“Tween a Crock an’ a Hard Space”

Hey.  Liam here.  Liam Goodwell.  Of the Denton County Goodwells?

Ain’t no time to lose, not one solitary, indivdi-uary minute!

For Mama’s biscuits r’bout done, n’ I aim to be first in line!

Let me tell you ’bout my Mama’s biscuits.  Just the thinkin’ of them puffy white, barely browned ‘roun’ the edges fluffs of de-light is enough to send me floatin’.  

She starts the fixin’ right after she puts the coffeepot on the stove.  Reachin’ a’waaaay up to the top shelf, jest a board on railroad spikes, she lowers herself down the ancient brown crock known as the “biscuit bowl.”  Now, I always wondered myself jest why it lives so high up, forcin’ Mama to climb upon the red metal kitchen stool ever’ ding dang mornin’.  

Could it be it’s the closest thing to Heaven, as are them biscuits it produces,  in the Goodwell home?

Could it be it’s a place o’honor, them biscuits r’so durned tasty?

Could it be Mama’s hopeful someday she’ll tire o’reachin’ so high an’ give herself a day ‘way from biscuit-makin’?

Law, an’thin’ but the third!

An’ today, wudn’t that day, I thank the good Lord!  I watched, whilst cleanin’ yesterdee’s dirt from my boots with a ol’ horse brush, over to the corner by the back door.  She got her some flour out the ol’ pickle jar in which she stores it.  An’ measure?  I do not believe I ever seen my Mama measure nothin’ when it comes to cookin’.  The good Lord jest put that gift in her head and my Mama, she does her durnedest share her gift with others.

But mostly, we Goodwells.

Well, then she reaches in the icebox, a Frigidaire what struggles on a daily basis, an’ gets her out the eggs and bakin’ soda an’ home churned butter (none o’that Oleo!), an’ then sets to stirrin’.  She puts her heart into this part, fer the biscuit bowl, it’s a mammoth!  This part don’t take long ‘t’all, but it ain’t ’cause she’s tirin’.   She tol’ me once it’s the overstirrin’ of the dough is what makes biscuits tough.  I nodded, I ‘member, knowin’ly, but Law, I cain’t even ‘magine jest what a tough biscuit would be? Like chewin’ shoe leather, you reckon?  

I’ll jest consider myself bless on that count, says I.

Well then, Mama wipes her forehead with the back o’her hand, then sets out the dough to the big wood board Daddy keeps oiled nice fer her.  

Plop.  It comes out smooth, big ol’ mound o’ white slathery dough, specks o’butter shinin’ as she tears off bits and works it flat with Grandmama’s rollin’ pin.  The one with faded and chippin’ black handles.  She’ll set to flourin’ the board and the mounds ever’ so often, keepin’ the stickiness at bay.  Tol’ me one other time too much flour in the mix will toughen them biscuits, as well.

An’ once again, I am blessed.

Now her comes the fun, least fer me.  She’ll glad over her shoulder, fin’ whatever Goodwell youngin’s close, and get them to use one o’her clean wide mouth Mason jars, butter the edges, then let us cut out them rounds o’dough, whist she wisks them lickity split over to the bakin’ pan, slatherin’ ’em one more time with butter.

Efficiency bein’ what it is when it comes to biscuit makin’, I reckon I get the most biscuits rounds from a worked flat o’dough than any one other o’ my brothers and sisters, ‘cept maybe Luce.  She an’ me, we always be competin’.  Mama’ll slip over, gather up the leavin’s with her dusty hands, make us a little bit small flat and set us loose ag’in.

By the time we’re done, that there first batch is plumb fillin’ the room, durn love it, the whole Goodwell house an’ the neighbor’s house near half mile down the road, with the sweet, buttery aroma of what’s to come!

Kitchen’s full now, all us Goodwells know breakfast is nigh, and Mama, she’s not only been a’bakin’, she’s been fryin’ and scramblin’ and fillin’ and juicin’ and settin’ an’ singin’ and hummin’ the whole bless-ed time!

But now?  Now?  We be gettin’ to it!  Daddy and Grandpap, they be findin’ themselves they places at the table, the signal it’s time fer the rest o’ us to set down.  Mama, she likes makin’ a presentation of all her meals, servin’ with a flourish an’ flash, an’ law, it’s worth it!

We bow our heads in prayer, thankin’ the good Lord for our sustance, and prayin’ whomsoever Daddy’s asked to pray will keep it short!

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