For years now members of my family have been telling me that I am a great deal like my paternal grandmother. I knew there were similarities, but the real connection didn’t hit me until this morning, when I came in from working in the garden and had a biscuit for breakfast.
Let me explain.
My grandmother, Emma, had a great, huge garden sprawling up the hill in back of her house in West Virginia. Every morning during growing season, she would be out on the hill tending to the garden. She’d sit down on her heels and scootch down a row of beans weeding and picking at the same time. When she got to the end of one row, she’d stand up and stretch, then start down the next row.
In addition to beans, Emma grew tomatoes, peppers, corn, beets and all kinds of greens. She could have set up a vegetable stand in front of her house and made a small fortune. Instead, she canned what she didn’t give away. Family and friends always knew where to come for fresh produce.
Emma spent endless hours in her garden, and when she broke for breakfast or dinner, her food of choice was always a biscuit. Not just any old biscuit, but a baking powder biscuit that she could make like no other, except for my Aunt Opal, Emma’s oldest daughter.
Accompanying the biscuit for breakfast might be an egg or a piece of fruit. I had mine this morning with a peach. Dinner — lunch to city folk — was biscuits and beans. Supper, the biscuit might give way to a pan of cornbread with the beans and a sliced tomato.
Like Emma, I am drawn to the outdoors and to gardening. Even in this Texas heat I am out early in the mornings weeding, watering, trimming, or whatever needs to be done. And I have a pasture to maintain. Grandma never had large animals. Just a few chickens, and they don’t leave great gobs of stuff that have to be shoveled and carted off.
My garden isn’t as big as hers was, but every time I go out to do some weeding, I think of her. Sometimes I even sit on my heels and try the scootching thing. And this morning when I broke the biscuit into my bowl, the connection to her was so strong it stopped me for a moment.
What an amazing thing to know that people are never really gone forever. Some part of them still lives on through us.
I hope you enjoyed the biscuit, Grandma.