Years ago I wrote a poem about a little log house in the country that felt magical- that was my Grandmommy’s house. Growing up, it was one of my favorite places to go. Not because the house itself was all that special, although it was to us, but because of the way I felt when I was there. That was primarily because my Grandmommy had the gift of hospitality.
When you went to Grandmommy’s house, you were home. From the waterbed downstairs to the secret closets big enough for kids to camp out in upstairs, from the staircase that was perfect for putting on shows to the shed out back that beckoned us to come and create masterpieces from scraps of wood- it was full of fun just waiting to happen. The log house in the country was perfect for making memories with cousins during holidays and summer visits. There was literally a mountain in the backyard we could climb- what else could you ask for?
Grandmommy’s territory was the kitchen. She knew how to cook southern food like no one else. And when I was young, we could put in our requests before we arrived and she would have the menu all planned out to try and accommodate our wishes. Most of those wishes tended to be sweets- tea cakes, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, ho cakes, pancakes, homemade ice cream, Mississippi mud…this was her wheelhouse. You could almost bet on her kitchen island being covered with ziplock bags full of cookies when you arrived at her house. She also had a cupboard underneath the island that held candy- every kid’s dream- and we got to fill up a bag of sweets to take home with us when we left. Ok, sometimes maybe we snuck in there a time or two during our stay, as well.
Not only did Grandmommy cook for our family, but she was always out delivering food to others, as well. Whether they were sick, needing encouragement, requested it, or just because, there was always a bag or two of cookies we weren’t allowed to touch because they were being delivered to someone else. Everyone knew to look for her food at church potlucks because it would be the best thing there. She was never loud or boastful about it- you would never know what was hers unless she mischievously pointed to it when you asked. But her heart and soul went into the food she made for others. I have tried to re-create many of her recipes and they never turn out like Grandmommy’s. She had some secret way about her in the kitchen…either that or she left out an ingredient in the recipes she gave us so we would always need her to make it for us.
All the time we would be with her, Grandmommy would be quietly serving and hosting and taking care of everyone. And when we were all there at once, that was quite a job! She would wake up before the rest of the house and get things going in the kitchen. But many times when I walked down the stairs in the morning, if I happened to catch her not in the kitchen, she would be in her recliner in the living room, Bible in her lap, pen in her hand. She loved God’s Word and made it a priority in her life. A few years ago I found myself having my quiet time with the convenient Bible app on my phone rather than holding an actual Bible in my hands, and I realized, I want my children to see me just like I saw my Grandmommy. If they happen to catch me up before the sun, I want them to see me, Bible in my lap, pen in my hand. Just like that image is set in my mind of those early mornings at Grandmommy’s house, I want them to be set in my children’s.
Grandmommy was quiet and steady, helpful and kind. She didn’t make a fuss…unless it was about making sure the television was turned to Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy every night. She put up with our shenanigans and taught us to appreciate gospel music by listening to Gaither Homecoming videos every day. She humbly took care of people and used the giftings she had to show us all that serving Jesus can be as simple as bags of cookies and heartfelt prayers.
Grandmommy made the trip to her heavenly home last night and, although I am sad that our days of making memories with her are over, I rejoice that she is where she longed to be. Her body and mind have been made whole, and she is with Jesus and Grandaddy and my Uncle John now. She was my last living grandparent, and I am so grateful for the love and the legacy she has left me. I hope that I can faithfully serve my family, community, and my Savior in the same way she did all her life.
Grandmommy, I love you. Thank you for always welcoming us, spoiling us, and showing us Jesus. I promise to do my best to keep your memory alive in the kitchen and in my heart. In the sweet by and by we will meet on that beautiful shore, and I bet Jesus will have enlisted you for a chocolate cake at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. I’ll be looking for it.