By Shirley Felts
It was a Sunday morning before Church. The usual rush of cleaning up breakfast, thinking about afternoon play, and Mama’s issuing commands (that we knew by heart but didn’t listen to very well) was made a little different by our paternal Granny who was visiting from New Orleans.
I was on my way to the dog food bowl with a plate of what I thought was scraps, when Granny’s high pitched; “No!” stopped me in my tracks.
“Ma’am?” I asked, pulling the plate closer to my body as her finger waggled at me.
“Don’t throw those biscuits away,” she said, her gray head shaking.
“Well, Granny, I think everyone’s finished.”
“There’s this afternoon and tomorrow,” she was quick to inform.
“Mama has rolls rising for lunch,” I told her, nodding to a muslin covered bowl. “Under the towel there.”
About that time my little sister Dedee came galloping through the kitchen in a new frock Mama had cut out and sewn the week before.
“I’m ready!” she yelled at the top of her lungs.
Granny skimmed her over and announced, “Pretty dress. Shoes are dirty.”
Dedee dropped her chin to her chest, staring painfully at the black patent baby doll shoes she was so proud of. “They are?”
“They are!” Granny stated in that no-nonsense voice of hers. “Hand me a pinch off one of those biscuits, Annie.”
Though I thought the small woman should be plenty full after three biscuits and a big bowl of oatmeal, I held the plate her way.
“Just a pinch of one,” she said again. Dutifully I broke off a piece and handed it to her.
“C’mere, Dedee. Stick your foot up here,” she ordered. Dedee plopped down on her behind and hung a heel on the bench near Granny’s knee. “See,” Granny shook the piece of bread at me, “besides making good tomato sandwiches or an afternoon snack by poking a hole for a dollop of molasses, this is as good a patent leather shiner as you’ll evah get.”
With the now prize morsels in my steady hand and Dedee pushing upward on her palms, we both watched as Granny went to work on the shoes, polishing to mirrored perfection first one and then the other.
“Nope, I don’t reckon I recall evah throwing a biscuit away.” She drew back and eyed her work. With a nod she declared, “Biscuit pudding to biscuit polish.” Satisfied, she took a lace handkerchief from her bosom and brushed loose crumbs from the shoes and off the bench into her hand.
“Thrown away a lot of stuff in my lifetime,” she said, “but nevah a cold biscuit that I’cn remember.”
Shirley Felts writes to Ye Editor: “I was raised in Mississippi, born in Collins but lived most of my life in Crystal Springs. This story above is true, one of many in a collection I call Cold Biscuit Stories. I now live in Tennessee, but most of my family are still in Mississippi, so I travel back and forth a lot, always visiting Porches when I come home. It is one of my favorite places. Folks in Mississippi KNOW what good food really is."
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