Tuesday, December 27, 2011


It’s a Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book, circa 1947. 
 She even circled the date, as if to log when she received it. 
The binding is torn, the cover tattered.  Pages inside stained with experiences,
  food spilled and splattered. 
 It opens naturally to a recipe titled, Bavarian Cream
 and I imagine her whipping egg whites by hand, soft and fluffy,
 her face focused and intent on her task. 
She loved to feed.  Growing up on a farm, it was her job to prepare the meals,
 big and satisfying, hearty and complete, for all of the diligent men who worked tirelessly in the fields.  Whatever the task in the kitchen, she set to it with ease,
 so natural her ability to serve and to satisfy all who came to her table. 
She told me as a young teen once, that while her sisters set off to other things,
 it was her alone who responded to the call to nourish the family. 
 She faithfully served her family in this way, until the day her mind left us,
 and she was off to see Jesus, off to the feast he had prepared for her.

I acquired the cookbook, along with an old cookie press,
 her two-toned wooden rolling pin,
and 2 heavy red metal pots,
 since I was the granddaughter who cooked, and might find such things useful.
 I cherish all of them.
 I started learning to cook from her when I was just a young child. 
 I often sensed that she would prefer just to do it, rather than explain it.
Instead she gave in, thoughtfully teaching and encouraging me as I stood beside her
with a dusting of flour up to my elbows.
 Easy with the dough, she would say.  Not too thin, she would remind.  Slow down a bit
She answered my questions tirelessly, her explanations simple and precise. 
 All the while, she talked, shared her life with me, and opened her heart to mine.

One particular Christmas, during my first year in college,
she declared we would be making a gingerbread log cabin. 
 We sat at her small kitchen table, full of sweets for decorating with,
and constructed the biggest, most delightful confectionery dwelling I had ever seen. 
 As we iced and designed, she filled me with hope and encouragement. 
 Words to soothe my anxious spirit, young and ideal, longing for understanding. 
 You can do it, Sarah.  I believe in you. 
Occasionally, my granddad would mosey over to see how we were doing,
 and shake his head at the two of us giggling like little school girls. 
That winter she did more than feed me meals between classes. 
She nourished my immature soul, gave confidence to my insecurities. 
 Doing what came naturally, she poured her life into me.

Ponder these holy words…

 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 
if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 
 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;
if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently;
if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."
–Romans 12:6-9

Today, I give thanks for my grandmom.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandmom and what priceless treasures!

Your words remind me of a favorite quote from St. Francis de Sales: "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

God bless you in your vocation!