Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What’s for Breakfast? Choice!

At registration, I always ask main-house guests to name a favorite breakfast. This catches most people off-guard. Everyone has a favorite, but somehow innkeepers do not usually request personal preferences along with the guest’s cell number and address …

Our most recent guests tell me they would be happy with the “house special.” In the morning, their seven-year-old son stands, arms akimbo, gazing over my spread of homemade organic granola, yogurt, fresh fruit salad and banana bread in obvious distress. Whatever he was expecting isn’t on the table.

“Is that all there is to eat?” Gustav asks in a plaintive voice, glancing hopefully around the kitchen.

“What do you like for breakfast?”


He has pronounced the word with a touch of reverence, as an older child might identify a coveted video game. Hmmm. This young man obviously has breakfast preferences his parents did not mention.

The following day I make his favorite breakfast. Upon departure, he thanks me for the pancakes. The parents apologize for his having been so frank, but that’s what I especially love about children. They do not hold back until society imposes manners.

Choice is high on my agenda for other aspects of life as well.

I have a choice on how to oppose herbicidal spraying under the power lines, what is the best way to use my energy against it, and I am still pondering this choice. It is quite clear to me that NStar would not choose toxic chemicals if its executives lived here. So, I reject the suggestion from the Board of Health member who urged working together to solve the problem. I don’t believe NStar wants to work together, or will deviate from its original plan unless obliged to do so. Let’s hope this assessment is wrong.

I got an email this morning from Sue Phelan, at Green Cape, with the caption, “Is NStar reading the news?” The link she sent led to an article with wise words from Professor Landrigan, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who warns children are more susceptible to adverse influences in the environment than adults. (Children’s Diseases Linked to Chemicals On the Rise, Professor Says.) NStar execs could also read an article at CNN.com about how the number of children with autism is higher than previously thought and wonder whether environmental factors might play a role. Or, they could simply open the Cape Cod Times to learn a chemical solvent in the drinking water of eight Cape towns has been linked to increased risk of birth defects. The solvent dates from the 1960s. Where’s the outrage?

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, according to the Provincetown Banner. After that headline caught my eye, I noticed a poll: “Should towns prohibit pesticide use on Cape Cod?” (Vote here.) When I voted, the results popped up: 48% YES, 52% NO. Hel-lo? Barnstable County has such a high incidence of breast cancer that Silent Spring is actively trying to figure out why. I would not be surprised if the widespread spraying of DDT on cranberry bogs did not have an influence. Now, NStar wants to spray five herbicides, including Accord, a known carcinogen, all of which will enter our sole source aquifer. “Should towns prohibit pesticide use on Cape Cod?” Duh, yes!! If we have a choice, let’s CHOOSE an alternate method of "pest" control. For the brush, how about goats? If goats have worked in Washington, California, and New Hampshire, why not in Massachusetts?

Update: Today's Cape Cod Times indicates the Wellfleet Selectmen are hard at work, looking for alternatives, which is great news. Check out the article here.