On a Crispy English Muffin


I forgot to check the setting on the toaster this morning
when I stuffed my English muffin in it.
It came out crispy and almost burnt,
reminding me of times my mother would fix toast
right before we left on a trip.
The toast popped out of the toaster
black and dry.
But Mom would never throw it away.
Her Great Depression upbringing
taught her to use every crumb,
for there might not be more.

I remember watching her stand over our garbage can
with a table knife, scraping the blackness from the toast
and wrapping it in aluminum foil.
That toast was never any good,
but I ate it anyway
because my mom had labored so hard to preserve it.

So now I eat my crispy…some would say burnt…
English muffin,
smeared with cream cheese and slathered with plum jam
and the sweetly crisp texture and flavor
take me back to days gone by…

Days when my mother worried about my getting carsick,
though to my memory I never did.
It was my cousin Jan who got carsick
whenever she was in the backseat,
and I guess my mom feared the same would happen to me
as we set off on a journey over winding roads
through the hills of Virginia, West Virginia, and finally Pennsylvania.

The aluminum foil-wrapped toast was my
antidote against carsickness.
And I guess it worked,
though it tasted awful.

I wonder what kind of antidote
my English muffin is for today.

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