Tag Archives: biscuits

Know How to Receive This Gift

I owe y’all an update on the kitten! If we’re friends on Facebook, you already know the surprise ending (spolier alert: WE GOT A NEW KITTEH!) As with just about everything in my life, this adventure got me to thinking Big Thoughts that I like to share through Barely Adequate Words.

As soon as I wrote that blog post about the kitten in the tool shed, the kitten left the tool shed. And like the 100% sane and stable person that I am, I  started thinking, “Great–now that I’ve told everyone about the kitten, Huck probably ate it. This is all my fault!”

Nevertheless, the kitten showed up again. Turns out, it was living under the deck, in between the decking boards and the tin roof of the screened porch down below. I caught a photo of the teensy baby one morning when it came out to explore the sourwood tree. One golden leg like something out of a classical myth…

kitty tree

And then I made the mistake of giving Vivi my phone as a distraction at lunch and she saw the photo.


kitty vivi

Operation Kitty Katcher was launched about 20 minutes later when we got home. We deployed cheap tuna fish, long crinkly ribbons from Vivi’s birthday balloons, leafy twigs, and flashlights after dark. Vivi sat on the deck with her tablet in hopes of catching a photo. We got close a time or two, but kitten was too wily.

kitty ribbon

We dropped chunks of tuna fish through the railing and onto the tin roof below. Slowly but surely, the kitten began to trust us. I taught Vivi to tap the spoon against the wood every time she fed it to call the kitten out. We brushed our fingertips against the kitten while it ate. We wiped tuna fish on our fingers and eventually the kitty licked them clean.

kitty catcher

It was so stinking hot that weekend. Yellow jackets like tuna fish–did you know that? Me either. But we kept at it.

At one point, Vivi said, “How do you think the kitten ended up here?” I told her that Nana said Papa sent us the kitten. “I know that’s not really what happened, but I like to think of it that way,” I told her. Vivi knows I don’t believe in any kind of afterlife. Her thoughts flickered across her face then she smiled, “I agree with Nana–I think Papa sent us the kitten.”

We sat there together with our arms contorted through the deck railing, dangling our stinky fingers over the edge in hopes of luring the kitten out. “Well, even if Papa didn’t actually send us this kitten, he taught me everything I know about catching kittens. He taught me where they hide and how to feed them and ways to get them to trust us. He taught me that it’s good to take care of hungry little kittens. So in a way, Papa is part of us getting this kitten.”

This is the first kitten I’ve had in my lifetime that wasn’t handed to me by my father. There were allllll those kittens when we were growing up–Slick, Jasmine, Farrah, Wildfire (I gave my cats stripper names). When I was out on my own and ready for another heartbeat in the apartment, he found Jane for me. The most beautiful meanest butterscotch bitch you ever reckoned with. I thought she might be lonely when I started working full time, so I went back to see Daddy. He reached blindly into a cage of stray gray tabbies and put Mr. Kitty in a box for me. Jane bit him on the neck as soon as he climbed out of the box then she spent the next 15 years hissing and spitting at him. When Jane and Mr. Kitty both passed on, and Richard’s Nixon followed a year later, I went back down to Griffin for Thanksgiving and came back with Rufus and Jinx. Someone had thrown Jinx in a trash can when she was three weeks old, and Rufus had been dropped off in the parking lot. Daddy got an earful when Rufus gave Vivi ringworm right before school picture day. Anyway, I’ve had a good run of cats, thanks to Daddy. But now I’m on my own. And my daughter has been begging for a kitten. I’m the grown up in charge of kitten procurement now.

There are two things we can do for our children. We can give them gifts, and we can teach them how to receive gifts. My dad did both. He gave me kittens. He also taught me how to see kittens as a gift. How to receive another mouth to feed with joy and a light heart. How to see a kitten as an increase in love, not an increase in burden. How to spend a sweaty Saturday stinking like tuna fish and getting a crick in my neck because my daughter wants a kitten to love on. And her mama can give her that gift.

On the Monday before school started, I pounced.

kitty carrier

It’s a girl. She was Socks for a couple of days. She was Sammy Socks for a while. But she does that thing that kittens do–kneading her front paws back and forth with her purrbox cranked up to 10. One time I asked Daddy what the clinical name for that motion was and he said, “Makin’ biscuits.”

Meet Biscuits.

Thanks, Papa.

kitty puzzle

kitty biscuit portrait

Ten Signs I’ve Found the Right Biscuit Joint

  1. Got the last spot in the parking lot at 9:15 on a torrentially rainy Wednesday morning.
  2. The car next to me was a genuine farm vehicle. How could I tell? Because the back seat and floor boards of the Toyota Corolla were covered in loose hay and it was sporting an after-market trailer hitch.
  3. The biscuit joint is located in a gas station. The line snakes back to the energy drink cooler over gray tile that wore down to the subfloor when Nixon was president. There is no ambience, and if you start to think there’s some, it’s the fumes. While I wait, I am free to peruse a revolving rack of “Discount Books,” most of which are about The Lord. (Locals call this place “Jesus Biscuit.”) I reach for the one entitled “It’s Your KID, Not a Gerbil!” before noticing the thin layer of fried bologna grease and motor oil on the cover and changing my mind.
  4. Listing out the biscuit toppings requires a board of the size that you might see in a high school football stadium. Bacon, ham, chicken, steak, five kinds of sausage AND fatback. My Pop would have thought he had died and gone to heaven. Alas, he has died and gone to heaven. Before anyone starts clucking about the dangers of cholesterol, that man ate fatback every time he could catch it and he died at 103. If you don’t know what fatback is, this is probably not the list you were hoping for. I’ll write about kale next week.
  5. Folks in line are not mulling over the menu or reading nutrition information. When they make it to the counter, they bark out “Bologna and fried egg biscuit” or “double red links on white toasted, side a grits and gravy.” The man in front of me ordered “two boloney on white, no toast, lettuce and tomato” and all the woman said was, “Is that it?”
  6. biscuitNot only is fried bologna an option, each piece has that little notch cut out of the edge so it doesn’t pooch up while frying. Makes me miss my grandma. She used to cut a little x in the middle of bologna so it didn’t curl up like a sombrero.
  7. The women working the counter are friendly and efficient. Two of the five people in front of me only had to nod and smile at her to get their orders because they were regulars.
  8. The woman at the counter repeats each order and simultaneously calculates the price in her head while scribbling it onto a brown paper sack. She ain’t got a calculator, but she’s got a neck tattoo. So does the woman working the griddle. Making a living off of gas station biscuits is not a gentlewoman’s game. These ladies have done some living and they got game.
  9. I feel like a dumbass when I say “to go” after my order. “Really, princess? You ain’t gon eat it standing here by the cash register so we can all clap when you’re done?”
  10. Giant flaky buttermilk biscuit with fried bologna and a fried egg=$2.39. The yella mustard was free.

If you’re in Athens, Georgia, stop by the Bread Basket inside the Chevron station on the corner of Boulevard and Chase Street. It’s all kinds of good!

Where’s your favorite biscuit joint?





Vivi and I were clowning around in the parking lot at Lowe’s the other day.  

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you more.” 

“I love you the most in the universe.”

“I love you all of that, plus one.”  

“I love you eleventy fifty zillion billion more much.”

“I love you all of that, plus one.”

“I love you more than mac and cheese.”

“I love you more than butter…but a little bit less than biscuits.”

A grandmother, loading flats of zinnias into her car, had been listening to us and smiling.  When she heard about the biscuits, she hooted with laughter.  She giggled, “Imma have to get that on a t-shirt.”