I'm ashamed to admit it, but here goes.
The first bagel and cream cheese I ever ate was out of a refrigerated vending machine on the campus of what would become my undergrad alma mater.
There, I said it.
It was wonderful experience which to this very day, I can recall vividly the explosions of foreign taste and texture wreaking havoc with my tastebuds.
I bring this up because since those days when my friend Randy and I were taking college extension-type classes to "get ahead" during our early high-school years and would scrounge the campus vending machines for contraband nourishment, I have managed to avoid eating nothing but bakery fresh or at the very least, prepackaged "bakery-aisle fresh" bagels.
With the levels of modern consumable transportation and fast food service gluttony reaching near perfection in this country, there are literally no excuses left for why a person should be subjected to satisfying their onion bagel and cream cheese cravings from a refrigerated or frozen environment.
Now, when I say onion bagel, I'm talking ONION. Not just some dried onion flakes sprinkled on the top in the last few minutes of baking. The onions need to be lovingly folded and made as one with the circular doughy delicacy. Ideally the top should be sprinkled with freshly oven-carmelized slivers of yellow onion, the tallest of which made crispy by their proximity to the heating elements in the horizontal surface toaster (never toast a bagel in an upright...yikes).
These are the onion bagels with which I spent my youthful adulthood eating, and these are the onion bagels of which I thoroughly craved.
Yet, here I was in my small town looking at the plain, blueberry and raisin bagel offerings that my local grocery store and Walmart bread aisles had to offer, and facing the fact that it was either settle for a non-onion flavored packaged store bought bagel of passable caliber, or face a possible interface with a low-to-medium quality onion bagel a mere 60 miles or so away at a Dunkin' Donuts or Panera Bread (they don't make onion bagels, but their Everything variety is decent) in the city.
Then I stumbled upon the frozen food fridges at my local super market and the sight of a green Lenders label jogged my memory. Lenders -- frozen -- bagels.
And green was their chosen color for their onion variety. (Why green?)
Now, why would I choose to go with a frozen bagel over a "fresh" packaged one from the bakery aisle? It was that green label. I figured if I was going to eat a bagel to satisfy my cravings, it might as well be the variety for which I wanted. Frozen or not, it was somebodies interpretation of an onion bagel and I was going to give it a shot. A long one.
Which later found me sitting in my kitchen spreading garden vegetable Kraft brand "schmear" over the freshly thawed frozen onion bagel, and flashing back to my first bite oh so many years ago.
I had come full circle. My life journey is shaped like a bagel.