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

109 Comments

Filed under charity, help, Humor, life

109 responses to “Giving is for the Birds

  1. Pam Smith

    Awesome blog. Thanks.

  2. DianeAP

    I enjoyed it – and I’m smiling. Great story.

  3. Love the ending. Now I have a hankering for fresh, blueberry muffins.

  4. Love it! It just leaves me with one question: did you ever return to try the blueberry biscuits again, or were you afraid to? 😉

  5. Oh Wow! I loved this! I felt your pain and sacrifice, but then also your joy! Thanks for writing it. Blessings.

  6. Joyce Carter

    Stu,  you never disappoint me when I read your little stories.  

  7. Riveting, as usual Stuart! Thank you for the smiles 🙂

  8. a wonderful tale about someone who had nothing, yet felt a need to feed something she felt was perhaps in more need than herself—and perhaps it was the pigeons who she felt were perhaps her only friends—-a wonderful reminder to all of us who have more than we need–even when we have multiples.
    He didn’t say give only half of what you have—He said to give it all.
    Thank you—and blessings—Julie

  9. pi314chron

    What a “hook” at the end. Of course, I was hooked as soon as I saw you were the writer! Masterfully told, Stu!!

    Ron

  10. annkantx

    You made me smile.

  11. Miss Fredy Malarky

    Lovely 🙂

  12. Wonderful story, loved it! I burst out laughing at the end, feeding those precious biscuits to the birds. I hope you went back another day and had one they must be delicious.

  13. Thanks for stopping by my blog; looks like we were thinking along similar lines yesterday, but your story is much more captivating. 🙂

  14. cardamone5

    “Toppins, toppins, toppins for the birds”…that’s what I thought of as I read the last bit. Such a great story. Nice way to demonstrate the practice of biblical lessons, both on your part and the lady. Beautiful.

  15. Mythoughts76

    Bluebery muffins are a poor choice for breakfast anyway!

  16. Superb story – so much to ponder, too! Do we have a right to decide how “our sacrifice” is used by the recipient? Or, once we have given, is it totally out of our hands?

  17. Cynthia

    Excellent! 😉

  18. She did enjoy them….feeding birds obviously brightened her day. Giving was successful:)

  19. The way you juxtapose the two slogans and brought them together at the end is great. Maybe the older woman was right after all? Maybe U R ? ? Maybe when giving we all are ?

  20. Oh my! I have missed your tales. Such amusing twists!

  21. Absolutely wonderful story!

  22. What a beautiful piece.about sacrifice. True sacrifice is giving unconditionally to the undeserving. Did the birds deserve your gift? No more than we deserve the gift given to us.A masterful piece of work! Thankyou, Stuart

  23. Ha, loved it, especially the end.

  24. Aww, she is the truest and best giver. Expecting nothing in return. Lovely.

  25. What a great story! You had me laughing at the end. I really enjoy your writing style. It’s simply delightful. 🙂

  26. I like how she doesn’t smile until she is “in her element” of giving.

  27. The Accidental Activist

    Love this 🙂

  28. Made me laugh! No good deed goes unpunished!

  29. Oh how true,..and a dilemma we often choose in our own denial not to look at. Thanks for reminding us.

  30. Love this- great Monday story.

  31. What a beautiful story. 🙂

  32. Laurie

    Brightened my day! When I see a blueberry biscuit, I’ll think of you both. Thank you.

  33. maabbott3

    Love that she smiled as she fed the birds. What a wonderful act of obedience on your part. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

  34. Enjoyed you heart-warming story. I have been away from blogging for a few weeks, and so much appreciated the first blog post I had a chance to read in a while. Your stories always resonate. You have a gift, and it goes well beyond biscuits.

  35. We have a fellow here in Cowchip Alabama who has made a living writing this stuff for the local newspaper. The difference in his stuff and your stuff is that his stuff is crap and your stuff is the cream in the puff. Well done! Well done!

  36. I enjoyed this story very much. What’s more, I couldn’t possibly have predicted how it ended.

  37. Ha-ha! So it is the pigeons that rule the world, not us!!

  38. Really like this story. You seem to have a lot of angst surrounding food…I can understand that. Such an important element in our lives…Tongue in cheek.

  39. Thoroughly enjoyed that!

  40. tellthetruth1

    What a Disney moment. Or Looney Toons? Someone oughta make up a sound effect for the frustration you must have felt. I heard Mutley noises for you, Stu!

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