Courage at Twilight: An Argument over English Muffins

Sleepiness oppresses me on my hour-long drive after Wednesday night City Council meetings.  I often arrive at home after 10 p.m., in time to sleep and make the return commute the next morning.  My late-night commuter ritual includes a stop at Macy’s grocery store for a bag of bulk milk chocolate almonds or lemon yogurt almonds or Bit o’ Honey candies, which I munch compulsively until they are gone or until my stomach growls at me to quit.  On less disciplined nights, I fall for Franz donuts and chocolate milk.  This bad habit has become entrenched, and needs to be reformed.  So, I bought instead a bag of raw peanuts, having the virtues of being tasty, cheap, healthy, and wakeful.  Healthy and wakeful and cheap they may have been, but tasty they were not.  I reckon I am too accustomed to salted roasted nuts to enjoy them raw.  Mom wants Dad to avoid white flower breads, due to diabetes, and since Dad has been enjoying English Muffins, she instructed me to pick up the whole wheat variety: tasty and healthy.  My stomach gnawing for dislike of raw peanuts, I toasted a whole wheat English muffin, topped with butter and raspberry jam, and crunched off a bite with high anticipation.  But the taste and texture were awful.  The next morning, Dad declared, “Rog, those whole wheat things are not English muffins, they are just bread, and they’re awful.”  I was ready to concede they were awful, but not that they were not English muffins.  “Yes, they are English muffins,” I countered, “but made with whole wheat flour.”  “No, they’re just bread.”  “They are not just bread.  You may not like them, but they are still English muffins.”  “They are not English muffins: they have no wholes in them: they’re just dark round breads they call an English muffin.”  “Well, it doesn’t matter,” I yielded, “because I bought some white flour English muffins I am sure you will like,” and toasted him one.  Though arguing over nomenclature, we agreed they were horrible, and I threw them away.  That night brought 15 inches of new snow, followed by hours behind the snow blower.  CNA Cecilia called to report the roads were impassable, which they were, and apologized for not being able to come, which we understood.  While I pushed snow, Mom helped Dad shower and dry and dress.  I settled Dad to his chosen breakfast of yogurt and a toasted white-flour English muffin with butter and sugar-free jam.  I had not thrown the raw peanuts away because Dad suggested a little hot oil and salt in my iron pan might roast them nicely.  My roasted and only slightly-burned peanuts were in fact tasty, in addition to being cheap and only slightly less healthy.  The roasted peanut aroma permeated the house as I wandered to the basement at one in the morning to flip the heat cable switch so the gutters and downspouts would not fill and freeze.  I followed a whining sound to a glass bowl containing Dad’s hearing aids, and opened them to disconnect the batteries.  I munched a few homemade peanuts.  The snow continued to fall.

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