The Gift of Grits

My Jim Dandy grits I cooked this morning in the perfect bowl.  Easy to wash out grits--the true test of a good bowl.
My Jim Dandy grits I cooked this morning in the perfect bowl. Easy to wash out grits–the true test of a good bowl.

When I went to bed last night I felt it coming on, and sure enough, when I woke up this morning, the sneaking suspicion that all these sniffles were maybe something other than allergies…..yeah, pretty sure I was right.

So rather than go with my old breakfast standby of a handful of dry cereal or a cup of yogurt or nothing much, I cooked myself some grits.  Jim Dandy grits.

Yuh-ummmmmm.

I love grits.  I don’t know why I don’t take the time to make them more, but today I did.  As I spooned them into my bowl, memories came flooding back of the crisp mornings Mama would make us grits for breakfast before school.  And I realized I had made these today for myself as comfort food.  I felt puny, so I made what Mama would have made for me.

As I stirred them around in my bowl I just about drooled over the creaminess.  I cannot tell you how long it was before I realized that grits weren’t usually eaten as a gelatinous substance.  All my fault.  If I had gotten up when Mama said and been ready to eat earlier, they would have been every bit as creamy as the ones I enjoyed this morning.  But I was not an easy (or early) riser and rarely got to the table in a timely fashion, so gloppy grits it was.  They were still great though.

I miss Mama.  There’s something in the air I guess because we are all missing her more than usual it seems here lately.  I miss calling her and telling her I don’t feel good and she, after assessing I would make it through and telling me so, would give me the appropriate number of “poor baby”s and all would be well.  She would then most likely offer for me to bring the children over and take a nap there.  I didn’t do it often, but when I did that was some kind of good sleep.

We got home a little later than usual today.  After taking our sweet puppy out to do what puppies do, I realized it was almost six p.m., and I still needed to fix some supper.  My first instinct was to pick up the phone.  And call Mama.  Because with us, it didn’t matter the time.

The only time I hesitated to call was late at night, but if it were something serious, I punched in the same numbers I’ve called almost all my life, and the moment I heard her voice, things were instantly a little better.  I remember late one night during the first few months of my first year in college, my roommate and I got a creepy call from someone acting like he could see us. Interesting, considering we lived on the third floor of the freshman dorm.  On an all women’s campus.  Still it spooked us and we called Mama immediately.  I don’t remember what all she said, but I do remember she talked to us and wasn’t mad that we woke her up.  And I slept better after that.

Tonight I didn’t really have anything in particular I wanted to talk to her about.  Just whatever.  I would have loved to hear her voice while I puttered away making the pancakes and fruit for the littles. (Oh, how many meals did I prepare just visiting with her on the phone!)  I could have asked her how to work through what’s on my mind, and she would have known just what to say.  She would have laughed at the stories of the stuff the littles do and listened about how potty-training the puppy is going.  Nothing overly special or important.  It’s just she was my best friend, and I miss her voice and her heart and her love.

So grits, thanks for the trip down memory lane.  You are as quirky as you are delicious.  I love that no matter how neatly I eat my grits, I always inevitably find one little grit somewhere on me later in the day. (How does that even happen?) And pretty much, you are the best ever–so versatile– breakfast, lunch, or supper, you’re fashionable at any meal.

Tonight I’m thankful for the ones who answer their phones now–I am lucky to have them to listen and encourage and laugh and cry with.  I’m grateful for my Mama, who always answered and listened, who loved me through my puny days, and who always, no matter how tired she probably was, made us a good breakfast to start our day.  It’s taken me far too many years, but I now appreciate what a gift that was.  Actually, what a gift SHE was.

Love to all.

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