Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 1

I'm not sure why my mother had to be so ruthless in the morning. I mean, I did enough of my homework (C's), completed some of my chores (still got an allowance) and woke up without whining too much. (I was a deaf-mute until I was 11.)  Isn't that all that a growing boy should be expected to do? In fact, I often went without dessert many nights just to prove my dedication to the Leave it To Beaver-ness that my mom so desperately sought after in the late 80's. From what I remember --and I remember pretty much everything pre-alcohol-- I was the perfect son on all accounts.

Eddie was taking notes from me.
"Say Mom, your meatloaf sure is swell!"
And one would think the reward for such perfection would at least be the breakfast that I wanted --that I earned-- right? Not in this Hogan household. While my older sister got to chat the night away with her teenage boyfriends that were AT LEAST two years older than her, I was stuck toiling away at my desk. Night after night, I sat there; my eyes red from the fumes as the flame slowly consumed the wick. And I did all this in hopes that I could eat some sort of sugary cereal in the morning. I craved the sugar. All of my friends' parents allowed it, why couldn't mine?

The morning sun would greet me, but alas, it never brought good news. I would stumble down the stairs and into the kitchen. On the weekdays, there was never any home-cooked breakfast, only Morton's Honey Buns or small Lenders Bagels. I didn't want those though. I didn't spend my nights pounding the books for microwavable trash like that. I wanted the good stuff. I wanted the tongue candy. I wanted the stuff my sister was always undeservedly eating with her big crooked smile. I wanted Fruity Pebbles and Trix. I wanted Corn Pops and Apple Jacks. But as luck would have it, my wishes were never granted. 
I would beg, "Mother, please be so kind as to allow thou to induldge in such a scrumptiously delicious morning tart. Please mother. Please I would be ever so grateful!"
My pleading only seemed to anger her as she would frantically start pouring more and more bowls for my sister and herself. The tears rolled down my cheek as the two of them sat there laughing and eating my beloved sugary cereal. Their spoons were often times too full for the amount they scooped from the bowl and instead of offering some to me, they threw it on the floor as laughter bellowed from the depths of their shallow souls. I guess I could have spent more time lamenting the cruelty of the moment, but I was bigger than that. I accepted my fate and gave in to the allure of the bottom cabinet. I didn't want to, but my body's need for nourishment prevailed.

The bottom cabinet was a terrifying place. Aside from the usual vermin that lurked in the dark and dusty corners, there were sounds --shrieks even-- from the battered souls of the boys who lived in that old house before me. (The house was built in 1909 --it knew torture.) The fear of opening that cracked wooden door was sometimes enough to make me skip breakfast all together, but I didn't want to let them win. Once the door was opened, the full gravity of the situation really set in. It was a sense of total desperation. Was I to eat Special K or Grape Nuts? The thought of both repulsed me and violent bouts of vomiting ensued nearly every time. 

But there in the back, next to the Ipecac, Dimetapp and purple bottle of rat poison, was my only saving grace. It's cylindrical shape still gives me a sense of warmth and protection. In the cold days that were my childhood, sometimes he was the only one who would hug me when I was cold and smile at me when I was lonesome. 

His warm smile and long flowing side-hair gave this wretched soul the 100% natural whole grain goodness that any boy needed. And even though that boy turned out to be a 27 year-old who tells extreme lies about his childhood in hopes of garnering some cheap laughs or pity, I still love seeing that guys face

In fact, it wasn't more than a week ago that I found myself scurrying through the labyrinth of over-sized Costco shopping carts in search of his wonderful face. His visage is timeless and this month, I'm curious to see if his religion's message from the 1600's proves to be that way, too.

Quakers are Christians, but they have a very unique approach to the religion and certainly have a different relationship with Jesus Christ. We (as in me this month) are referred to as "Friends" and these cats have done a lot of things that you might be surprised to discover. 

This month is bound to be an absolutely fascinating one. I've found a local Quaker Meeting group and am ready to get into this one. No holds barred, people! I'm going wild and since my wife has decided to sit back and watch (rather than participate like she did for the last two months), it's going to be all me. 

I'm not going to get into the details or anything today, but I really want all of us to share in on this experience. So, if anyone comes across anything fascinating, please post it in the comments or share it with me on Twitter. I think we're all going to be pleasantly surprised by these guys. To put it simply, the Quakers have always led the way. They were on the forefront of every major social battle of the Revolutionary era and they're still trailblazing their way into Heaven. 

Open up, kiddos. Here come the Quakers!


By the way, my mother really did discourage sugary cereal when I was young. Of course, she didn't do it in such a terrifying way, but Cheerios, Grape Nuts AND Quaker Oats oatmeal were happily very much a part of my childhood diet. It was actually so successful that when I went to my aunt and uncle's house as a child, I was always upset because they had Honey Nut Cheerios. I tolerated them, but I preferred the regular kind. Still today, I eat a ton of REGULAR Cheerios with NO sugar. I actually ate two bowls of regular Cheerios today and have a bunch of Quaker Oats Instant Oatmeal in my kitchen. Some things never change.


  1. This is going to be some kind of trip, and one that hits close to home in so many ways. I remember my grandmother and mother talking about the Quaker side of the family in hushed, almost dismissive tones. "Well, Eleanor Beals, your grandfather's mother, went to the Quaker church in town." --" We sanctimonious Presbyterians attended the 'other' church." I can still hear it and feel it, and now it is starting to make more and more sense. I have a lot of sympathy for my great grandmother Eleanor and will reveal more about that later.

  2. I am pretty intrigued with the June Quaker option also. The family connection makes the difference. Also thank you for setting the record straight about the cereals... when I pay big $$ to mail to Korea grape-nuts, rice krispies and cheerios in .. I expect recognition!! ;)

  3. If you want my opinion, the instant oats are icky in comparison to the real deal....the good ole' fashioned oats. In fact, I will venture so far as to call the others a bit trashy. Have you done the taste test? If you can you spare an extra 5 minutes in the a.m. to enjoy the real oats (hearty, not sliced thin), it's worth it!