or jumbo, white or brown, a dozen or eighteen? Decisions, decisions.
I remember going to Hunt's Grocery store on West National Avenue. Frank and Eva. It was years before it realized it wasn't Eva Hunt, but Eva James. That's what I get for assuming. Anyway, back to me reason for writing. Lunch meat, bologna or spiced ham. Crackers, saltine or Ritz. Cheese; Colby or regular (whatever that was). My mom had asked me to go to the store and get napkins. I was about six or seven. (We could do that back in the 50s. it was safer then.) "Make sure you get the sanitary ones", mom said. "OK," I replied, not knowing what she was getting me into. Frank, a rather robust fella with the white stained apron around his neck and stomach, asked me before I even finished stuttering my request, "you want sanitary?" Yup. I said proudly. I don't remember exactly, but I hoped he put them in a paper sack. Back then they never asked if you preferred paper over plastic.
Another choice which was limited was breakfast cereal. Wheaties or Corn Flakes? Nowadays, you go to a large store and there are two complete isles of cereal. My wife, Susan adds that her choice of breakfast was oatmeal or a fried egg. One or the other, every day. I had no choice. I ate whatever my five brothers and two sisters chose for me. My mom sometimes had to measure things out. "His glass is bigger than mine. He got more!" But he didn't, and then she'd have to pour all of them into one glass, then into the one we were using, one at a time to show us she was treating us equal. Good 'ole mom. Pancakes or mush. Hardly anyone anymore even knows what mush I'm talking about. Not fried mush, boiled I guess, like oatmeal. I liked butter and salt and pepper on mine. Still do. Often times we had breakfast for supper; pancakes, sausage gravy and biscuits, bacon and eggs.
The glasses we drank form were usually jelly or cheese jars. Once in a while one of those big glasses with Hawaiian designs on them, but those were usually reserved for company to drink iced tea from. Cheese spreads and jelly came in decorative styles suitable for drinking from. Suitable for us, anyway. Laundry soap; Cheer or Tide? Whichever one had the nicest prize in them; towels or dishes. Gas stations gave things away, too. TV stamps, Green stamps and towels and dishes, too. Soft drinks? Coke, Pepsi or 7-up. Once in a while a root beer or Orange Crush.
Ahh, JET Near Beer, my downfall. Now that I am older (and wiser?) I know that no beer is totally alcohol-free. Frank Hunt obviously didn't know either. All of us neighbor kids flocked to Hunt's to get near beer. Man, was it ever good. So refreshing. Snow wonder, (hic) ... no wonder I mean.
Another limited choice was politics: Democrat or Republican. I remember walking to Meridian School with Jimmy Grey. He had licorice one election day. He offered me a piece then retracted his hand. "Are you a Democrat or republican," he asked. What a question! The only thing I knew for sure was I wanted that licorice! "I'm a citizen." Good enough answer, I guess. I got my licorice.
I think I'll go vote.