After growing up moving what seemed like 10 tons of cans of wheat and rice and beans and honey and TVP from house to house to house to house... through the years, and remembering the metal on the bottoms of those early metal square cans digging into my fingers almost to bleeding, I thought it would be fun to post an email from Mormor a couple years ago. I remember the years of wheat bread, hot after school with butter and honey we had to melt on the stove before microwaves because it was all crystalized from the metal containers. Sometimes we would strain the honey because a batch or two still had bees in them. I remember trying to make sandwiches with the wheat bread but having to cut thick pieces so it wouldn't fall apart and then chewing for half of lunch to finish half the sandwich. I remember dad loving cracked wheat cereal that was like swallowing gravel and having to force myself to keep swallowing and not gagging as I was forcing it to stay down and go down my throat. Lumpy Cream of Wheat was almost as much a treat as the birthday box of cold sugar cereal we could choose once a year and as Mormor said, when the box is gone, it is gone. 9 kids and one box of cereal went pretty quickly. Mormor just said it didn't fill us, and she was right. When we would later save and buy our own cold cereal, we would still be "starved" after completing a whole box on our own, which was pretty hard to hide and do because the guilt of not sharing with sibbling watching was too much to not share at least a little.
I remember Dad loving to make homemade granola with grains and nuts and what seemed like every unsalted, unroasted, raw stick and weed mixed and lightly, very lightly mixed with some honey, then baked and then split up. Yes, I groaned and said, why can't we just buy real granola cereal or even Grapenuts cereal? I was old enough to add up the cost of the ingredients and it seemed they were about the same price. At least the youngest ones didn't catch on to how the oldest two or three of us knew to quietly serve ourselves the parts with the cashews and nuts we liked first. We tried making homemade Grapenuts, basically really hard whole wheats flat bread that we would hammer up with a hammer or try to grind in the blender until Mormor would catch us and say we were going to break the Osterizer. (the blender was always called an Osterizer no matter what brand it was, kind of like all scrub cleaning powder was called Ajax, and like all margarine was called Oleo) Well, I remember from elementary school that wheat had been found in some piramid and was still able to be grown so it lasts forever. That makes it no surprise that the wheat we kept moving around as part of 2 years worth of storage for up to 11 people sprouted and grows in Mormor and Papa's yard today. The following email is true and about a month after it was sent, went to visit and the "visitors" were still there.
2/4/08 Welcome to Birdland! Dad went through the 17 old cans of wheat (33 pound tin ones) which we have been storing for over 40 years and only lost 2 cans of wheat, 1 can of rice, 1 can of cornmeal and 1 can of beans...He dumped the contents of the bad cans on our front and back lawn...This was about 2 weeks ago...Each day more and more birds started coming into our yard...There were about 15 birds the first day....I went outside just a little bit ago to see how the bird population was coming along....for the past 3 days we have been hearing constant bird chatter from inside our house going on in the front and back yards...and a lot of bird poop on the porches....Get this - it is raining a lot today but it doesn't seem to bother the birds any...I just went outside in the front yard...perched on our roof were 49 birds....in the next door neighbor's tree covered with probably 75 more birds chirping away...across the street on two roofs I counted between 40 and 50 birds....on our front lawn there were 35 birds that didn't fly away when I came out... they were too busy eating...Next I went to the kitchen door...about 15 birds were perched on the back of the outside chairs sleeping and about 45 birds on the ground eating....and more birds perched on the fences...I feel like our home is in the middle of a bird pavilion like they have at the zoo. I keep thinking about that old movie that was called "The Birds"....Thank goodness the birds in our yards are kind. They like to peck the roof...sounds like someone is knocking at the door all the time. When a car drives by our house most of the birds fly in the air in a flock and the flock swerves into trees...I have seen flocks of birds swoop in the sky before...but never saw them come back to their departure spot.
Oh well, thought you all might like to know that life is never dull...even after you children left the nest...One good thing about all of you being out in your own homes is that there is always room in the garage for Dad now to park our car so the birds cannot decorate it.....I think the loud chirping is their way of signaling all their aunts, cousins and uncles and grandparents...I came back inside and started typing this email and just now looked out the den window...I see more birds than I can see the grass underneath them...There must be 150 or more on the front lawn and front sidewalk. The beaugenvilla bush outside my den window has no flowers but it is full of birds too...every branch has 2 or 3 birds sitting on them....Thank goodness they all go to sleep at night...our quiet time.
Maybe we shouldn't put out that much bird food again....Bye for now, XO,XO, XO from Mormor, Alias Mom