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Daze of My Life: Serial Mixer

Daze of My Life
Serial Mixer

Nothing satisfies me more for breakfast than a big - make that oversized - bowl of cereal, cold cereal, not hot cereal. And even though I've matured in my cereal choices and am no longer crunching through Trix, Fruit Loops, Sugar Pops (now known as Corn Pops) and Frosted Flakes, to name just a few of my former sweet indulgences, I am still bowled over by my enthusiasm to snap, crackle and pop my way through a fairly uninspiring combination of milk and some kind of flakes, raisins, nuts, and miscellaneous other real or imagined (natural or otherwise) tastes.
Having written this first paragraph, the thought has now occurred to me explaining this adult-age fascination with cold cereal and even colder milk (chocolate milk if I had my druthers): combinations. I can still remember the time and place, The Huntley Lodge (named after the famous news anchor, Chet Huntley) in Big Sky Montana where the combining-cereal light went on and cold cereal became so much more to me than it had previously been.
It happened about ten years ago when Dina and I took our first ski vacation to Montana. We stayed slope-side at the Huntley Lodge, where, among other amenities, an all you can eat-type hotel breakfast buffet was included in the package. And aside from the usual assortment of eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, bagels, breads, muffins, pastries, desserts, juices, coffee, tea, milk, was of course, hot and cold cereal. The cold cereal was out of their boxes and piled high in metal tins lined up side by side. There were multiple varieties. Because of this presentation, it was fairly simple to scoop out your portion and move through the line. As I stood in line and waited my turn, I noticed a man in front of me filling his cereal bowl with not one but two different types of cereal. It was at that exact moment when eating-cereal-a-whole-new-way light came on. I wouldn't say I had an epiphany (hey, we're only talking cereal here, let's be realistic) but I did have a moment.
No more would I have to start and finish my cereal the way I had started and finished it for the past 30 years. Why pour only one variety in the bowl? Why eat a boring and mundane breakfast when it could be interesting and be my own creation as well? And so from that ski-vacation week forward, rather than eating cereal as an adult as I had as a child; one bowl, one variety, I evolved. I still have the one bowl, but is likely now filled with two different cereals, maybe even three if the cereal inventory allows. The possibilities have become endless. I now have cereal choices/combinations beyond my wildest cereal-eating dreams. No more is my morning cereal, either or, or a repeat of yesterday's singular non-sensation. Humdrum has now turned into dim sum, cereal-wise.
Today, this morning (although sometimes it can be lunch or even dinner), the cereal choice is mine. What combination, what creation shall I concoct? Cereal is not just for children, anymore. Thank you, Huntley Lodge.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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