okay, i’m totally cheating with this post tonight–it’s a copy of a memoir i wrote with my students this fall. i’m using it because it’s funny as crap, and i have to finish grading papers and get lily in the bath…enjoy (as if anyone is reading!!)

Purloined Breakfast

On the last day of a cruise to Cozamel and the Cayman Islands in 2001, my husband, Kevin, and I go down to breakfast–Kevin’s last hoorah at the smorgasbord.

“CRAP! We’re late!” Kevin whines as we enter the restaurant.

“It’s okay, Kev, there’s still plenty of food left,” I say, a definite impatience in my voice.

“No, there’s not. They’re running out of bacon, and I know they aren’t cooking anymore,” he retorts (a little too snippy for so early in the morning).

Just then one of the cooks bangs out of the kitchen carrying a bathtub filled with greasy, crispy-fried pig.

“Alllllll riiiiiight!” Kevin sighs with satisfaction.

I roll my eyes and watch Kevin push his way closer to the food. He grabs three plates to load food onto: one for eggs, sausage, and pancakes; one for biscuits and gravy; and one for—BACON! A whole plate just for bacon. He piles the plate so high, he needs oxygen before he starts eating. There is so much pig on that plate I can hear the mama sow squealing for her babies.

I follow Kevin to a clean table on the deck of the ship. Of course I see and hear all the seagulls—those pesky, greedy varmints are expected near the ocean. They screech at each other in their devil language, alerting the group that new meat (namely us) is on the way. I remember one of the birds staring at me so intently that I turn to tell him to take a picture, it will last longer!

“Uh-oh, I forgot silverware. Be right back.”

Kevin—my sweet and loving til-death-do-us-part-love-of-my-life husband—leaves me with the birds.


Now the thing you have to know about me is this: I hate birds. Just watch Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, The Birds, and it’s easy to see why. But I have an additional reason. As a child, I was chased, haunted, and driven to madness by a bat that lived in the street light between my house and my grandmother’s house. The bat and I had issues: I was deathly afraid of him, and he totally loved hearing me scream. I think it brought out the bloodlust in him!

So, as I’m sitting on this beautiful cruise ship recently docked in Miami, I am transported to my childhood and the fear of confronting that blasted bat. I am surrounded by these demons of Satan—these seagulls who think they own the beach.


One begins to fly over my head. He senses my fear and laughs when I duck my head. How can I possibly eat in this atmosphere? Where is Kevin?

Another one swoops right in front of me. They taunt me, looking for weakness. No Kevin. I begin to think I should move our plates somewhere inside.

Two more agents of evil fly down, but they stay. They actually perch on the back of the chair across from me—as if I am lonely and have invited them!! I’m in a war and have no weapon!

Still no Kevin.

I am distracted by these two birds. I don’t see the third swoop in for the kill. He nose-dives and hits the table—BAM, BAM, BAM!! My glass of OJ trembles in fright—that could have been me! Quickly, I cover the plates with napkins and survey the table: my uninvited guests have left, but nothing is toppled over or missing.

Kevin finally gets back to the table; I am dying to tell him about the birds attacking me, but he’s more interested in complaining about his difficulties finding forks. Suddenly he looks at me quizzically.

“Did you eat my bacon?”

Stunned, I turn, look over my shoulder, and hear that crew of birds’ screeching, hungry screams of mirth. I begin laughing as silently as possible, for telling Kevin at this point will ensure that he doesn’t eat for a few hours. And let’s face it, did he really need all that bacon? I think the birds did him a favor.

It is years before I tell him this story!!