Tell Me a Story about … Cereal!

Quick quiz: can anybody identify the source of these quotes:

Theyre Gr-r-reat!”®

“Snap! Crackle! Pop!”®

“Let’s get Mikey! He hates everything!”®

If you said “cereal ads” or slogans, you get five points. However, if you can name all three cereals … without looking them up, you win the prize! (Leave a comment on this post with your cereal story, and I’ll send you a box of your favorite! No kidding!)

Ah, I remember when my brothers and I would actually get to go to our dad’s grocery store. It wasn’t really his; he worked as the Cereal 6assistant manager for the A&P chain, but we called it “Dad’s store.” As with most dads who worked (or work) at grocery stores, our dad always brought home what we needed.

But now and then, Mom would bundle us into our station wagon and off we’d go. We’d drag our feet through the aisles of condiments, canned vegetables, and aluminum foil, but when we got to the cereal aisle, magic happened. Our feet began to dance and our eyes to pop! The number of choices blew our minds.

And Mom usually would say, “Each of you can pick one box.” With our senses reeling, we looked from one end of the aisle to the other, then turned around and did it in reverse. Sometimes, we’d choose one, clutch the box to our chests, and carry it through the rest of the store to the check-out counter.

Cereal 4Before we go further, I should mention the prerequisite for choosing. It had a little to do with taste, nothing to do with slogans, and everything to do with the treasure inside the box. We’d been known to skip our favorite to take a box with little taste appeal just because of the trinket hidden in the bottom of the box.

When we opened the box at home, we’d wait until Mom wasn’t looking and squeeze it from, first, the narrow sides, then the larger ones, shaking the flakes or Os so to see down the depths of cereal dunes to catch a peek Cereal 5of the missing treasure. And when we found it, our hands (hopefully clean) reached way down, plucked the surprise out, and reshook the box, trying to make it look like the toy was sitting on top all the time. Of course, the bloated box that never fit quite right in the cupboard told a different story.

Then, breakfast could begin. We’d pour our chosen cereal into our bowls, add milk, and, if unsugared, enough sugar to make up for not having the sugared kind (and then some). And depending on the kind of cereal, our senses set to work next.

You know how moms and dads always tell kids not to play with their food? If so, why did they create Alpha-Bits®? The sense of touch couldn’t wait to pull out the letters to spell our names, placing the milk-covered letters on the table. By the time we got all the letters, the first ones were soggy and hard to pick back up to return to the bowl.

Cereal 2Of course, we all know which cereal wins the prize for the best auditory brand. You guessed it—Rice Krispies®! Okay, ‘fess up—how many of you actually listened to see if you could distinguish a “snap,” “crackle,” or “pop”?

For a treat for the eyes, I’d have to pick any of the many kinds of colorful cereals—ones with blue, red, green, and yellow Os or tiny flakes. We didn’t care about the taste, just the colors.

How about our sniffers? What cereal’s unique scent comes to mind? Okay, let’Cereal 3s face it, the apple spice smell didn’t mean apples were in the box, and the enticing chocolate odors may have added pounds from just a whiff or two, but it wasn’t from any real chocolate in the box. We admit our parents were right about the imitation this or that, but the sense of smell won us over at the time.

And last … taste. On this one, we have to agree to disagree … or agree to agree if you think the best tasting cereal was—

Oh, no, we’re not playing THAT game! You have yours and I have mine and never the two shall meet … at least in my mouth.

One final sense comes to mind before I end … that warm sense of feeling that comes from eating a cereal that brings to mind the love that went into making it. One cereal brings that to me: mush and milk, we called it.

Cereal 7Anyone else grow up having this delicacy made from Brinser’s Best Yellow Corn Meal and water, cooked over low heat for half an hour or more until thick and creamy. Poured hot into a wide bowl (to allow it to cool faster … and have more space for sugar), doused with pats of butter, covered with plenty of sugar (the bowl took care of that), and topped with milk. Nothing says breakfast cereal … and love … to me like mush and milk.Cereal 1

God sure knew what He was doing when He created the plants which give us grains to make the cereals we all enjoy and feed the cows that give us milk to pour over them … no, we won’t talk about those uncouth people who DON’T drink the milk in the bottom of their bowls when the cereal is gone.


So, anyone who wants a free box of their favorite kind, leave your cereal story here in the comments! Even if you don’t want the free box, we’d still enjoy reading your story!


Tell Me a Story about … a Paycheck!

“Would you kids like to stay up until your parents get here? As soon as we hear them pull in, it’s up to bed quick as you can. Okay?”

3-16-20 DWhat kids wouldn’t agree to such a proposal? Stay up late while the babysitter takes the rap if they get caught? But, this first-time babysitter had a problem. Oh, it wasn’t the kids, though they did have behavior problems. The trouble was the creaky old farmhouse they lived in, the one which could have been from the set of some horror movie.

BUT it was my first job. I would earn money of my own. I sat for five hours with four school-aged kids and one dog which was having breathing problems because of eating a chicken bone. I even did their dishes which filled the kitchen sink, the table, and every available counter. My first paycheck: $5.00.

Although I watched those kids several times, I didn’t start earning real money until my 3-16-20 Afirst big-girl job as a hostess at the local Elby’s Family Restaurant. I don’t recall my starting wage, but that job didn’t last. Maybe because of my dislike of coring two huge mounded flats of strawberries every shift … or maybe because of my embarrassment from hanging up on the “big boss.” I’d answered the phone right when I’d gotten a $600.00 overring on my register and forgot to hit “hold” before putting the receiver on the hook.

When I graduated, I moved into full-time jobs, such as working at Murphy’s Mart, where most of my paychecks went to paying for things on layaway for my coming wedding. After that, I had a stint at the Great A & P Tea Company (because my dad worked there, and this was the only thing I could do that he did … another story someday). Again, didn’t last long … my husband yelled at the manager when I called to take off because I was sick.3-16-20 B

Finally, I landed a solid, full-time position as a bookkeeper and the die was set. For the next four years, I worked in accounts receivable, accounts payable, and accounts computerized (a.k.a. the first time a computer was used in the office).

Another job, one which I’d prepared over 50 years for, came with several paychecks of varying amounts, $0.00 being the prevalent one. Yes, I meant zero dollars. Writers are taught not to give up their day job.

But what about having to PAY to get a paycheck? That was a new one to me, but it’s exactly what happened on my first REAL sale of two articles a couple summers ago.

Preparing for a writers’ conference, I’d done my homework, studied the marketing needs of the publishers and editors coming to the conference, and wrote several articles and devotions to pitch to meet those needs. I met with an editor of online inspirational websites. She accepted one article, for which I knew there would be no monetary reward. Knowing ahead of time about the no-pay standard, the thrill came from her acceptance.

DSCF4784When it came to the second article, I met with the woman editor of an online magazine for writers. She enjoyed the humor in the article and offered to buy it for $10.00, the price mentioned on the website as their normal payment for articles of this type. Again, no surprise there. HOWEVER … in order to see said article when it got published, I had to purchase a subscription to the online-only magazine … a subscription costing $25.00.

So, those of you to whom math comes easy will see I paid $15.00 to receive a paycheck for $10.00!3-16-20 C

Fast forward to 2020 and the tides turned! I sold seven devotions to Guideposts for the All God’s Creatures 365-Day Devotional for 2021. I already received the payment for these devotions, an amount allowing me to attend a new writers’ conference. Now, that’s a paycheck I thank God for!

What about you? Tell us about your first paycheck. Where did you work? What did you do there? Was the pay worth the job? Leave your story in the replies’ box.

PS: If you aren’t yet subscribed to get automatic messages when a new story comes out, please consider doing so. If you are, thanks, and accept my apologies for the long hiatus I had from this blog. Too many reasons to spell out, but I’m back and ready to share our stories again and get to know one another! Blessings!