I’ve forgotten how June mornings simmer in South Carolina and Sarah lit the stove before dawn as I slept in so drops of sweat immediately form on my upper lip and run down from my forehead when I enter the kitchen. I take the Bisquick out of the brown paper bag on the counter and the milk and eggs from the ice box. Sarah and I chatter while she gets me a bowl and spoon. How hard are Bisquick pancakes? Blend eggs, milk and mix together.
I put the frying pan on the stove, add some grease and give it a moment to heat. I pour the batter into the pan and wait for bubbles to form. I flip the cakes with a spatula. They are perfectly browned. I store them in a pan on a cooler section of the stove. Sarah sets the table and adds the maple syrup and butter. When the last of the batter goes into the frying pan, I call John and Mr. Butler from the porch where they are getting to know one another.
I’ve thought about these pancakes for weeks. Big, thick, warm, buttered and syruped – yum. We sit at the table and Mr. Butler says grace. I set the pan of pancakes in the center of the table. We fill our plates, add the butter and syrup. I take my first bite. No! I make delicious pancakes.
But these are thin, leathery ovals of sawdust glued together by Log Cabin. I watch as the Butlers take big bites, chew and swallow. I look at John, who shakes his head slightly.
My special thank you is a dud.
Mr. Butler looks at me with twinkling eyes, “I know what these pancakes are good for. I’m savin’ mine to cover the holes in my shoes.”