memories of my Dad…and the dreaded musli bowl


There’s a random bowl of unappealing muesli on the Reception counter. It was ‘left over’ from one of the big meetings upstairs – along with a plateful of chocolate biscuits with vanilla cream in the middle.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny

One guess which snack got entirely devoured first?

Anyway, Bill and another Director from the meeting (from a different branch – I’d never seen him before) came over to Reception.

“Ooh” Bill sighed sadly and rolled his eyes for comic effect “We missed the cookies, huh Janet?”

I couldn’t help but smile – “Afraid so – but there’s plenty of muesli left”

We both grinned “Yeah I’ll bet” Bill joked.

He leaned over the small (and at this stage, still quite full) bowl of muesli, winked as his friend and said “watch this” and gently shook it. I don’t know what exactly was in this muesli (there are so many different types. I don’t particularly like any brand of muesli – LOL), but allegedly, ‘tasty things’ rose to the top and Bill and his friend picked them out with child-like glee.

“That’s the best way to get the bits that aren’t just birdseed” Bill winked again and his lovely eyes twinkled.

And it reminded me instantly of my Dad.

Dad loves 2 things – no, make it 3:

* discussing healthy/nutritious food at length, as if he has a Doctorate in it (which he so does NOT)
* relating the above discussion (or any discussion for any other topic) to bowel movements (and this must be his favourite part because he does it A LOT)
* going on to then (hypocritically) consume an incredible – almost indecent – amount of McDonalds and Hungry Jacks – and I’m judging this by the evidence left on the back seat of his car, the wrappers in his work case and usually find wrappers and empty plastic cups emblazoned with the yellow “M” throughout Dad’s place of residence – whether he’s in Karatha and sending a picture of his adopted dog – Ringo (and you can see McDonalds bags in the background in every picture) or if he’s at Mom’s visiting us all in Perth…or even when he’s on holiday – he orders McDonalds because he “knows whats in it – not like all the odd foreign stuff on the streets these days”

Really, Dad? But what about having this nice nectarine?

“Uhhh” *lots of throat clearing* I need uhhh…protein in my diet, chook – so uhhh *more coughing*…I’d better just have this quick burger and chips…you hang onto that fruit for later – it would be good for your intestines and really help your digestive system…and uhhh…your poo wont smell as bad”.


So anyway – back to my musli story:

When I was growing up, we’d sometimes have “Daniels family movie night”. Dad and Jay would go to the video store and come back with 4 movies. 1 would always be a ‘ninja turle’ or ‘G.I Joe’ movie – obviously Jay’s choice. Dad’s remaining 3 would always be a bit of a gamble.  2 would usually be daggy, loooong english “comedies” which Dad would find hilarious, but Mom wouldnt understand, I understood but thought were really stupid and Jay would just giggle because Dad did. The last video in the group of four – would have a 50/50 chance of being something really brilliant – or something truly horrific. Dad’s great past choices have been “Usual suspects” (the ending had me SHOOK!), “Shawshank Redemption“, “Forest Gump“, “The Toy“, “The Colour Purple“, “Twins” with Arnold S and Danny Devito and one of my favourite classics “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” with the late, great John Candy and Steve Martin, a selection of great comedies with Jim Carey, Adam Sandler, or terrific female actresses like Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock or great movie series’ (serieses?) like all the ‘die hard’ or the ‘lethal weapon’ movies.

Anyway, as the credits for the chosen movie rolled, Dad would try to inflict healthy musli on us. Mom would angrily shoo him away…then it was left to Jay and I to fend Dad’s musli concoction (sp?) off. Jay would wait for me to go first – this was back in the day when Jay thought I was his hero and would only eat what I ate. I would very critically survey the proferred musli, decide dried apricots, apple and/or banana were the only truly palatable things in the bowl and would pick them out until I had a nice handful. Jay would follow suit.

Dad got really annoyed with this after the first few times and said we’d “unbalanced the flavours”. By this, he really meant “you’ve taken out the tasty bits and left me with only sunflower and pumpkin seeds – which, let’s face it – are boring” so the NEXT time the video night started and the dreaded musli bowl made its appearance – Dad thought he’d try something new. When Dad brought the musli over to where I was sitting…he moved the bowl around and around in circles so that I couldnt properly ‘pick out’ the things I liked and was forced to just delve my hand in, “catch” a handful of musli and was then left with all the ‘seedy bits’ as well as the nice dried fruit. Dad’s smug smile lasted the whole movie.

Touche’, old chap. Touche’.

Do you know we also got ‘egged’ every Halloween because Dad wouldn’t just give out candy – no. He wanted to instead give out lovingly cut-up carrot and celery sticks. 5-year-old children do not want carrot sticks, Dad! They’ve come for chocolate. But Dad stubbornly persisted and to unusually patient and polite little ones, he would sit them down, pull out his poster of the food pyramid and give a short ‘health lecture’ – pointing to the delicious candies and donuts on the very top, smallest part of the pyramid and pulling a dramatic ‘sad face’ while gesturing invitingly at the celery, apple and lettuce on the much bigger portion of his picture and smiling as broadly as his beloved, daggy face would allow. Alas, even adding apples to his halloween ‘menu’ the next year did nothing to improve things and every morning after Halloween night, Dad would be out the front of the house, hosing down the egg from the main living-room window.


I’m smiling as I share this memory with you.

I feel a lot better than when I began today’s blog so wont actually go into my ‘second’ thing today. I’ll just leave you with an image of my Dad – trying to lecture confused little ones about healthy food…then taking himself out to McDonalds afterwards to soothe his frustated ego 🙂

Ahhh…I love my Daddy Daniels. I really do.

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