SARAH BUTLER: Pancakes and Shoe Leather


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.”


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