For several years, my Daddy and I had summers off together. He was living the dream of his last career as a paraprofessional at Perry Middle School, and I was working in various positions in the Christian School ministry field. Every morning, he would get up early with Mama. They would have coffee, read the paper, and she would fix a bowl of grits or oatmeal for their breakfast. Then she would go to work.
By the time I got up, Daddy would have brewed a second pot of coffee and would have started working his way through it. Some days I would get up and he would be in the bathroom getting ready for the day. Some days he would be sitting on the porch with his coffee. And some days, he would have gone to town.
Wherever I might have found him on those balmy summer mornings, our ritual was always the same. Because, you see, these were the seasons of The Second Breakfast.
Second Breakfast was a time honored thing that we did after Mama went to work every morning. I would fry up some bacon, sausage, or ham- whatever Daddy was in the mood for- along with eggs and toast or biscuits.
The mornings he went to town early usually meant he would be bringing a plate back from Harvey’s grocery store. They used to have the best hot breakfast plates in town! But, if he got there too late and the biscuits and grits were hard, he’d stop by a fast food place and pick up a good biscuit sandwich.
We’d sit down at the table and enjoy easing into whatever the days were going to bring. When Mike (the Siamese cat) came along, he would sit up on the table and wait patiently for a nibble or two- something that was forbidden when Mama was home.
Now, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the first breakfast Mama fixed every morning. It was perfectly fine and enough to nourish the body to get the day going. But Second Breakfast was all about nourishing the soul for the day. First breakfast was (and still is for me on most work days) a thing that you rush through in the morning without a lot of thought. But Second Breakfast is savored. And not just the food, you see, but there is a savoring of the time taken to prepare the food and in the act of serving it.
Second Breakfast reminds me to take joy in the simple moments of the day, to slow down my thoughts and not be in such a hurry to get to the chores and responsibilities that await, but to savor the slow rhythm of enjoying the company of people you get to love over the course of your life.
Most of my Second Breakfasts are solitary these days, and that rhythm is now about the memories of people who were so integral to my life. My Daddy left us eleven years ago, and Mike has been gone about eleven weeks. You know, I don’t think I’ll ever have another Second Breakfast without thanking God for all those summer mornings with my two best fellas.