Bridget arrives at Mrs. Louis’ house as her phone rings, “Bridget, want to go to the lake with Phil and John? They said a big group is going. It sounds fun,” Josie says. “Oh, that does sound fun and I would but I am here at Mrs. Louis’ house right now. She and I are cooking. I’m learning how to make biscuits.” Josie says, “Don’t you have a recipe for biscuits in your cook book? Wouldn’t you rather hang out with us? How long is it going to take?” “Well, I don’t know Josie, maybe a few hours,” she says. “A few hours,” Josie exclaims, “It’s the last summer fling before school starts. Girl, you got to be the weirdest friend I have.”
Bridget closes her phone and lays her head back on the head rest for a moment. I’m starting my senior year and I haven’t done anything fun this summer, she thinks. She opens the door to get out, but sticks to the seat. Mrs. Louis opens her security screen door. “Hi dear,” she calls. Bridget is out of her car with a jump and bounces into the house. Mrs. Louis already has chicken cooking and right away they make dough and roll it out onto the bread board. Bridget writes down every ingredient and each step as they work.
“Here you go, dear. You may set the table.” Mrs. Louis says. Her place setting is bright multi colored patterns. Bridget says, “I love these colors you selected Mrs. Louis. It makes lunch festive and fun. We’re having a party!” Mrs. Louis laughs out loud. “Good, I love parties,” she says. Mrs. Louis is standing at the stove waiting for the water in the tea pot to come to a boil. “Its cooler outside today than it has been,” Bridget says. “It sure is Bridget,” Mrs. Louis responds, “It’s just a beautiful summer day.” Bridget asks, “Would you like to take our lunch out to the patio?”
“No dear, you sit right here young lady and I will pour your tea.” Bridget does as she is directed. Mrs. Louis places a metal tea filter filled with dried herb in her cup. Her hand shakes slightly as she tips the tea pot and the handle on the pot slides toward the outside of the pot. Hot water spills onto Bridget’s lap. “Oh me, now look what I’ve done,” exclaims Mrs. Louis. Her hands flail about as she searches to find a towel. “I was going to fix that handle and forgot.” It was only after many assurances that Bridget manages to put her friend at ease, “I’m fine. My pants will dry, Mrs. Louis. Here, why don’t you sit down and say a prayer for us?”
Mrs. Louis thanks God for their food, her friends and the beautiful summer day. Bridget pays special attention as Mrs. Louis asks God to turn his attention to those affected by the floods in Pakistan. Bridget adds an enthusiastic, “Amen.” Bridget notices that Mrs. Louis carefully observes what she is putting on her plate so Bridget put some of everything. Only then did Mrs. Louis slowly reach for a homemade biscuit and a small piece of chicken. Her teeth clicked as she munched on the biscuit. “Success,” she says with a smile.
“You know, Bridget you are the first person to learn how to make my biscuits. A lot of people have asked for the recipe and I tell them I don’t have a recipe. I offer for them to come over and write it down as I make them and no one has until you. And you could be at the lake with your friends right now,” Mrs. Louis says as Bridget takes a bite of the square shaped biscuit. The airy bread melts in her mouth. Its creamy flavor is rich as cake. “Umm, Mrs. Louis, these are now my tradition too. I will always make this biscuit recipe,” Bridget says.
When Bridget is stuffed and both are finished eating, Bridget prepares to wash the dishes. “No, my dear,” Mrs. Louis says, “I work hard in the kitchen, and then I relax and visit with my guests. Leave the dishes. It gives me something to do later. Let’s go into the living room.” Mrs. Louis tells stories about coming to America, learning English and getting married. She talks about what a great pleasure gardening is to her. Growing vegetables and flowers also provides her with opportunity to always have something to give to others. “It always makes me feel good,” she says.
Bridget listens carefully as Mrs. Louis talks. She’s never heard any one talk the way Mrs. Louis speaks of her life experience. She is sure that Mrs. Louis is the smartest woman she has ever met and is sorry to leave. “What will you do now, Mrs. Louis,” she says. “I will take a nap, my dear. Then, I will wash my dishes; go out to my garden and work. I will sit in the arbor by the water fountain and watch the sun set.” Mrs. Louis cordially invites her to visit again and Bridget assures her that she will.
Bridget walks with buoyancy to her car. She double checks the recipe. Her treasure is safely resting in her purse. With the radio blasting, she drives to the garden center and then home. Without hesitation she puts the recipe in the sleeve of her most used cook book. Changing into casual clothes, Bridget’s inspiration is fueled by a thought that Mrs. Louis planted in her mind. She puts on garden gloves, puts soil into a large pot and covers seeds of snow peas. She puts the pot in a shaded area of her patio. In another pot, she transplants a gardenia, her favorite flower.
The phone rings as she’s coming inside to clean up. Josie says, “Hey girl, what are you up to?” “Josie! How is the lake?” Bridget asks. “Boring,” she says,” the guys acted like jerks and raced out of parking lot. Bill got a new truck he has to show off. So they left Jill, Lynn and I here alone.”
“So, come over here,” Bridget says. “I’ll make dinner with biscuits and we’ll play a board game or something.” “Girl,” Josie says, “you’re the coolest friend I got. We’ll be right there.” Josie turns on the oven and sets the mixing bowl on the counter. ‘This is the best day I’ve had all summer,’ she thinks.