6:45 a.m., and I’m in a hotel elevator talking with my father, which wouldn’t be strange, except that he died several years ago.

We’re discussing breakfast: he’s pro, I’m con. “Most important meal of the day,” he says.

I disagree, although I’m willing to concede that breakfast might be the most important meal of the morning.

To the casual observer, it looks like I’m alone. I’m headed down to the lobby, then over to a nearby conference center to give a speech.

I’d woken up at 5 a.m. to go running, part of my regular routine. My father never “went running.” He preferred golf.

Now, after exercising, there’s little time for anything else. Before my father showed up, I’d decided to skip breakfast.

“Big mistake,” my father chimed in around the 18th floor. He’d never been shy with his opinion.

Since his death, he and I occasionally have these imaginary conversations. Nothing mystical about it—it’s easy to imagine anyone’s advice.

Upon reaching the lobby, I veer off to the dining room, sit down, and order some yogurt and fruit.  I picture my father sitting across from me. He’s dismayed by my breakfast choices.

“Why not eggs and bacon?  And what’s wrong with home fries?” My father loved food like that.  He lived till 88.

“Live a little,” he says, “you’re going to die anyway.”

My father had been a bombardier in WWII.  He flew over 30 combat missions. He knew death.

I don’t think my father ever ate yogurt.  The entire concept of “Greek yogurt” would have baffled him.

Oh well.  I finish breakfast and head to the conference.

Turns out, there’s a limit to how much advice you can use from anyone, real or imagined.  Even from someone that you loved.

You could even do it over breakfast.

© Copyright 2018 Paul Hellman.  All rights reserved.