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Achieving Dreams

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Yesterday as I was taking Nelly to a friends house for a sleepover party, she was singing a song from Disney’s Cinderella:

No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
The dream that you wish will come true.

“Do you belive that?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said firmly.

“But it’s not true.”

“Yes it is.”

“No,” I said. “There are people all over the world whose dreams don’t come true no matter how much they believe.”

“Well,” she said. “It’s true in Disneyland.”

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Father of Waters

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As I was driving Belinda and Nelly to church this Mother’s Day, we crossed the Mississippi River, and Belinda remarked that the water was high. Nelly wanted to know how the river could flood when there was nothing to keep the water from flowing downriver.

“Where does the water come from?” I asked.

“God?” she ventured.

“Yes,” I said, “but I was asking a scientific question, not a religious one.”

“From snow?” she said with a little more assurance.

“Yes,” I said, “and rain. This time of year there’s a lot of rain and not much snow melt.”

“Is the Mississippi the longest river in the United States?”

“I think so.” I turned to Belinda. “Isn’t it the longest?” I asked. Then I thought of the Missouri meandering over the plains states into Montana. “Unless the Missouri…,”

“No,” said Belinda. “I’m sure the Mississippi is the longest. It’s a very important river.”

“Why isn’t it called the Minnesota?” Nelly asked. “It starts in Minnesota.”

“Do you know what ‘Mississippi’ means in the Indian language it comes from?”

“No.”

“It means ‘Father of Waters.’

“Oh,” said Belinda playfully. “Then it should be Misterssippi.”

By the way, the Missouri really is the longest river at 2341 mi, 21 miles longer than the Mississippi. See here for more.

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Oatmeal

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My wife challenged me to write for half an hour about oatmeal. After seeing Nick’s paean to Wheat Thins, I felt I could not refuse. So here goes….

I’ve liked oatmeal since I can remember, always hot with a generous pat of butter and a heaping spoonful of brown sugar. I sometimes have it with a little cream as well, which no doubt undoes all the touted heart-healthy benefits. I’ve had it with cinnamon and sugar, and I’ve had the instant oatmeal with maple-flavored sugar. But what I like best is old-fashioned oatmeal with butter and brown sugar. I prefer old-fashioned to quick oats because I like the chewier texture. My wife, however, prefers quick oats and likes to put them in cold water and bring it to a boil to make them even softer. To me, that’s like preferring the overcooked pasta you get in Chef Boyardee.

I also like oatmeal cookies, especially with raisins. My kids can’t stand raisins. I don’t try to persuade them; I just make oatmeal cookies with raisins and have them all to myself. Okay, I don’t do it very often, but it seems like a good idea when I do.

I’ve often wondered whether oatmeal is anything like the porridge I came across in fairy tales like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Dictionary.com defines porridge as “a food made of oatmeal, or some other meal or cereal, boiled to a thick consistency in water or milk.” Somehow, I always associated porridge with Cream of Wheat rather than oatmeal. Perhaps it is because my mom would take our left over Cream of Wheat and fry it in shortening the next morning and serve it with syrup the next morning. The porridge that was too cold always made me think of that: slabs of cold Cream of Wheat, refrigerated and kept for frying the next day. There never seemed to be left-over oatmeal, which I think tells you all you need to know about the relative merits of oatmeal and Cream of Wheat.

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