“A Bite of Grace,” column for May 20, 2014

Do you know what it’s like to move freely through time, to see the past, present and future all at once, and sense a connection to all that’s gone before, all that is and is still yet to come? Yes, I do mean without the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

When it happens in a church it’s called a sacrament _ a baptism, communion or other religious ceremony _ an outward symbol of an inner grace to remind us of the mystery that somehow we are all part of the circle of life. It is a sacred and holy thing that isn’t limited to a church pew. It can happen any place, any time.

But when it happens in a kitchen, it’s called a biscuit.

As a child, after my parents split apart, I fell into the chasm between them and found it hard to climb back out. Lucky for me, I had my grandmothers. They had spent their lives mending and patching and salvaging all sorts of things that were broken or tattered or torn.

They were good at it. And that is what they did for me, little by little, bit by bit, with stitches of love, scraps of hope and the bonding glue of belonging. They made me feel whole again.

One morning my dad’s mother taught me how to make biscuits. First we washed our hands. Next we gathered the makings: flour, buttermilk and lard that she measured from memory. We stirred it up, patted it out and cut it in circles. I did most of the work, but she helped. I plopped them in her cast iron skillet and she slid them in the oven of the wood stove. Then came the hard part: We had to wait.

While we waited, she told me that she had made biscuits with her grandmother long ago and maybe someday, I’d make them with my grandchildren, too. I laughed trying to picture it.

Finally, when the biscuits were golden brown, we took them out and split them open to slather them with her handchurned butter and her homemade blackberry jam. She ate two. I ate four.

They were good. I wish you could’ve tasted them.

A lifetime later, just last week, I spent a morning with Henry, my 2-year-old grandson, just the two of us. I don’t get to see him and his cousins nearly as much as I would like, but I fly in for visits as often as I can and we make the best of it.

On her way out the door to teach school, Henry’s mama grinned at me and said, “I bet Henry would love to help you make biscuits for breakfast!”

First we washed our hands. Then we gathered the makings. Henry peeled the wrapper off the can and I rapped it hard on the counter to pop it open. He did most of the work, but I helped. He plopped them in the pan and I slid them in the oven. Then came the hard part. We had to wait.

While we waited, I told him that I had made biscuits with my grandmother long ago and maybe someday he’d make them with his grandchildren, too. He laughed trying to picture it.

Finally, when the biscuits were golden brown, we took them out and split them open to slather them with butter and agave nectar. Henry ate two. I ate four.

They were good. Not as good as my grandmother’s, but still, I wish you could’ve tasted them.

Henry and his cousins don’t need mending. Thanks be to God (and their parents) they’re as whole as whole can be. But whenever we spend time together, they patch up little places in my heart that I didn’t even know were broken.

Life itself is a sacrament, an outward symbol of an inner grace that reminds us of the mystery that we are all part of a never-ending circle. It is anchored by the past and given wings by the future, but it is lived only in the present, in the awareness of each precious moment _ in the light that gleams through a stained-glass window or the smell of biscuits baking in the oven or the sweet holy touch of a child’s hand on your face.

Look. Can you see it?

Comments

  1. Lisa says:

    I loved this biscuit article so much that i searched for you on the web and You Tube. Then, I made copies for several special friends snd relatives. You are a talented and very effective writer !!

  2. Margot Kuzma says:

    I love your Column keep it coming you touch my Heart Sharon ,reminds me of the good times wih my Grandmother,when I was a Child and we baked Bread together Thank you Thank you!!!!!

  3. Bebee Dillard says:

    Beautiful…as always. Love your column.

  4. Julie Hodges Dufault says:

    Lord willing… I will be a grandma in the next 10 days. I plan to make biscuits with my grandchildren just like my grandma did with me!

  5. vickie says:

    Your words always touch my soul and cause me to alternately smile and tear up. Thank you for sharing your innermost feelings about life’s ups and downs. You have a real gift. Enjoy!

  6. Connie McClaskey says:

    Loved this article. A tradition in our family with our 7 grandchildren was and IS always making biscuits when we are together. After we cut out the biscuits and place them on the cookie sheets for baking, they take the scrap dough and make faces on the tops of each biscuit. Then when they come out of the oven they cannot wait to grab their own biscuits. Though the youngest are almost teenagers, and the oldest is now 22…we still make biscuits together when they are with me, their Nonnie (and yes…they still “decorate” their own biscuits).

  7. Janice D'Amore says:

    Just had to tell you how much I enjoy your columns. They make me laugh, and yes, sometimes , they make me cry. But, they are always ‘right on’ . I see so much my own thoughts and feelings about life, especially family, in them. Just said in ways I can’t always manage. Thank you.

  8. Maria says:

    Comfort food, comfortable love…what a grand recipe!
    Thanks!

  9. Sandy says:

    Thank you, Sharon, for sharing your treasured memories of your grandmothers and priceless times with your grandchildren. I am certain that there is no sweeter touch than a grandchild’s hand on one’s cheek. My grandmothers were such blessings in my life and they were pretty good at fixing things, too. We had a lot of practice making cinnamon rolls from grandma’s pie crust…..best I have ever eaten. Your writing always touches my heart so deeply and I am grateful. Bless you always.

  10. Sharon,

    I wish you could see my smile. What a beautiful tribute to those who have gone before us, those yet to come, and most importantly, those who make our lives sing. And yes, you and your writing make wonder music for us all.

    Grace and peace,

    Bruce

  11. Ethel says:

    This was a precious article, Sharon. My husband Jack has his grandmother’s recipe and he loves making biscuits with our grandchildren.

  12. Wayne Daugherty says:

    Sharon, I love the way you have told your story “Grace in a batch of biscuits.” I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles in The Star Press, Muncie, In. It reminds me of seeing my wife(Penny) teaching our Grandchildren how to make cookies and cupcakes when they were young. I also saw my mother-in-law do the same thing with her Grandchildren. Grandmothers are special and have a wonderful way showing love to their Grandchildren! Keep on writing your stories, I love them, and God Bless You!

  13. Linda foy says:

    Loved this Sharon. I’m in Charleston this week watching 5 wk old Kate while her mama goes back to school for the last 4 days. Banks and Katie went out to dinner for her birthday so I’m sitting here beside a sleeping Kate. Life is good!

  14. shashi says:

    Beautiful , I waited for another article from Sharon like baked cookies for which you waited long time ago . Really enjoyed reading all the memories weaved into one whole piece with each word taken from your mind . Thank you for sharing with all who are not just readers , like you wrote they are part of your small and big family .

Speak Your Mind

*