You know what I wish? I wish there were free pancakes for the whole world. Call me a dreamer, but I believe that pancakes slathered in butter and syrup are one of the secrets to a rich and happy life.
Will that sugar rot our teeth? Yes. Will the calories go straight to our butts? You bet. But we will be happy.
Growing up, whenever my mother made pancakes, you just knew it was going to be a good day. Not even hell itself can stand in the way of a man who’s had his pancakes.
A long time ago, I used to volunteer at a little church that always held pancake breakfasts for the homeless, underprivileged, and lonely. Several of us volunteers would spend a week stapling flyers to hundreds of telephone poles.
The flyers’ message was simple: “FREE PANCAKES!”
The fellowship hall would be slammed with children, single mothers, old men with stained clothes, young men on their way to the work, old women who lived by themselves, all holding paper plates. It was as though everyone from 18 counties had come to have fun, eat pancakes, and get some good old-fashioned type-two diabetes.
So that’s what I wish. During the midst of the troubled world we’re living in, I wish everyone could have pancakes and forget about their problems for a while.
Since I’m on a roll with my wishing, I also wish there were more old movies on television. Have you ever wondered where all the old-time movies went? Oh, sure, we have plenty of modern movies and modern actors who cant seem to keep their clothes on for two consecutive scenes.
But where are Charlie Chaplain and Buster Keaton? Come back John Wayne and Randolph Scott. I miss you Katherine Hepburn.
There’s something else I wish, too. I wish Louis Armstrong were played on more stereos. If for no other reason than because his music makes people feel good. And I wish today’s kids could learn about jazz.
Over the years, I’ve met a lot of kids who have never even HEARD the word jazz. Certainly, they’ve experienced many other expressly American things. They’ve played baseball, they’ve studied the Constitution, they’ve learned how to drive on the right side of the road and use their American Digit when someone cuts them off. But they can’t name a single jazz standard.
I once had a friend who was a former Auburn University music professor. He was an elderly man when I knew him, and he believed jazz was the story of America.
After all, to many of our ancestors jazz wasn’t just a musical style, it was an age. It crossed boundaries and broke rules, and it never hurt anyone.
But enough about that. I see several of you have fallen asleep. So I’m also wishing that someday, perhaps in the far-off future, yellow flies will leave Florida forever. I don’t care where they go.
Also, I wish baseball would return. I hope that when this pandemic is over people will once again experience the thrill found in cheering for the same thing. It’s a powerful feeling to be sitting in the nosebleeds, hollering your guts out with 42,000 True Believers.
One time when I was a kid, I was with my uncle at Fulton County Stadium to see the Atlanta Braves. The woman beside me was an old woman holding a walking stick, eating a hot dog. I’ll never forget when Ron Gant nailed a no-doubter into left field.
The woman stood to her feet, so did I. Then we hugged each other and jumped up and down. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.
The beauty of this was that we were strangers who couldn’t have been any more different. Me, a young redhead with buck teeth and freckles. Her, an old woman. But there we were. Hugging. Shouting. That’s what baseball can do to people.
I wish that one day they would finally manufacture a vacuum that would please my wife.
A few hours before I wrote this, I finished vacuuming our den. I was very proud of myself housekeeping-wise. But when my wife got home she took one look at our floor and said, “Hey, when are you gonna vacuum?”
I wish that people got less excited about celebrities and more excited about elementary school teachers, EMTs, nurses, and firemen.
I sincerely wish that someday the grocery stores would carry tomatoes that don’t taste like recycled kitty litter pellets. I’d love it if they sold tomatoes that tasted like the ones from Mama’s garden. Homegrown tomatoes are powerful things. One good tomato has the power to change man’s life and make him weep openly.
I wish that someday people would listen to each other, instead of getting angry. I wish the injustices of this planet would finally be amended by the earthshaking powers of decency and gentleness. I hope the same loving force that once cut the Grand Canyon, that sculpted Yosemite, and carved the mighty Mississippi, would help us learn how to get along.
I wish that you could finally realize what a great person you are, and how important you are to the grand symphony of life itself, and how without you this world just wouldn’t work.
But until that happens, I’ll settle for some free pancakes.