A mother’s love is as good as a pan of biscuits

Published 9:02 am Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I know that Mother’s Day was last week and I wrote about it but this Sunday I heard a line that was too good for me not to mention today. We were spending some time Sunday morning allowing all who would to speak words of remembrance or honor about their mothers. Everyone who spoke gave beautiful endorsements of what their mothers had meant to them. Others who did not speak were thinking the same things, I’m sure.

One fellow hit the nail on the head with profound words that all of us understood. I wish that I had said them first, but I say them now in this piece.

First of all, let me say that both of the churches I serve are comprised of successful people. I don’t mean rich people, but people who are blessed to have enough. They don’t define “enough” by bank accounts or family estates, although some may have plenty on those levels. “Enough,” for them, is defined as having all they need.

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This fellow spoke of his life, as a child or young boy, as one where there was never plenty of money. “Momma had to work.” Contrary to what the myths have been told of the good, old days, mommas have always worked and many have had to leave early in the morning to help make ends meet.

Making those ends meet reminds me of the famous Rudyard Kipling verse, “Oh, East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” Kipling was writing of cultures that will never see eye to eye, but I’m thinking of those financial ends that are so difficult to meet and sometimes don’t.

“Momma had to work,” he said with emotion and went on to say that, before she would leave in the morning to go, she would make a pan of biscuits for the family to make sure they had “enough” to eat. He was right to equate the love of mother and that pan of biscuits.

I know a good line when I hear one and any line that includes a pan of biscuits is a good line. I think everyone in the church understood what a pan of biscuits meant. In fact one gentleman, who hailed from a family with more than just a few children, told me afterwards that his momma had to make two pans of biscuits for them!

After the service, I began to think of all the children growing up these days who might never know about a pan of biscuits. If child abuse wasn’t such a serious subject, I might equate the rearing of a child without knowing about biscuits as child abuse. It’s not the lack of the pan of biscuits that is the abuse; it’s the absence of care that goes into making them.

A pan of biscuits takes some time and effort. There is no magic in the metal pan or the Martha White, the oil, or the butter milk. It’s not magic, but it is very special. It is the love that is transferred from the heart and hands through all of those ingredients and then, after they come out of the oven all hot and tasty, into the mouth and heart of the recipient.

I may be getting too sentimental about this food, but it could make all the difference in a life. Perhaps it doesn’t have to be a biscuit. It might be an ear of buttery, boiled corn. It could be a bowl of little, red potatoes surrounded by a thick soup of milk and butter. I know a momma whose home-made oatmeal cookies say “Son, I love you very much.”

It’s not a money thing. A pan of biscuits or a few ears of boiled corn or whatever comfort food floats a child’s boat doesn’t have to cost any more than we have. I see lots of buggies full of food these days in our grocery stores. Much of it is bought by taxpayer supported programs. I don’t think Americans resent our families having food to eat. I know I don’t.

At the same time, I don’t see enough of the makings for biscuits or a home-cooked meal. I see too many chips, cookies, pork skins, high-in-sugar, fruit flavored drinks. Those don’t take any time and they don’t do anything good for the soul of a child. Yes, that’s a judgmental statement and it may not be my place to say such a thing or tell anyone what to feed a child.

But let me use another saying that involves food. Someone said, “The proof is in the pudding.” I know that the words I heard on Sunday were proof enough for me that something made from flour, oil, and buttermilk and from the heart and hands of a loving mother gave a young boy a feeling of being loved and, when he said it, you knew he felt it. In addition, he has turned out pretty good.

I’ve got a feeling that, in a few years, we might be hearing from other men and women. Will they feel the same way about the cheese puffs and pouch of fruit drink they remember? And will they have turned out so good?

It remains to be seen. I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. In 40 years, that little boy may have grown up into a successful man and have tears in his eyes as he remembers his mother and her hard work and efforts to provide for him. I hope so, but, as for me, I am delighted to have my foundation laid upon a solid metal pan of biscuits. That’ll stick to your ribs and carry you a long way in life.