Did you have the privilege of knowing your grandparents well? I lived over a thousand miles away from my paternal grandparents. My maternal grandmother died when I was young so I don’t remember her well. One week out of the summer we packed into the family station wagon and made the long journey to Wisconsin to see my dads’ relatives. My parents drove in shifts to get there in less than 24 hours while we slept. They would be exhausted but we kids were ready to play. We were always made to feel special when we came.
I remember being in my grandmothers’ kitchen while on vacation. I sat on the kitchen chair as she began to measure the ingredients for a cake. Grandma didn’t use measuring cups all the time. She would scoop the flour with a regular coffee cup and used a cereal spoon to measure this and that. Somehow, she knew that it was just the right amount. She had a big mixing bowl with a standing mixer which I thought was pretty special. I watched as the mixer whirled the ingredients together and she let me taste the batter before we put the pan in the oven.
We always had dessert after dinner at Grandmas’. It might be some cake, pie, pudding or just a bowl of canned fruit. It would be no surprise to you that both of my grandparents were large people. Grandpa loved his sweets. He loved a slice of white bread with butter and honey on it for a snack which I thought was odd. A favorite cake of mine is Grandmas’ refrigerator cake. It is a variation of a “poke cake”. It is called that because you poke holes in the baked cake with a toothpick and then pour concentrated dissolved jello into the holes. It is one of the few family recipies that I have and I like to make it for our summer family reunion.
Long distance phone calls were expensive in the ’60s and ’70s so throughout the year we would receive cards and letters in her large cursive handwrriting. I still have a few letters she sent when I was in college and my aunt told me that my picture was in her bible when she died. She prayed regularly for all of us.
My grandparents raised six children through the Great Depression, a seventh child died at only a few days old. They made sure the other siblings didn’t forget Ruby. Through the years they suffered the same hardships as many others, such as a son serving in the Vietnam war and death of another daughter by car accident. But they loved God, attended church faithfully and trusted in His provision and faithfulness. Grandpa was a volunteer with The Gideons so the importance of Gods’ word was impressed upon my young heart and I saw Grandma reading her black leather bible at the dining room table and pause for prayer.
There were 25 grandchildren altogether so you can imagine how large the summer reunion picnic was. Grandma never learned to drive and they never owned their own house. But many people were recipients of her embroiderd handiwork on table scarves and pillow cases. When we came to visit I remember a lot of story telling and laughter coming from all the grown ups. They didn’t have much as far as the world would count but thay enjoyed the simple things of life and blessings money cannot buy.
I was blessed to also have a godly mother who read and prayed with us and served our local church in many ways. Many other women throughout my lifetime have taught me how to love my family, trust God in difficult circumstances and use my gifts and abilities for Him. Remember, “godly” doesn’t mean perfect but growing in grace. On this Mother’s Day weekend take a few moments to reflect on the godly role models you have known during your life. A grandmother, mother, aunt, neighbor or an older woman (women) in the church. Thank God for what they taught by their example and ask Him to help you pass it onto the next generation.