I grew up in a matriarchy. The women of my world doled out both punishment and reward. They were strong, brave and, in my eyes confident. They knew all and they were always right. They did it all, they organized life. If you got in the way, you were shuffled away with a swipe of their butt. Their female voices a constant nattering buzz around my head.
They baked cookies, squares, jellyrolls and bread; the cornerstone of any social gathering. I know how to kneed bread from watching my grandmother throw the entirety of her thin, frail frame into the heels of her hands. So many conversations happened over the ingredients of these baked goods. Yet, none of them taught me how to make biscuits.
Biscuits are finicky things to make. You can’t over mix them and at the same time, you need to make sure the fat you choose is well incorporated. They are simple, they are either light and fluffy or hockey puck substitutes. I learned to make them by watching and listening. Every now and then on Sunday nights, when Mom went to church, Dad would make my sister and I a batch of biscuits to eat while we watched Road to Avonlea.
The men of my world were steady players in the background that I rarely paid attention to; like an old country song. The one you don’t realize you know the words to until it randomly plays on the radio. And suddenly the cheesy lyrics become profound and make sense; a life lesson in three to four minutes. One you had already been taught, but did not pay attention to.
I didn’t realize how much he had taught me until I was grown. He dispensed his advice sparingly, mostly because he knew it would fall on deaf ears. Sometimes it was given out of pure frustration and in a really loud voice. He tried to teach us what he already knew, tried to spare us some hard lessons he had learned. He taught me forgiveness, he taught me resilience, he taught me that broken hearts can be mended and that I am stronger than I think.
He taught me to make biscuits.