Cream Cheese

In a compromise with my parents
That age ago
(they wanted near I wanted far
They wanted Catholic I wanted not)
I started college at Marquette University
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin
As far from New Orleans
As my parents would allow
But for them at least it was Jesuit
Though not Springfield,
Which was closer and
Also – importantly - where
One of my mother’s priest-cousins taught
We called him Father Junior

My parents drove me to Marquette
That first year
A drive delayed by Hurricane Betsy
My dad walked downtown from our house
To send the school a telegram
(The first like that they had ever received,
We were told when we finally arrived)
That I would miss freshman orientation
Because of a hurricane
The first night on the road 
We stayed in a motel
VERY exciting, my first time in a motel

At the diner where we ate breakfast
The next morning
After an increasingly confused exchange with the waitress
(Have you ever seen Jack Nicholson’s toast scene
In Five Easy Pieces?)
My dad was served – reluctantly – 
A block of Philadelphia cream cheese
Since he persisted that he wanted cream cheese for breakfast

And so we all three learned
That morning
Something none of us had known before
Only in New Orleans
Did cream cheese
Mean Creole cream cheese
(You might know it as curds and whey
Of Little Miss Muffet fame)
A breakfast favorite

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