What I miss most on my island is breakfast.
I should probably qualify that statement, since the house has plenty of breakfast items in store – there are eggs and breads. I have cornbread and pancake mix. There are Cheerios and oatmeal. No bacon, but then I seldom eat it. I even have orange juice, an item I would never stock if it were not for the lock down.
What I miss is the breakfast out. I miss steaming cups of coffee with never-ending refills. I miss fluffy omelets and even fluffier pancakes. And waffles. I don’t even like waffles, but I miss them.
It may surprise those not in the medical profession, but breakfast is the best meal of the day. Not for any nutritional value that it provides (although I remember how one massive blueberry pancake from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital cafeteria could power a whole day of surgery). Breakfast is the best because it is forbidden or if not forbidden at least prohibitively rare. The luxury of sitting behind a plate brimming with butter and maple syrup was so unusual that it became obsessional. It signified leisure and rest and distance, if only for a few moments, from the frantic race which occupied our lives.
I have a framed sketch from the New Yorker by Maria Kalman called The Optimism of Breakfast. It depicts a thick and sugary pastry sitting demurely on a plate, cutlery at the ready with a hearty mug of coffee standing guard. The legend reads, “In the Optimism of the Morning, it is Wise to Get Going. To be Confident, Expansive, Exuberant. If you find yourself at the Cup and Saucer Coffee Shop – or any coffee shop – with a Jelly Doughnut and a cup of coffee, staring out the window at the parade of passersby, you could do worse. A whole lot worse.”
When the madness ends and the doors are flung open, when the shops ring with happy sales and the restaurants rock with the laughter of hospitality, when the world reopens to joyful song, on that first morning you will find me there with the biggest plate of pancakes that anyone could imagine.
I hope you will join me.
[This Post was adapted from a essay originally published on Facebook the day listed above]