Monday, February 7, 2011

Forgive my fixation...

...on oats at present. I know I am obsessing over this meal.

There now, that was my first step: admittance.

Writing about a specific food several times in a row hearkens up the same suspicions as mentioning a specific name, I suppose -- the same suspicions arise as if I were to, hypothetically of course, write about someone of the opposite sex, and unabashed interest could be read through my inflected words and punctuated spacing. These tells, provoke questioning teases of, "is there something you should tell me?"

After my last post about oats, a friend emailed one of her many observations regarding my current fixations: "you're really enjoying having oatmeal back, aren't you?" Why yes, yes I am. I am in love...

...with oatmeal.

I have missed oats. In the past there has been some scuttle over whether or not they are gluten free. In their solitary and pure form, they are. However contamination has always been the issue. Wheat and oats make good field-fellows, apparently. But oats, single and unattached, are now being grown and processed free from. I am all for the ending of that relationship, by the way.

Having been brought up with horses, I've always liked oats. I'd scoop up handfuls of them raw out of feed bins and munch along with my stable-mates (who knows what else I got in those handfuls). You'd have thought my mother didn't feed me or something. On snowy mornings, feeding beasts before belly, just a few oats satiated -- rolled into a whole grain chew.

Strangely, being around horses wasn't enough for me; or, for my sister. We wanted to be one of them. Sticking our noses up at spoons and tables (appraised as unnecessary adulthood accouterments), we'd get on all-fours floorside, muzzles buried deep into our own bowls of meal. I remember actually neighing at my mom...pawing anticipation onto the parquet...pleading that breakfast be if bare hooves could charm the cookstove.

And I remember the sound of my sister's whinny as she pawed her own plea, throwing her pony-tailed head about wildly -- her equinous behavior learned from a plucky pony; mine, more thoroughly bred. Dixie Rose and Katie...

As different as my sister and I, and equally matched. The four of us? We were quite the gang of girls roaming the hills of Mills County. Especially in autumn, when fallow fields begged us come hither, winking in their suggestively open state, we would pack saddlebag lunches (mostly apples and carrots, to be shared all around) and would disappear, called off to adventuring. Sidling Farmer Hopp's fields, riding ridges of terraces, racing down the Wabash Trace, and scraping up enough spare change to grab a Coke and Three Musketeer's bar as we marauded Main Street Malvern back towards home.

My mom let us grow, wild in the surrounding corn and soybean fields --- and yet, she cultivated --- furrowing principles beneath a topsoil of trust...believing they would direct us home again...and again. We ran and rode freely, adventuring our afternoons away. She planted our heads High, and watered thoughts that most would have weeded out. She encouraged us to dream and imagine and see the world through an animal's eyes. Any other mother would probably have worried about the mental state of her children...would have become suspicious that psyches needed a shrink, when we put bits in our mouths and neighed back answers to her questions.

"Will you please go change laundry loads?" ----- "neigh...!"

And she understood...

...she understands, and I am sure sometimes my answers still sound like unintelligible "neighs."

There now, as I said, I have taken the first step: I have admitted. And yet, I have serious doubts about any power being able to restore me to sanity.

I think I'll just keep eating my oats...

~ Oats, blueberries & maple syrup ~

And just for old time's sake, I'll keep licking my bowl clean too...


  1. I too am thrilled to have our oats back :-) I think I am having a big thick bowl almost every morning and pretend in childlike fun that I am at
    the Three Bears house and am dinning at their table.

  2. You girls, all four of you, did indeed make quite the foursome . I remember sending you off on those riding adventures covering you with prayers. I anxiously glanced out the windows from time to time hoping to catch glimpses of my two wild cowgirls. I usually new when you were close as Casper always ferreted you out and started braying.

  3. Yes! Casper the Friendly Mule did indeed fret about his girls being away. He so loved his harem. I too remember hearing his bray as soon as we'd round the John Deere corner. And he would anxiously pace the pasture's length...remember that strange head-pace thing he would do?

  4. "Especially in autumn, when fallow fields begged us come hither, winking in their suggestively open state..."

    Damn...this line hits me like an old friend punching me affectionately in the chest. Thump. I absolutely love it!

  5. This is such great writing! You always manage to stir up some of my best memories. I was a city girl absolutely NUTS about horses and had to satisfy my passion with Sunday rides around the city park on hired nags. The park was close to the race track so we would occasionally drastically shorten our stirrups and fly! (The park had an excellent track that the trainers would often use.)The the thing that worried our mothers most was the ride through the city streets from the stables to the park.(No Mum, of course we NEVER gallop.) And then, back at school enduring ridicule from our grade school peers when we cantered (and whinnied) all through recess.(We had a great playground that was parklike.)That was great....thanks for bringing it all back!

  6. Told ya Mum would like this....!

  7. "we would occasionally drastically shorten our stirrups and fly"...! Oh my, how we too rode, turning proper riding arenas into race tracks! I was always impressed how Katie's thoroughbred nature would took over, and as soon as stirrups were shortened and I Jockeyed-Up, her hindquarters kicked in and there was no stopping her. It's the most powerful feeling in the world! And I always won the races! I also always lost the "proper classes"!

    "cantered (and whinnied) all through recess"! Yes, yes, yes! I still do it on occasion...cantering is the ONLY way to take down a mountainside!

  8. Mmmmmmm. Oatmeal + blueberries = happy happy.