When Mom went to girls camp, and Dad had to be out of town for a few days, I jumped at the chance to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. They’re real special.
The first morning there, I got up early and galloped downstairs. Grandpa was already in the kitchen, setting boxes of cold cereal on the table.
“Mmmm, my favorite!” I said, picking up a box of the kind I liked.
“My favorite is hot oatmeal,” Grandpa said. “But we don’t have it often, now that Grandma’s volunteer work at the hospital is in the mornings.”
Grandpa was getting milk from the refrigerator when Grandma came downstairs. “I was just telling Joey how good your oatmeal is,” Grandpa said.
“Anybody can make oatmeal—even Joey,” Grandma said.
“I don’t like hot oatmeal!” I said real quick, hoping they weren’t going to ask me to make it.
“Oh, come on—let’s try it,” Grandpa said.
Grandma had to go back upstairs for something, so I got a pan for Grandpa. He put a little water in it, then dumped in a lot of oatmeal.
“Shouldn’t you measure it?” I asked.
“Grandma never measures,” he answered.
I stirred while Grandpa watched. He hummed a tune, real happy-like.
The bubbling oatmeal got thicker and lumpier. “Are you sure you didn’t put too much oatmeal in?” I asked Grandpa.
“You set the table, Joey,” he said. “I’ll see to the oatmeal. Boy, are you going to love this!”
I didn’t think I would like it, much less love it, but I put bowls and spoons on the table and sat down to wait.
“How’s that?” Grandpa asked, spooning thick globs of oatmeal from the pan into my bowl, then filling his.
I looked at the thick stuff in my bowl. I stirred and stirred, trying to get the lumps out. No luck. I reached for the milk.
When I started to put the milk back, my sleeve caught on my bowl. Kerplunk! The bowl hit the floor and wobbled across Grandma’s freshly waxed floor, spattering oatmeal as it rolled.
Grandma came back downstairs just then. “Oh, no!” She chased the bowl, trying to catch it before it hit the wall and broke. She stepped into a patch of slippery oatmeal and sat down smack-dab in the mess.
I got to her before Grandpa did. When I tried to help her up, my foot slipped into a slick patch and I went down too.
“I didn’t mean to do it!” I yammered over and over. I was worried that Grandma might be hurt.
Then I saw Grandma’s face. Her glasses were hanging from one ear. She was laughing so hard that tears ran down her face and she couldn’t talk.
Grandpa rushed to help. His feet hit a glob of oatmeal, and he came sailing across the floor.
We sat in the middle of the oatmeal and laughed so hard that we were too weak to get up. Finally we got ourselves together enough to clean up the kitchen. Then we ate cold cereal.
The next morning, Grandma made oatmeal. It was smooth and warm. I can’t say that I was crazy about it, but with a little cinnamon and brown sugar on it, it wasn’t bad. By the time Mom and Dad came home, I had learned to like it. And I had learned how to make it—without lumps!
Sometimes I make it at home. It’s funny how the taste for good stuff grows on you.
Grandpa says it’s like life. “You have upsets along the way, but if you keep your sense of humor and keep trying, the lumps smooth out. And it keeps getting better!”