ALL ABOARD: The not-so-nice thrice price of rice?

Before we get started, although it certainly seems as if we have, let me thank you who have had the bold courtesy to say that you were glad I am back writing weekly non-necessities for the non-masses.

This is much appreciated at a time when my mind has been not only on gas and oil prices, but more emotionally for me, the present price of rice.

Growing up within the Confederacy, thickly rooted in grits, collard greens and fried chicken, I certainly never thought we would have to be concerned about the price of rice.

Whether living in the Midwest or the South, we ate rice almost daily.

With Southern parents, rice and gravy was as common at dinner time as bourbon and Coke.

With most every evening meal, our family enjoyed the lightness and flavor freeness of rice and gravy.

At least it was warm.

Our morning choices of Rice Chex, Rice Krispies or Quaker Puffed Rice were always cold, unless the milk was warm, which was usually true when we lived in Memphis.

As an adolescent exploring the niceness of Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice, I was often confused.

Like the North, in the South, breakfast was called breakfast.

Unlike the North, lunch was called dinner, while dinner became supper.

Except, of course, on Sunday, when supper was actually lunch.

But seriously folks, rice aside, how can anyone start a day, breaking their pleasant nocturnal fast, with that glob called grits?

Is it not tough enough just waking up, having slept on a pallet on Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Johnny’s living room floor, still wondering why all these funny talking people were calling us “sugar baby”?

Eat grits upon rising?

As a kid, grits looked to me like wet cat litter or abandoned dry wall.

Butter to flavor?

How can butter be a flavor when it’s just yellow and slippery?

Oh yes, the issues of childhood.

The anticipation of a yet-to-be-discovered life of freedom from parental bondage and lousy allowances.

You know Dad, in retrospect, that weekly allowance of yours was not so bad.

Two bucks to mow our front and back yards got me a new Hardy Boy book every Saturday ($1.03 with tax), 10 to 15 cartoons with a double feature at the Boulevard Theatre for 25 cents, more popcorn than I could eat for a dime, a nickel Coke and five 10-cent White Castle hamburgers after a day at the movies.

Why am I whining about the price of rice?

I never had to pay for it the first fourth of my life.

Then in the second fourth of my life, all we did when we had rice was throw it at newlyweds.

Where is all that wedding rice now that we really need it?

During the last half of my life, I intend to conserve on my rice usage, possibly starting a local rice conservation support group.

Maybe after meetings we could pass around a hot potato?

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