Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Monday, October 08, 2012

October 8: Granola

In the 1960s, granola
was code for anti-war. We women
gathered in kitchens wearing granny glasses
and long skirts, while the men hunkered outside
by the hand-built illegal yurt deep in the forest,
trying to decide if they should evade the draft.
We used only natural ingredients, butter
fresh churned, organic oats, walnuts gathered last fall
and carefully saved, and honey [white sugar was akin to cursing].
We stirred our granola in great cast iron pots with wooden spoons,
adding vanilla at the very last moment. The smell hung in
the air like a promise of peace.
I remember those days when I have breakfast.
I still make my own granola on the stovetop,
pan-roasted, crunchy old-fashioned rolled oats;
my tongue delights in the sweet snap of brown sugar,
salty cashews and dried cranberries,
but the fathers who went to Viet Nam
watch their sons march off to Afghanistan.

Octpowrimo's prompt for today (the 8th) was simply taste. Visit Octpowrito to read what others have written. 


  1. Beth--This really hit me right in the solar plexus. Yes, you make the same thing, this time in your own kitchen, and a new generation marches to another war. Sad.

  2. Wonderfully poignant, Beth. I make my own granola as well. Made it back then, too. Fortunately none of my children have had to march off to war. For that, and the wonderful flavor of granola, I am very grateful.

  3. Wow! This is such a powerful poem, but I guess there's always hope if people still make their own granola.

  4. This brought tears to my eyes. Such beauty and sorrow rolled into one powerful poem.

  5. The futility of war and the utility of eating healthily are here in meaningful juxtaposition.

  6. This cut deep, Beth, especially the last couple of lines. Amazing how a food that is so simple can carry with it such memories and resonance.

  7. WoW. Deep and penetrating thoughts. I like Vivinfrances's
    "The futility of war and the utility of eating healthily are here in meaningful juxtaposition."
    I read this wishing I could change the past...I was a wimp where you were strong when I was young...You brought to life a life I wished for. Thank you...awesome write.
    Siggi in Downeast Maine

  8. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Tonight I met a young man of 22 who has signed up for the Marines. He's awaiting assignment, eager to become part of a team protecting American interests. I know widows who have lost husbands to the war in Afghanistan, parents who have lost children in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not even a poem can bridge the gap I feel between what our foreign policy is and the loss of these lives, as if history were repeating itself.

  9. This is a beautiful poem. I wish I could offer something more, constructive criticism or more details about why I like it, but I can't. It's just lovely.

    ~ Rhonda Parrish