birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


As in Christmas and Thanksgiving together. The way I eat “lupper,” instead of lunch and supper. Just one and done. Chris-giving began in Kansas City, far from our Alabama home. Mom was there seeking experimental treatment for Lyme’s disease. She had been there nearly year already. And my brother, JJ, was there taking care of her and planning his next move after his last chef’s position and marriage had gone sour. JJ was miserable, Mom kept having seizures, Dad and I were road weary from driving 12 hours together from Birmingham. Since I had a conference in San Francisco to attend between Christmas and New Year’s, I didn’t want to make trip to KC again. I couldn’t, I claimed and cooked up the Chris-giving idea instead. JJ whipped up a thanksgiving feast. Mom erected a tiny fake Christmas tree in her two bedroom temporary apartment. Dad decided it was high time, his kids joined the great American Black Friday shopping tradition and gave us each $100 for just that. JJ and I called it blackmail money, claiming misery loves company. Dad hums when he has to put up with something he hates, finds ridiculous. When we were kids, Dad hummed his way through every Wal-mart, shopping mall, even grocery store we entered. A $200 pay-off and he wouldn’t have to brave the hordes of elbowing discount-seekers on the busiest shopping day of the year with just Mom. That’s we suspected anyway.

Momma cooking