I am responding to the article in the fall 2014 issue of Wagner Magazine, written by Ethel Lee-Miller, entitled “The Heel.” I loved it because it was well written and I loved it for its quirky interpersonal details between a husband, wife, and food. Ethel’s love affair with breakfast mirrors mine. I too have a husband who enjoys capitalizing on this particular facet of my personality (Jeff Safford
’56). Our friends are somewhat dumbfounded to learn that every evening after clearing the table of dinner dishes, he or I set the table for breakfast, complete with attractive place mats, cloth napkins, and proper place settings. Hence, each morning we arrive at a dining room table that invites us to start our day fueled in a satisfying way. We sit down and partake.
But Ethel Lee-Miller’s article also caught my fancy because it was centered on breakfast in bed, an experience I enjoy and am gifted a few times each month. Not many of my women friends feel as comfortable as I, sitting up and eating in bed. Maybe one has to be a writer or avid reader, two activities carried out nicely while nibbling on food and sipping coffee, propped up by pillows. I have appreciated the routine so much, that one morning I wrote a poem entitled, “Breakfast in Bed.” I am sending it along as my response to the article I so enjoyed in your last issue.
June Billings Safford ’59
Breakfast in Bed
The ninety-nine dollar quilt
we bought for thirty-six at Macy’s,
pie-shaped patches in pastel blues,
yellows, some white, spreads before
my field of vision like a cloth garden.
Gay colored pillows prop me up
against the bedroom wall.
At nine a.m. on a Saturday morning I might
be vacuuming, doing a wash, dusting.
But my husband’s bent on crippling me with benefits.
He’s in the kitchen below filling the menu
I wrote out on an envelope. Instead
of lying in bed with some crippling disease,
I’m studying the slope of the quilt, hungry
and waiting. Made more healthy by his indulgence
I listen. On the next level I hear water running,
cabinets opening and closing, dishes clanking.
Soon a perking coffee smell starts to ply me
with more evidence that breakfast is underway.
This second story bedroom has windows
that allow for barren tree-top viewing. And snow-patched
hills break the bird’s comforter sky from being all
I see. White muslin curtains collect in folds
at the window edges, another bargain I can point to.
I hear his caloric footsteps down the hall. He enters
holding the bed tray like an offering. Soon my nose
is just inches from sustenance and frivolity. A grapefruit
half topped by cool whip and a maraschino cherry, my
vitamins tucked in a whiskey glass. He leaves with
the assurance that scrambled eggs and coffee are next
on his benevolent schedule. How clever he is to ply me
with prizes just for having chosen him.