I’m warning you beforehand, what I’m about to say is going to seem utterly ridiculous.
My mother once told me that I could conquer the world if I ate a decent breakfast. The whole world. All because of breakfast.
See? I tried to warn you.
Anyway, to this very day I’m still not sure how this meal can make conquering the world possible, but my mother never lies.
I remember the day she told me, I was having a devastating morning. I was about to take an entrance exam into the sixth grade. And this was a big deal because earlier that year, I’d failed fifth-grade—which drained my confidence.
But back to breakfast.
Mama made the greasiest meal. Three eggs, cooked in fat from a Maxwell House can, bacon, potatoes, grits, and toast hearty enough to sand the hull of a battleship.
I passed my test. I made it to the next grade. And eventually, my confidence began to improve. Thusly—and I’ve always wanted to use that word—I can only assume that breakfast played an important role.
Since then, I’ve always believed in the first daily meal. I ate a good breakfast the day I got married. A big one. That day, the waitress kept bringing me plates of pancakes.
“You must be starving, honey,” she said.
I smiled. “Thusly,” said I.
But I was only nervous-eating. Truth told, they weren’t even good pancakes—the blueberries tasted like freeze-dried goat pellets.
I also ate a big breakfast the day I got fired. My boss called me into his office and chewed me a new nose-hole. He said things so hateful I can still remember them. I quietly walked out of his office before he finished speaking.
I went to eat breakfast. I read the paper, I watched the sunrise. I had one of the best mornings I’ve had in years.
So I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I suppose it’s because I come from country people, and these people are full of ideas.
Our ancestors believed in smearing thick butter on toast, and in farm eggs. And they believed in the sacredness of early hours.
To them, it was the moment before the day had been written. And nobody knows what kind of day it will be.
Today could be boring. OR, it could be the sort that lives in your memory forever. It could be the day on which your whole life hinges. It could fall either way.
You might meet a new friend. A lover. A kid. A feral dog. An angel. See, while I write this, the sun is about to rise, and this seemingly normal morning might actually be a spectacular day in disguise.
And if you ask me, you owe it to yourself to be ready. Because once this best-day-ever happens to you, you’re going to look backward and realize that everything had meaning. Everything.
Your good moments were like swatches of fabric. Your painful moments were little pin pricks from a sewing needle, stitching you together like a quilt. And on your final day, you’ll see this quilt and think to yourself: “My God, wasn’t I beautiful?”
Thusly, you were. Very, very thusly.
Then, it will all come back to you. You’ll remember that blind kid in the Piggly Wiggly you held the door open for. The college student you hugged—you had no idea he was suicidal.
The man at the stoplight, holding a cardboard sign. The little girl at church you gave your outdated cellphone to, who had never owned anything so nice in her life.
The red headed kid who failed fifth grade, but was fortunate enough to have a mother who said he could conquer the world if he wanted. All he had to do was eat his eggs and toast.
Anyway, I forgot what I was talking about.
Oh yeah. Don’t skip breakfast today.
Amy - April 29, 2019 9:56 am
Sean, I love your mama! What a wonderful woman. A friend of mine just lost her ex-husband to suicide a couple of days ago. He left behind a college aged son and a 7th grader. I immediately thought of you. I hugged them at the funeral and told them we loved them and I thought of you and your struggles. Like you this kid has a strong mama and a supportive family. He’ll be all right, never the same but all right. I’m gonna pass along this advice about the breakfast. Something tells me he’s gonna need it.
Karen - April 29, 2019 10:31 am
We were not allowed to leave the house before we had breakfast. Mama always made a hot breakfast for all six of us kids. Your mother was amazing. Thank you.
Gordon - April 29, 2019 10:49 am
What a grand way to begin my day today-words of encouragement, kindness; thought provoking words. It’s going to be a great day thanks to you, Sean.
Susan Hammett Poole - April 29, 2019 11:40 am
Love reading this first thing this morning after seeing God’s gorgeous pink sunrise! Thusly, a big breakfast is in order right about now. Sending (((hugs))) and smiles to you & Jamie?
Jimmy Stewart - April 29, 2019 11:51 am
As I finish my oatmeal, I want to say thanks for sharing your heart thusly, everyday. It’s a beautiful thing and so simple and yet profound. Loved the Southern Baptist’s and Fried Chicken podcast.
Edna B. - April 29, 2019 12:15 pm
Ain’t it wonderful what a big breakfast can do for you? Your mama was a wise woman. I’m so glad you took her advice. I love your stories. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.
Joe Patterson - April 29, 2019 12:54 pm
Thanks again we always had breakfast my mom was our hero too
Ann - April 29, 2019 2:09 pm
My Mother was the same way. I remember yelling at her in high school, “I don’t have time for breakfast!” and her insisting I needed it for the day. I remember the eggs and bacon with toast and remembering how good it felt when I was in first period and thinking maybe she was right after all. I too went out for breakfast after I was fired. It felt good to be out in the crisp morning and it felt like a new day. It gave me courage to buck up and find a better job. It really isn’t about the breakfast is it? It’s about our Mothers and what they gave us.
Don Daniel - April 29, 2019 2:10 pm
So — How do you know what freeze-dried goat pellets taste like? Just curious.
Shelton A. - April 29, 2019 2:14 pm
Thusly, I reply, thanks for a great story. I believe I’ll have breakfast for lunch today!
Robert Chiles - April 29, 2019 3:52 pm
I didn’t start eating breakfast until about 10 years ago (and I’m 67). All I had (from the 2nd. grade) was coffee. But I like breakfast now.
Janet Mary Lee - April 29, 2019 6:00 pm
Many wonderful things happen at sunrise, sunset and breakfast!! You have a wonderful family, and I know you are good to your Mama!! Bless you!! Have one beautiful day!!
Sheila - April 29, 2019 6:02 pm
I read what you write everyday. I don’t reply very often but I’d like to. I rarely know what to say, like now. I guess just that I value you and what you add to my life. Sometimes something happens and I think I’d like to tell Sean about that. It’s that weird since we’ve never met and I have a loving family and cherished friends and two amazing dogs and one of the sweetest horses that ever walked on 4 legs. Thank you my friend
Judi Sprayberry - April 29, 2019 7:33 pm
We love you Sean! You are delightful! And profound!
ann hays - April 29, 2019 7:53 pm
Enjoy these daily postings!!!!
Dru - April 29, 2019 8:42 pm
Love it. Thanks for making me laugh out loud. I haven’t done too much of that since my storytelling grandfather died. Your figurative language is reminiscent of his, and his was very funny.
Linda Moon - April 30, 2019 12:58 am
Retirement brings the best breakfasts and starts for the day: the day is not written and the breakfast is not eaten until around 9-10 a.m and finished leisurely with that last cup of coffee. Then, be warned, I’m READY TO CONQUER THE WHOLE WORLD in my Senior Years! Yay for your Mom!
Allie - May 5, 2019 7:37 pm
I’m a big fan of “thus” and older usages of “such.” I was a Broke Kid (TM), too, but thankfully a voracious reader. I remember laying on the floor at age five in our house on First Ave. up the road from DES. Had Daddy’s honest-to-goodness Funk & Wagnalls, randomly or in turn, underlining the words I didn’t know so I could come back to them later. First time Mama met my BF, she busted out a familiar phrase: “This kid would read everything in the house if you let her. Including the soup cans.”
Looks like I’m gonna have to learn how to make them biscuits after all, right quick. Got the gravy down, thankfully – the day I perfected Mama’s gravy is still a proud one. Wish us luck. Best to Miss Thel – my Halfrador and his boxer-hound have inherited a kennel on some family land built by a bloodhound breeder.
Ronnie - May 10, 2019 7:26 am
Those country breakfasts are the best!! Haven’t had one in a long time, but I’m off this weekend and I bet I can talk my sweet bride into making one!! I’ll try at least!!
Gale Smith - May 29, 2019 11:43 am
Thusly, your Mama is right, and you got it right again: “in the end, only kindness matters “
Nancy - May 30, 2019 12:31 am
I am thankful you got to take that exam and go on to sixth grade. Your mother was a wise woman and a good mother in the midst of some very difficult circumstances. She gave you a great gift when she taught you to love people. Love your posts!