Friday, November 16, 2012

I will miss you Wonder Bread

When Jesus told Satan that " does not live by bread alone..." I'm sure he was talking about the bread at our house when I was a kid.

We bought our loaves of bread at an overstock goods store about 10 miles from where we lived.  The brand name was "Freshie" which was funny because you had pretty much one day to get it eaten or it was anything but fresh.

My mom would send me to school with these awful sandwiches and when the loaf was almost gone and shopping day was still several days away, the sandwich was reduced to one piece of bread folded over.  Freshie brand bread did all it could to resist bending.  Like palm trees when they bow into the wind and become stronger and more resistant, the last five slices in the loaf were more than determined to defy any attempt to stretch the loaf for the sake of rationing.  They would simply split at the seam where the fold should have been.  That was "Freshie" bread.

Growing up in a rural area, my family lived ten miles from the nearest large chain grocery store.  The rule generally was that if anyone had stopped off near civilization they would call home and ask if anything was needed.  My brother did just that one day after my mom realized we had already tortured the last few slices of the Freshie loaf.

My brother came home and set the loaf in the kitchen and handed my mom the receipt.  My mom took the receipt and her voice filled the room.


My brother responded that he bought Wonder Bread.  My mom was furious.  I'll avoid tear jerking illustrations of childhood poverty to just say that my mom felt that the 39 cents that a loaf of Freshie demanded was already too much.

My brother left and was mad for doing his best while being cut down for buying Wonder Bread.  I was mad too.  I was hungry and wanted a sandwich but my brother messed up and bought the wrong bread.  My mom was still mumbling on about how mad she was at the wasted money when I asked her what I should do.

"We can't take it back, you'll just have to use it."  she replied.

Thanks to my dumb brother I would have to cobble together a sandwich using some bread my mom obviously didn't want in the house.  I went into the kitchen and looked at the white plastic bag with the colorful dots all over it.  With contempt I took the clip off and reached in and grabbed a couple of slices.  I noted that the slices were a little heavier than I was used to.

After I made the sandwich, I was still mad that I was having to settle for Wonder Bread and wondered why my brother got a wild hair to buy some crazy bread that was bringing such unhappiness into our home.  

I took a bite.  It tasted HEAVEN.  Oh my dear Lord, I never knew that bread could be...what's the word I'm looking for?  Edible!  Moist!  BENDABLE!

My brother went from being the dumbest most undependable person on the planet to a genius before I was halfway through my lunch.  I savored every moist bite.  I only needed to fix one glass of Tang instead of two to help me choke down the sandwich. 

I never minded growing up poor that much, but Freshie bread became all the catalyst I ever needed to seek a more comfortable life.  A life filled with bread so great that it was called a Wonder.

Even though a slice of Wonder Bread hasn't passed my lips in ages, I will miss it.  Wonder Bread represented for me the hope of all I ever wanted in life:  To be middle class.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day - I think we've got this one wrong

I'm pretty annoyed by Veteran's Day.

"No way!  You're not gonna dump on Veteran's Day are you?  Why do you hate America?"

Why yes, I am going to dump on Veteran's Day.

There is barely a distinction between Veteran's Day and Memorial Day anymore.  Yesterday I saw posts from people honoring those who served and died to make us free, others thanked a vet...even more were just the usual if we didn't have these brave people protecting our freedoms we would be speaking (insert language of country we have fought).  Personally, I'll be damned if any Red Coat could make me speak English.  Part of me wants us to lose a war to Iran so they can go about the business of teaching our kids Farsi in public schools.  Good luck with that.

November 11th was once a holiday to help us remember how absolutely worthless World War I was.  You know, that war that sent 2 million of your untrained great grandfathers to Europe to fight in a war that was almost already over?  For a great many years it worked too!  Once upon a time the United States had to be dragged, kicking and screaming into wars...and once we were in them we did things like invent Atomic weapons to get out of them as quickly as possible.

Now I'm not dumping on vets.  Don't get me wrong.  My heart sinks reading the stories of the increased numbers of suicides, PTSD, and other problems that those who are serving are now facing.  They need our support now, as much as ever. Our vets need to be honored for certain, but not at the expense of one opportunity a year to reflect on the horrible cost of war.

Like World War I, war is often unnecessary and the official reasons for entering them are almost always surrounded in lies. I think we still need days in the calendar year to remind ourselves of this.

[also, please save yourself from arguing that I'm against veterans or am unappreciative or's a waste of time for you and me.  I've personally thanked the vets in my family and they have my undying appreciation.]