FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: French toast.

by Dave Markwell

It was a morning of much to do. Contemplating the shape of my day with a sense of urgency and intention was happening. I had a long list of stuff I wanted to get done. Successfully completing these tasks was going to require some planning. And that’s what I was doing when my daughter woke up.

She stood at the banister at the top of the stairs and with her sleepy eyes and sleepy voice, hoarsely whispered, “French toast”. I knew what this meant. Each night, while I tuck her into bed, she details her/my breakfast plans. She is a planner. She gets this from her mother. I take no credit or blame for this. I can plan when I need to, but it does not come naturally.

Hearing my girl’s reminder of my breakfast duties, I began trying to get out of it. “How about a bowl of cereal?” I responded hopefully. I really did not feel like cooking. “Nope”, came the predictable reply. “How about some toast?” thinking toast from a toaster, easy to do. She said “Yes, toast, dipped in egg with some cinnamon and vanilla, fried in a pan.” She then turned her back and walked away. I could tell by her wiggly ears that she was smiling and proud of her wit at this early hour. Crap. I was doomed to follow through on my obligation.

Each night, in my desperation to get her in bed and out of what’s left of my hair, I make promises that I hope I may not have to fulfill. This doesn’t work very often. Nonetheless, I try. I tell her what she wants to hear, hope for the best and deal with the consequences later. Later has come. I cease serving myself and get up to do my duty.

While preparing the French toast that I didn’t want to make, I took great care in making it good. Perfectly browned with the proper ratio of cinnamon and vanilla, I plated it and topped it with some boysenberry syrup and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. If I had to make it, I did not want to hear any complaints about it, so I did what I had to do.

Mid-way through my breakfast making operation, still annoyed and distracted by my own obligations, I recognized that making French toast when I didn’t want to was pretty representative of many things in life. We are often faced with responsibilities and duties that we don’t want to do, but must. Life is filled with jobs that simply need to get done. And someone has to do them. And we all do.

The lists change and inspiration is fickle, but duties remain. It is in the diligent, sometimes frustrating and annoying follow-through that stuff happens. This stuff matters. Our word matters. Doing what we say matters. Always, this is true. It is not easy, but it is true.

So, on a day when making French toast was near the bottom of my list of things I wanted to do, I did it. And while the pan was still hot, I made my wife some steak and eggs, too. I figured I might need some wife credits for stuff I was planning on NOT doing for her that she wanted me to. Hey, sometimes not doing stuff is important, too…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called “A Feel Good Life” (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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