Mountain Musings with Uncle Mott

Feb 8, 2023 | Features

California Dreamin’

So, how do you like all this cold weather we’ve been blessed with lately? Just how cold is it you ask? I’m glad you asked. Why, it was so cold the other day that I saw a snowman have a temper tantrum – and it was a complete meltdown.

As a matter of fact, it’s cold enough right now to freeze the ears off a Brass Monkey. What’s a Brass Monkey, you ask? In olden times, British warships had a storage rack called a “Brass Monkey” that held the cannon balls. As the story goes, when it was freezing cold the metal in those balls would contract, causing them to fall off the Brass Monkey.

Anyway, there’s nothing that warms a tummy on a cold morning like a bowl of hot cereal – or porridge, as our friend Helen of Leeds calls it. Some folks like oatmeal and others like Malt-O-Meal. As for me, I prefer Zoom. Yes, you heard me right. Zoom is a hot cereal made by Krusteaz (not to be confused with Krusty the Clown). It’s basically the wheat equivalent of oatmeal. I like mine with brown sugar and raisins…yum, yum! They usually have it at Goodwin’s, but they seem to be out right now, so I must remind Mike to order some more. I only mentioned this because I had a dream about Zoom last night.

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray. I’ve been for a walk on a winter’s day, I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A. California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day. Stopped into a church I passed along the way. Well, I got down on my knees and I pretended to pray. You know the preacher like the cold, he knows I’m gonna stay. California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day. (“California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas – 1965)

Back in the day today’s Zoom was called Ralston, I guess because it was made by Ralston-Purina. I don’t know how many of you will remember this but, back the mid-50s, there was a kid’s TV show in L.A. called Captain Jet. At the beginning of the show, before the cartoons, he would give a Zoom OK-style salute as he blasted off for space.

The 50s were a fun time for kids growing up in So Cal, what with Captain Jet on Channel 13; Engineer Bill (red light, green light) on Channel 9; Sheriff John’s Lunch Brigade on Channel 11 (Put another candle on my birthday cake, you’re another year old today.) and Popeye and Friends, hosted by Tom Hatten, on Channel 5.

Back in the mid-80s, my children got to meet Tom Hatten at Santa’s Village, where he drew squiggle cartoon characters like he did on his TV show and gave them an autographed postcard with his picture on it.

As sure as I complain about cold weather, when summer arrives, I’ll be complaining about the heat. Sunshine on my shoulder makes me sweaty, sunshine on my shoulder sometimes makes me high. Time to Zoom off until next week.

Keep it flyin’,

Uncle Mott



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