They deserve their own magnificent kitchens in heaven. Because Lord knows, they won't stop cooking once they get there. In fact, they wouldn't know what to do with their hands if it weren't for whisks and electric mixers.

Sweet Jesus, help me. I'm sick. I ate too much pound cake and ice cream after supper. Now, no matter how still I lay, the world won't stop spinning. I had to unbuckle my belt just to keep from passing out.

This is all my wife, Jamie's fault. She's a feeder. And if you know "feeders," you know their God-given roles in life are to stuff you so full you need help getting your own pants off. It's in their blood.

The truth is, feeders are God's gift to humanity. They were sent to earth to baptize us in trans-fats and peppermill gravy. And they don't get thanked nearly enough for it.

They work their fingers raw. They'll stir a pot of collards in one hand, and knead dough in the other. They'll glaze ham, chop coleslaw, fry chicken, stir grits, and buy you a new pair of stretchy pants, all in the same day.

My wife descends from a long line of feeders. Her father was a

card-carrying feeder. Whenever you wandered past his kitchen, you got pimento cheese on Bunny Bread, one slice of pound cake, Coca-Cola, and some Pepto Bismol.

He was the kind of fella who'd go to the trouble of preparing a nine-plate breakfast, just because it was Tuesday. Who'd spend eight hours on a steak supper — complete with sliced tomatoes. Who kept a can of bacon grease on the counter, and used a dollop in everything from turnip greens to Raisin Bran.

Feeders are special folks.

They deserve their own magnificent kitchens in heaven. Because Lord knows, they won't stop cooking once they get there. In fact, they wouldn't know what to do with their hands if it weren't for whisks and electric mixers.

These kind souls believe all your troubles can be treated with chicken and dumplings. And if you waltz through their door wearing a sad face, they'll start flouring up…

On Easter Sunday, I did both. While cheerful folks sat in the chapel, I hiked through the brush, plodding through the creek, toward the Buick. I climbed onto the roof.

It was the worst Easter Sunday ever. People arrived to service dressed in pastels, wearing those big soupy grins. They were happy people. No. Worse than that. They were families.After Daddy died, we were half a family.

In the woods behind the church sat a rusted Buick with busted windows. It was the perfect place for sitting. Or crying.

On Easter Sunday, I did both. While cheerful folks sat in the chapel, I hiked through the brush, plodding through the creek, toward the Buick. I climbed onto the roof. I loosened my green tie, rolled it into a tight ball, then flung it as far as I could.

I hated that thing. It was my father's. The same necktie I'd worn to his funeral only six months earlier. It still smelled like him, which made me sick to my stomach. And then I started sobbing.

I was interrupted by footsteps in the brush. It was Phillip, who was a few years older than me. He climbed up beside me. “You didn't want

to hear the sermon today?” he asked.

I didn't answer, because I didn't give a cuss about sermons. Six months after your daddy dies, the last thing you want is to hear some fella yapping about the joy of the Lord.

“You play first base, don't you?” Phillip asked. “Hell, I ain't no good at baseball.” He removed his necktie and tucked it in his pocket. “Don't you hate ties?"

Silence.

"You know," Phillip went on. "My daddy left my mom and me before I was born. Shoot, my buddy Billy, he don't even know if he HAS a daddy. And Roger Allen, his daddy died when he was just a toddler. Lots of us ain't got daddies, you know.”

I said nothing.

"I suppose," he said. "What I'm trying to say is, you're part of our club now.”

He nodded toward two boys in the distance. It…

Not that it matters what I think, but this world is a mess. Open your newspaper, turn on your television. Selfishness is for sale, and it's selling at clearance prices.

New Orleans, Louisiana: I once saw a teenage boy, lean as a two-by-four, tap-dancing on a sheet of cardboard. His brother beat a plastic bucket with drumsticks. The percussion got faster; so did the kid's feet. Before long, fifty spectators had gathered. The kid danced until he broke a sweat.

For his big finish, so help me, the kid did a backflip. I found myself applauding and carrying on.

When the boys finished, all they'd earned were seven dollars in tips. I know this because five dollars in that box came from me. The disappointed young dancer swallowed his pride and yelled to everyone, “God bless y'all!”

And he looked like he meant it, too.

Chipley, Florida. Piggly Wiggly. A young girl and her boyfriend stood ahead of me in line. Her, with a baby on her hip. Him, covered in sawdust. On the conveyor belt: basic groceries, baby food, diapers, and formula.

The skinny boy reached into his pocket to pay. When he did, the manager came over and whispered

into the young man's ear, then winked at him. The kid put his wallet away, and with sincerity he said, “God bless you, sir.”

They left with a full buggy.

Mobile, Alabama: my truck broke down. It was raining. And during the dark-ages, before cellphones, to be stranded meant exactly that.

Four Mexican construction workers on their lunch break approached me. One of them was a mechanic. He fixed my truck right there. I tried to pay him, he refused. He slammed my hood shut, shook my hand, and left me with a "God bless you, my friend." He said it in such a thick accent I almost missed it.

Not that it matters what I think, but this world is a mess. Open your newspaper, turn on your television. Selfishness is for sale, and it's selling at clearance prices.

But to those of you who tap dance; who…