Thursday, August 18, 2016

Creatures of Habit

The other morning when going to prepare a bowl of oatmeal I noticed there was only one “A.C. Elliot Bowl” in the pantry instead of two.  There had been six to start with; but as the years have gone by their numbers have dwindled. 

You might ask, “How is it the bowls have a proper name?”, a reasonable question…

When I was a police officer working in downtown Houston my partner and I would occasionally have lunch at a small Chinese restaurant near the Eastex Freeway elevated.  I asked the owner where I could purchase bowls similar to the kind they had and was told to go down the street to a place called A.C. Elliot. 

There was no place called A.C. Elliot, nothing close as I asked her to step outside and point to the store.  She shook her head in such a way as to say, “Stupid cop can’t see the nose on his face”, as she pointed two blocks down to a wholesale house with a big sign out front, Asiatic Imports.  How could I have been so dense…

I’ve grown accustomed to placing two packets of instant oatmeal in my A.C. Elliot Bowl each morning followed by just the right amount of boiling water and a lump of butter. 

What has this got to do with the price of eggs?  (Pardon the colloquial expression)

My mother died this past Monday and there are so many thoughts and emotions running through my head as to make it spin.  When I noticed an A.C. Elliot Bowl was missing an odd thought came to mind; that of a desperately sick young woman looking out her window to see if there were any leaves left on the vine.  She had imagined that her life would end the day The Last Leaf fell off. 

A winter storm was blowing hard and most of the leaves on the vine blew off as evening drew near.  There wasn’t much hope any of them would last until morning as the young woman went off to bed, the look of death creeping onto her cheeks.

Much to everyone's surprise, upon opening the curtain one lone leaf had somehow managed to survive the storm as it bravely held onto the wall; but upon closer inspection the vine was no longer attached to the leaf.

A clumsy old alcoholic was found dead in the alley the next morning half buried in a pile of fresh snow.  He’d spent the night on a ladder in the cold and damp as he painted his masterpiece on the wall directly across from the young woman’s window, a perfect replication of the last leaf on the vine.  He’d created the miracle of hope for another individual with his last efforts.

Isn’t that an odd thought to come up with while making a bowl of oatmeal?

I’ll figure out how to manage the mix of thoughts and emotions that have landed upon my consciousness; it might take some time.  While driving to a job I won’t be able to call her on the phone as we pass the miles talking about the weather, the Astros, cats or what ever; that’s something I’ve come to enjoy these many years. 

We are creatures of habit.  Right now there’s an emptiness where something familiar is missing.  I’m so glad there’s at least one A.C. Elliot Bowl left in the cabinet.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

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