Like any morning, I was up earlier than anyone else in my home. I paid my respects to the coffee gods, and after pressing the magical blue button on the coffee machine, I poured myself a cup, and then I made my way into the room I refer to as my section of the world.
I never change this room much. I keep it as is, and when the sun comes up, I twist the clear plastic rod to crack open the blinds and let the sunlight in.
This is part of my daily process; this how I prepare myself for the day and this is where I sort out the thoughts that clog inside my head.
I have a similar process during the sunset, and whenever possible, I like to sit this room and watch the sky change from day into night.
My room has two windows in the corner, which face the backyard. I can see across the neighbor’s yard and I like to watch the birds stand on the telephone lines. Sometimes I receive a visit from a pair of cardinals. I like when they come because I associate them with good memories.
My desk is below the two windows and my chair goes back far enough that I can lift my feet, lean back, and look outside. And once I settle in, I tap the space bar on my keyboard, and wake my computer.
To my left are the computer’s brain and a few books. In front of me is my keyboard, computer screen, and mouse.
To the right is a printer, which has been out of ink for quite some time now, and above it, I keep a decorative bulletin board.
The board his taller than it is wide, and it is wrapped in fancy ribbon, so I don’t have to use pushpins. Instead, I shove memories inside the ribbons, which hold them in place.
I keep old postcards, business cards, pictures, and even an old license from when I was younger and thin. I have a broken drumstick that an old friend threw at me during one of his shows. I enjoyed that night. We don’t speak anymore, but that’s okay. I still enjoy the memory.
I have small American flag that stands on my desk behind the printer. It is made of plastic and stands on its thin wooden stick. The flag was placed on my front lawn several years ago during the 4th of July.
I keep it because the flag represents more than just my country.
It has meaning . . . and everything I keep in this room has meaning to me.
I have pictures of my family scattered around the bookshelves and a small box of treasure. And by treasure, I do not mean money or expensive valuables. By treasure, I mean things I could never buy like the tiny notes from people I love or pieces of memory that I will never throw away.
I have a small figurine next to the speaker on my desk. I keep him there because he reminds me of a day I wouldn’t mind reliving exactly as it was.
I keep this room as it is because life comes with too many changes, and often, those changes are either unexpected or unwanted. All I can do is adapt and adjust. I keep this room and my routine as it is because without it I can easily lose myself in life’s crazy system.
This morning, I was up earlier than usual. I began thinking about my mother and our old home on Merrick Avenue.
I miss that place sometimes . . .
I have always been a fan of easy, heartwarming foods. I mean the kind that remind me of sitting at my family’s dinner table and listening to the sound of my mother filling plates in the kitchen and switching pots on the stove.
Of any meal, I remember her breaded chicken cutlets and mashed potatoes.
The cutlets were breaded with Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and she fried them to perfection. They were never over-cooked and they were always tender. She would place the cutlets on a platter beside a gravy boat filled with light brown gravy. But aside from this, nothing made the meal complete without her famous mashed potatoes.
Her potatoes were not mashed; they were whipped with a mixer, and that made them smooth like an edible silk. And as she whipped the potatoes, she added butter and seasoning. She added milk, which gave the potatoes a satin-like texture, and then she added a few secret twists.
In all, nothing says love like a favorite meal from Mom.
This was perfection on a dish, and I ate everything down to the last forkful of chicken, which I swirled in the final bits of gravy with the smallest remaining pillow of my mother’s mashed potatoes. I swallowed the last pieces . . .
and all was well
I truly believe in the mechanics of sanity.
Fortunately, I have this method. I have my daily routine, which keeps me healthy.
And if not, at least I have the secret ingredients to my mother’s chicken cutlets and her famous mashed potatoes