by Wendy L. Macdonald
Recently, I repeated my grandma’s tradition of cooking up a storm when a family member, who no longer lives at home, came for dinner; I also learned a valuable life lesson.
My grandma’s kitchen always had sweet stuff going on in it whenever I visited her home, especially “pies-a-plenty” that were baked with love. I have to tell you it didn’t matter how full you were after a tantalizing dinner of roast chicken, from the garden green beans, and mashed potatoes overflowing with hot and delicious homemade gravy, there was always room to spare for a piece of Grandma’s apple, cherry, or whatever pie a la mode. She baked as deliciously as her welcoming smile that greeted me each time I entered her cinnamon-scented house.
Now, years after her passing, I thought of her as I sprinkled silky flour and plopped a lump of piecrust dough onto my own kitchen work island. I remembered her flaky pie crust as I rolled out mine and worked it only until it was the right size, shape, and thickness. And when I peeled and sliced up cool tart apples into a glass bowl and stirred in sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice, the aroma took me back to her dinner table. As I crimped the soft crust between my finger and thumb, with all the dedication of a sculptor—in my attempt to make my pie look more like a Martha Stewart creation than a granddaughter’s humble rendition—I marveled at how Grandma’s pies always looked and tasted sweeter than anyone else’s.
Grandma lived through the Great Depression and through the death of parents, siblings, her husband, two children, two grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Her wrinkled hands rolled out oodles of pies over the years, wiped away a few measuring cups of tears, and sprinkled sand over too many loved ones.
I sprinkled sugar over the pie crust and slit holes for steam to escape, as I struggled to hold back tears of my own. I haven’t lived through a Great Depression, but I’ve already sprinkled sand on some late family members I once served apple pies to. They no longer visit my dining-room, but I wiped away my grief with the heavenly hope I have of feasting at the longest table ever to be set, where we’ll dig forks into mouthwatering pies baked with perfect love in the hereafter. It’ll be as grandmotherly scrumptious as the company we share, regardless of what they’re called, for a pie by any other name is just as sweet.
And for now, on this particular day, I didn’t just roll out a pie crust, I rolled out the red carpet for a son who came home for dinner. And while I ran around the kitchen and made sure this and that was done as perfectly as I could do them, I realized why my grandmother did what she did every single time I showed up on her doorstep – Love!
Love motivates, empowers, and propels us into servant mode because real love wants to give more than it takes. So the life lesson I learned when my son ate, drank, and made merry before he took the leftover chicken and apple pie with him to his own home is that I received so much more than a table of dearly loved guests, I received the gift of passing on the sweetness of having someone honor you.
Love honors others. Love hovers over the dining room like a chandelier—except the light is powered by God-given-mama-love as I held each guest tightly to my heart.
And when my son thanked me, I saw a glow in his eyes of a young man who’d been honored. I saw what Grandmother saw in mine—love.
Wendy L. Macdonald is a Canadian, inspirational writer/blogger/podcaster who also loves to photograph nature. When she’s not writing, drawing, gardening, or sewing, she enjoys hiking, with her husband, in the beautiful parks of the Comox Valley. She homeschooled her children and believes all those years of reading wonderful classics aloud helped develop her love of storytelling and writing. Wendy invites you to visit her blog: www.wendylmacdonald.com , where you will find nature photography and links to her “Daily Bread” style Facebook page and other social media sites. Her passion is inspiring others to walk with faith, hope, and love. You can hear her podcasts at: www.hopestreamradio.com/program/walking-with-hope .
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