Breakfast

I’ve read that in southern Thailand there is a city called Trang that is obsessed with breakfast. Crowds begin to flock to the dim sum halls, vintage cafes and street vendors before 4 am. The places that serve roast pork begin putting the pigs into the ovens around midnight. At a time where people are asleep in most of the rest of the world, you can wander down the streets and stop for bowls of noodles or rice porridge, curries, stir fries, soups and fried dough and roast pork, indulgent and delicious.

The city began its breakfast traditions to accommodate workers. It is far rubber growing areas and rubber tappers need to do their work in the early morning, traditionally rising at 2 am to prepare for work. In some cases, rubber tappers have already eaten two meals before the sun has risen. The city also is filled with Chinese immigrants who work in a variety of early morning jobs. By 7 am local restaurants are filled with families, school children, pensioners and people on their way to the office. Breakfast is a big deal in Trang.

I’ve never been to Trang. I’ve never been to Thailand, but it certainly sounds like a place I’d love to visit. I’m a big fan of breakfast.

There was a time, years ago, when our children were pre-teen, and our daughter and I were the early birds of the family. Our son and my wife tended to enjoy staying up later in the evening while we would arise in the morning when they were still in bed. In those days, Saturdays were often special times for dad and daughter. We would get up and get dressed and ride our bikes to a McDonald’s restaurant for breakfast. It was a good time for us to be together and enjoy the morning. I have been an early riser for as long as I can remember, only modifying my schedule slightly in my retirement to sleep in a bit later, though I’m still not one for staying up late at night.

For the past month, breakfasts have been very special at our house because our daughter and her son are visiting us. They have been living in Japan and are in the process of moving to a new home in South Carolina. The shipping of their furniture and household items along with the process of buying a new home combined with the need to be careful with covid prevention practices has given us this bonus time. Part of that bonus is time for father and daughter to talk in the mornings. We generally eat before my wife rises. Making the breakfasts even more special is the presence of our grandson who seems to hit the ground running every morning. There is absolutely nothing like being greeted each morning by a nineteen-year-old running full steam ahead to give you a great big hug.

For the first breakfast of their visit, when they were jet lagged and not sure what time it was after flying from Japan and crossing the International Date Line, I mixed up pancake batter and made dollar pancakes. At our house “dollar” pancakes are a bit bigger than dollar coins, especially the newer dollar coins. Somehow we got to calling them sand dollar pancakes, which more accurately describes their size at 3 to 4 inches in diameter.

Our grandson really loves sausage patties, so they have been a regular part of our breakfasts.

All of that is about to change. Tomorrow after breakfast we will take our daughter and grandson to the airport in Seattle where they’ll board the plane to go to their new home in South Carolina. The only thing that makes it possible for me to say good bye to them is knowing how much her husband and his father has missed them during this time of separation. I know that they will be greeted by an eager and loving family member when they arrive. I know that their family belongs together.

So, naturally, we stayed up a bit later than usual last night talking and one of the things we talked about was what we’d have for breakfast this morning. Breakfasts together seem to be incredibly precious now that we are aware how few we have left on this visit. Today we have the luxury of a leisurely breakfast. Tomorrow will be rushed because we have to load luggage and people into the car early to make the 90-minute trip to the airport. The menu today includes sausage, of course, and french toast. I picked up a loaf of cinnamon bread and another of blueberry bread for a special treat. It isn’t quite deep-fried dough and roast pork, but the oven in our rental house is too small to roast an entire pig and we’ve never really gotten into dim sum for breakfast at our house. On the other hand, McDonalds hasn’t been our breakfast choice for many years.

Being the father of our daughter hasn’t been quite as exotic as breakfast in Thailand, but she has brought a great deal of adventure to our lives. She may not be leading me around town on a bicycle any more, but her travels have resulted in my visiting some wonderful places. Pictures of trips to visit her in England and Japan spark precious memories for us and we are looking forward to making a trip to South Carolina before too long.

I’ve already checked it out. There isn’t a Krispy Kreme Donut Shop within range of a bicycle ride from their new home. It won’t be long before our grandson is old enough to go out for an early breakfast with granddad. Maybe I’ll have to learn to eat breakfast grits. I’m pretty sure I could go for bacon milk gravy and biscuits or cheesy grits with bacon. And I’m thinking that our daughter would go for southern-style chocolate gravy.

Whatever we eat, breakfast with our daughter and her family is a special treat. Maybe we could be like the folks in Trang Thailand and go for two or three breakfasts each day when we are together.