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Remembering My Grandmother

Edna White was not one for inactivity. When reflecting over the almost 45 years I had the honor of calling her Grandmother, I can barely recall a moment when she wasn't up and doing something. In the greater part of her 93 years, she was busy as a beaver. Bright eyed and bushy tailed: that was Edna Lois.


Some of my earliest memories of grandmother were of her cooking in the kitchen - a memory that would be recreated again and again throughout my life. I don't know when it happened exactly, but somewhere before I was old enough to know, Grandmother had become the Chef de Cuisine of southern cookin'. Maybe she learned this skill while growing up with very little in the Depression Era, learning to work magic with simple potatoes and onions. Maybe she learned this skill while raising 3 young children on the meager income my Papa was able to provide; but somewhere along the way, that woman learned to work the miraculous with her cast-iron skillet. And I guarantee: you could search the world over and never find anyone who could prepare cream corn like my Grandmother White. I'd bet the farm on that.


Grandmother always found a way after a family meal to make us a little something sweet. While we were eating, she was still standing in the Kitchen cooking. Busy, busy, Edna Lois. Countless times our family gathered around her little table to enjoy her delectable fried corn & fried 'taters with garden-raised purple-hull peas & vine-ripe tomatoes. And after the meal was done, we would push ourselves back from the table, bellies so full that the men folk would undo their belt buckles, and we all, with faces smiling, swore we couldn’t eat another bite. But right about that time, Grandmother Edna would say, “I’m poppin’ the fried pies out of the grease! Get ‘em while they’re hot.” Edna's Fried pies.  The “piece de resistance”. Those were the magic words – the words we needed to somehow, drag our already grease-ladened bellies over to the stove & make room for Grandmother's flaky, one-in-a-million fried pies. And though my Papa had sugar diabetes, Grandmother would always makes sure he had his share...and then fuss a conniption at him, screeching, "Daddy!" when, with a wink in his eye, he came back for seconds. But in Grandmother's kitchen, there was always room for more.


As much as I miss my Grandmother’s cooking, it’s not the apricot pies that were essential to our family; those disappeared in a flash. What was essential in that kitchen and in ALL of Grandmother's activity, was what remains to this day: the memories and foundation of a godly heritage that my Grandparents instilled around that table; a biblical bonding of love, peace, and relationship that was exemplified, not just in their home, but through their very lives. Edna Lois was rarely found sitting down, it is true; but when she did slow down long enough to be still, she was often found on her knees in prayer. I spent the summer of 1991 living with my Grandparents and I witnessed first hand that, as bed time settled in on their little house, they would turn around and make their couch and recliner an altar of intercession. I will never forget the sound of their cries rising like incense to the Lord. They cried out for their church. They cried out for the kids. They cried out for the grandkids. They unashamedly lifted their voices and added their prayers to the Great Cloud of witnesses in which they are now a part.


Because of my grandparent’s faithfulness, ministers of the gospel have been raised up out of our family tree. Now the following generations gather their own families around their tables, and consistently share the Kingdom of God with their loved ones, occasionally over fried potatoes and cornbread. My Grandmother understood that true essentials are not weighed in the temporal pleasures of this life but in the eternal ones established in our hearts. My Grandmother understood this eternal principle: when the wise have feasted at the table of the Lord and find their heart so satisfied with His word that they think they can’t take in another morsel, they still hear the Spirit call from the kitchen, “I've got something sweet for you. Come, taste and see that I am good.” My Grandparents taught me it's not enough for a wise Believer to be satisfied with a “Sunday meal” in a church sermon or a one-time touch from the Lord at the altar. After all, in God’s family kitchen, there is always room for more. And that's the lesson my Grandmother taught me above all.

 

In all of her busy-as-a-beaver activity of cleaning this and cleaning that, Grandmother knew the call to “taste and see that the Lord is good” is the call to pull yourself away from whatever else has your attention - which in Edna's case, what held her attention ranged from sweeping leaves off of her roof when she was 80 years old to washing her dishes in the sink before she put them in the dishwasher. But she knew, to answer the Call to taste and see that the Lord is good meant she must push herself away from all of that and come get what the Lord has prepared at His table. And because she answered that call, she is now feasting on the Great Reward that her faith laid up for her in heaven and the Father is saying, "Well done,".


Edna Lois was never one for inactivity, and I know that still applies. And although heaven's streets won't need to be swept nor their dishes washed, I am certain she has found the very activity she was made for eternally: lifting her beautiful, endless song of worship to the Lamb who was slain; an activity she never has to stop. And maybe it's not theologically sound, but I can imagine now in Glory, that the table the Lord calls us to has more than just spiritual food on it: I bet it also has some gloriously prepared taters and cream corn, that even Heaven itself marvels at. I'd bet the farm on that.

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