Giving is for the Birds

I read the simple message while driving to work that morning. It was quite a few years ago but I remember the church’s sign: “Give To Others – Sacrifice” was its straightforward directive. As I pondered those words, I noticed another sign at a fast-food place across the street.

“Try Our Blueberry Biscuits”

Those words required no pondering.

I would indeed try them. Having ample time before work, I would even go inside to sit as I enjoyed their flaky goodness. I could smell the biscuits when I walked in to place my order. On a large rack behind the cashier, someone from the kitchen drizzled icing generously over a dozen or so freshly baked blueberry delights. I ordered two.

After all, the sign had clearly indicated plural.

My mouth watered as I sat at a table between a window and a row of potted palms. I spread my blueberry biscuits before me, smelled their warm icing, and heard their plump blueberries call to me. I noticed movement on the other side of the potted palms but excitement over my biscuits kept me from looking up. Just as I was about to pick up the first biscuit, the movement stopped and I heard a woman’s voice.

“Are you Jesus?” she asked.

Not sure I had correctly heard such a question, I wiped the anticipatory biscuit drool from my mouth and waited for a second.

“Are you Jesus?” she asked again.

I turned to see a frowning elderly woman staring through the potted palms. I assumed she might be homeless when I saw her. Her clothes were frayed and wrinkled, and although her hair was pulled neatly back and held in place by a clean red ribbon, she was otherwise very disheveled and dirty. She carried a soiled tote bag on her arm.

“Are you Jesus?” she asked me for the third time. She frowned a bit harder.

I admit that I slid my blueberry biscuits away from her and towards the window on the far side of the table before I responded.

“No Ma’am”. I said. “Definitely not.” I spread an extra concealing napkin over my biscuits.

I thought she might leave once I cleared up that little misidentification, but she lingered quietly by the potted palms. I kept the biscuits covered and willed my salivary glands to cease working. She edged closer to my table. I pushed the biscuits closer to the window.

She sat down across from me.

My biscuits cooled, my mouth watered, and guilt crept over me as I remembered the first message I had read that morning. “Give to Others – Sacrifice”.

Well, great. Why did I have to see the church’s sign just before being shown the door to blueberry deliciousness! Oh well. I removed one biscuit from its hiding place and slid it towards the elderly woman.

“You can have this.” I said.

She said absolutely nothing but took the biscuit, wrapped it tightly in the napkin, and slipped it into her tote bag. She still frowned. Not even the slightest smile.

There. I had “given to others”. I felt better, she had eagerly taken the biscuit, and as soon as she got up I could still enjoy the one I had left. I could smell it there under the napkin.

She didn’t get up.

“You have a good day, Ma’am.” I said, thinking she might move along.

She still didn’t get up. She frowned at the lump under my napkin.

I had already checked my watch several times and knew I had to get to work soon. I just wanted to eat my blueberry biscuit! I had done what the church sign said. I had “given to others”!

Well, the sign had said a little more than that, I thought as the elderly woman frowned persistently.

I uncovered my second biscuit and handed it to her, saying nothing. She took the second as eagerly as the first. She wrapped it quickly, slipped it into her tote bag, and walked to the door to go outside. She frowned all the while.

No matter, I thought. I could simply pick up another biscuit, or two, on my way out.

“We stopped making blueberry biscuits twenty minutes ago.” the cashier said. “No more back there.”

My stomach growled. So did I. One of my biscuits handed to the elderly woman was “giving”. Both of my biscuits handed to her, now that was “sacrifice”! But, she would enjoy them I kept telling myself, as I imagined her biting into the icing covered blueberry treats.

As I headed to my car, I heard their wings flapping before I saw them. Pigeons. So many pigeons flying in that they blocked my view of what attracted them. Then, through an opening in the flock, I saw what they were after.

An elderly woman with a tote bag. She crumbled and tossed piece after piece of blueberry biscuit into the air as pigeons scrambled to eat them.

She was finally smiling.

Stuart M. Perkins

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106 Comments

Filed under charity, help, Humor, life

106 responses to “Giving is for the Birds

  1. I absolutely LOVE your writing…so inspiring! Your stories remind me of the parables Jesus told. Definitely subscribing.

  2. What a great story…absolutely beautiful. Sometimes you may not know how or why when you sacrifice, and even startled at situations such as your beautiful/fragrant biscuits being used as bird feed…but if it brings a real smile, all is worthwhile.

  3. What a great spin and an enjoyable read! Thanks for sharing your talents with the rest of us.

  4. I love this story! It made me laugh because of the surprise and visual of it. Great writing.

  5. I love love love this story! Thank you for sharing. You honestly can never tell where things can go.

  6. Annette Rochelle Aben

    did my heart good to read this… thank you

  7. Stuart, Enjoyed very much ‘Giving is for the birds.’ Liked how the different threads in the story intertwined. Thank you for your like of my Starbucks diddy – much appreciated!

  8. What a wonderful story…You had my attention all the way and a really great ending. 🙂

  9. Stuart, What a wonderful post. Smiling I knew as soon as you hard the russle of the palm that your muffins were as good as gone. I wasn’t surprised when you couldn’t get more that day, because had you, then in reality you had made no real sacrifice. But I didn’t really expect to see the little old lady sharing your muffins with the birds. That did put real meaning to the sacrifice. Like i said, great post. Thank you, Bill — also thank you for visiting my blog again and likeing another of my posts. I do appreciate your time.

  10. Hmmm, she was smiling, but were you? I enjoyed how you wove your story and took us with you into the fast-food place. I am thinking about the sacrifices we make for people, and how they sometimes ‘waste’ it, and what our reaction should be then.

  11. Oh my goodness, this is hilarious! You are a great storyteller! I can see the whole thing playing out in my mind. I literally laughed out loud when you said “I ordered two. After all the sign did indicate plural.” I. Loved every bit of this story. Things like the events of this story actually happen to me.

    • Thanks and glad you got a laugh. It really did happen which is why it was so funny to me too! Everything on my blog is true which makes it really fun to write. So many cool things happen to all of us every day, we should all write them down! Thanks again, Stuart

      • This definitely brightened up my day. I agree, our day to day lives make for some good reads to others. By the way thanks for reading and liking my post today!

  12. netwmn2

    Your blog made me smile. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  13. Hi there. I just nominated you for a “Readers Award”, http://timelessmama.com/2014/04/25/readers-award-thank-you-thank-me/
    Thanks for following my blog

  14. You are such an amazing storyteller. I am not sure if I should smile or feel bad.

  15. I laughed! I laughed harder! Then I shouted OMG–fabulous ending!!!

  16. I absolutely love this!!!!

  17. I truly enjoyed this….well done!

  18. Great story! I agree, we should all write what we live. Some of the most interesting and hilarious stories come from experience. Thanks for the like!

  19. A lovely story, the way the earlier sign “intruded” into the interactions with the woman and convinced you to give away those delicious blueberry biscuits. The birds, no doubt, were happy; the woman, hopefully, content. And you?

  20. Ah well! At very least the birds were happy!

  21. wow, really beautiful.

  22. Just read your post- so thought provokig. Sorry that’s so lame- not so much left in me at this time of night. Very beautiful and honest. Bare. Honest. You sacrificed and found out later. No matter. No matter…

  23. Lovely!! Wow, the lady was so demanding!! She came a crossed you and sat down until you gave away or rather sacrificed your biscuits!! May be she wouldn’t have if she wanted them for herself.
    Absolutely wonderful story!

  24. Sometimes we just don’t know what will bring a smile to people faces. Sorry you missed out on the blueberry biscuits but this was a great story. Hugs

  25. Hi, thank you for liking my poem To Sleep. I am happy to have found you, your blog is full of the wonderful everyday stories I so love to read and ponder upon. Glad to have discovered you. cheers.

  26. Loved the twist at the end! (It packed a punch!)

  27. Oh dear. No good deed goes unpunished. Hilarious.
    Writer Chick

  28. I loved this story all the way through…especially the surprise ending and the clever title. ;0)

  29. Loved :”anticipatory biscuit drool.” That there is a pearl. You could hire this piece out for priests and ministers for their Sunday sermon and homilies. It’s great how you are continually learning throughout the story right to the bitter end … when you’re not smiling … but she is. You felt more obligated to sacrifice, and it’s great you did, but she actually found joy in her sacrifice. This appeared to be the major revelation of them all, which you (if so, I commend your honesty) or your character had missed. Nice piece, very nice. I’m a blueberry fan too. I’d read this before, and read it again, and thought I’d say something this time. Cheers.

    • Thanks for your comments, especially this one since it reminded me of layers to this story that I didn’t even notice at the time. And yes, it was me she mistook for Jesus – and me who gave away the blueberry biscuits. All of my posts are things I’ve seen, done with friends, etc., although I do change my friends’ names since I mainly write about their odd moments! They know though, and love it. I use the real names of my family members though. They deserve the credit for lessons I feel I learned from them. Thanks again for reading and for the great comments.

  30. Well you WERE Jesus even it it was to one elderly lady who needed to feed the ‘five thousand’ pigeons. Great story; you rock!

  31. Pingback: Giving is for the Birds | havau22

  32. with out the rich heart,wealth is an ugly begger,good post.

  33. Pingback: Costa Rica | Are you happy?

  34. I enjoyed reading your blog about giving. My novel, The Tithes of March, also has a similar underlying message about giving. I am a huge fan when it comes to giving to the needy, or to a worthy cause. I’m not, however, a big fan of giving just to be giving. It’s also a good feeling when the recipient is thankful and appreciative.

  35. “[B]ut she actually found joy in her sacrifice.” She did not sacrifice. Her intent was to feed the birds, but apparently she had nothing to give herself.

    The chicken and pig analogy teaches us that it’s nice to give and takes nothing from us that we cannot afford to give anyway. The pig in this story teaches us that giving until it hurts is true giving.

    You obviously gave until it hurt. Like Jesus, you wanted to get away without giving all. You learned, like Jesus knew, sacrificing for another leads to the joy of the recipient.

    Think of our fallen brothers and sisters who gave their all in the protection of others (e.g., military, police, and fire personnel). Their sacrifice leads to the joy of others.

    As children we’re taught to share what we have. Jesus, however, taught us sharing isn’t enough. I think that’s the point of your story.

    Thank you very much for sharing this story. Your expert command of the story-telling is amazing. I felt like I was sitting there with you watching as events unfolded.

  36. …so funny…thought I’d pee! 🙂

  37. True or fiction, your real life parable wrested from me the first good belly-laugh I have let loose in ages. And that is the beauty of true sacrifice, you can never tell the amazing ways in which it will enrich the world around you. Kudos and congratulations.

    • I’m laughing because you laughed! This one is true also. I even point the place out to my kids now and then when we ride by. The place still serves blueberry biscuits all these years later!

      • Well then I sympathize with the loss of your muffins, but I appreciate the compassion that forced you to give them up. I feel certain such a gesture will not go unrewarded in the larger scheme of things.

  38. Stuart, I have finally found the first article I have read from you! Just wanted to do some reading out loud and decided to randomly stop at one of your articles. So happy I have found this again! (Another one I’m going to print off and staple to my wall!).

  39. jewels45

    All of your stories are fabulous! Will have to read more tomorrow. You paint such wonderful visuals!

  40. Beautiful, thank you for sharing:)

  41. crazycrafterparuli

    Your struggle with the biscuits is hilarious!

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