Virginia's Best Biscuit Flour


After 172 years the Big Spring Mill officially closed up shop.

Virginia’s Best flour biscuits have been sticking to Quesenberry ribs since long before I was born, before I had my first memory of slapping the ball of dough with my properly floured, pudgy toddler hands in my grandma’s dark paneled kitchen.

Dense, dry, and heavily floured, these aren’t the Wendy’s biscuits eaten out of a paper sack in a foggy 6 AM parking lot before heading to the creek below Paint Bank Hatchery; they’re not the ones into which you watched Aunt Bea folded fistfulls of butter on the little kitchen T.V. that sat between cookie tins of fabric scraps and mason jar rings and last Christmas’s peanut butter balls.

These are Linda Jane’s biscuits: they make a schlucking sound when they fall cut out of the wide mouth of the mason jar. They dust your teeth and stick in your throat. They aren’t made with love, they’re made for love–they hold the sweet jam of last summer’s blackberry harvest, picked with gnarled arthritic fingers attached to thornscraped arms, bloodied by the bramble and by the unseen blacksnake who took her for some huge red-feathered bird lost on the high mountain road. They hold the thick slice of the garden tomato, gently inspected with piercing blue eyes under a sun-furrowed brow more rutted by the twitching of the cancer scar that itched pink with new flesh taken from her own thigh.  We ate them with her love while she ate hers from a tea-stained Beamer Ball cup, mixed with milk and stabbed to mush with a spoon until she could move it past her stiff, stitched jaw.

The biscuit sticks to her ribs. She returns to the sun-bleached beach chair, ripping and splitting the corn husks, breaking half the cobs in her swollen boney fists. She looks at us running through the yard and asks, laughing, if we’re ready to help can the succotash for next year.


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