Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Oh! The Price of Biscuits and Gravy

Leeuna Foster

The waist is a terrible thing to mind.

However, it's hard to ignore it when it starts to hang out over the top of your jeans. Unfortunately, if you live in the South where the four main food groups are flour, salt, sugar and lard, (pronounced shortening for you Northern folk) then you have a good chance of expansion...and a good chance of developing one of those terribly expensive diseases you can't afford, nor spell, nor pronounce.

I wasn't always round. I was a very skinny child, all hair and eyeballs. I have naturally curly hair and my mama refused to let me cut it until I was thirty or thereabouts. You could have drawn two big round eyes on a rag mop, stood us up side by side, and we would have been twins.

I ate what everyone else ate, but I stayed skinny, all the way through school and up until my mid-forties. Then I became very content with my life, and happy as a pig in a mud hole. And just as plump. I kept packing on the pounds like a groundhog getting ready for winter.

The bathroom scales screamed and ran away, each time I attempted to weigh myself. I was offered the sturdiest chair in the room when I went to visit my friends. The one-size-fits-all clothing no longer fit my bovine frame, so I resorted to wearing bed sheets, along with a Big Agnes camping tent on the colder days. I asked Hubby if the sheets made me look fat and he said, "Sweetie, it doesn't matter what you wear, so long as you are comfortable." Loosely translated, that means, "You look like a hippopotamus, and the fact that you're wearing a purple satin bed sheet is NOT the reason."

Even my hair felt heavy, and instead of breathing, I huffed and puffed like the Big Bad Wolf if I did anything to overexert myself, like standing up or rolling over in bed. In order to see anything up close, I needed three pairs of glasses and a microscope, and I was about as full of energy as a dead house cat with mange. I decided it might be a good idea to seek medical advice.

Now, my hubby calls me Sweetie, my mama calls me Honey, and the grandkids call me Mamaw, so I'm used to being called by different names, but when I finally went to see my doctor, he called me a really ugly name. He called me a diabetic. As if the sharp needle that his nurse jabbed into my arm (ten times) wasn't bad enough. Lord have mercy, is that any way for a doctor to treat someone who is paying him twenty dollars a minute?

According to the doctor, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c (a simple lab test that measures the average amount of sugar (also called glucose) that has been in a person's blood over a period of three months) should be around 7 or below. Mine was 14.3. My blood sugar had been at a constant level of 400 or above for many moons. I had won the World Heavyweight Championship title for Type II Diabetes.

I was immediately handcuffed, taken into custody, and sentenced to a life of eating nothing but weeds and twigs, green vegetables, raw fruit and no bread. Gone were the days of freedom where I could eat fried pork chops, biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes, wash it all down with a huge glass of sweet tea (with real sugar), and finish it all off with an entire chocolate cake topped with a half gallon of vanilla ice cream.

They made me eat smaller portions and reduced the size of my dinner plate. So I was served my weeds and fruit on a small plate about the size of a silver dollar. Gone was the overflowing platter of macaroni and cheese, the cornbread and beans, the fried potatoes, and the sweet, sweet tea (with real sugar).

If I really had to have sweets, I ate jello sweetened with Splenda. The first time I tried it I was amazed. My stomach began making noises that sounded like Mt. Vesuvius. I think Splenda must be the active ingredient in Ex-lax.

However, since I was feeling a lot better after the medication started working and my glucose levels were beginning to return to normal, I have stayed with the diet of weeds and roots. It hasn't been easy. Sometimes I get so hungry I could eat a pile of dirt...if it was mixed with lard and sugar and shaped like a biscuit.

I am once again using the bed sheets to cover the mattress, and I put the tent away. But now when I put on my clothes, they still look the same as they did when they were on the hanger. I am nothing more than a bone with hair and eyeballs, and I look exactly like my rag mop.

I think I'll get us both dressed up, draw her a pair of big round eyes and go have our picture taken. I'll be the one on the left with the short hair.


Leeuna Foster is a self-syndicated humor columnist from East Tennessee. She writes a weekly humor column for her local newspaper, The Valley Beautiful Beacon. Visit to read more about Leeuna and her work.

© Leeuna Foster

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012