Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Big Pink Tribute - Love, Jana

If you missed my husband's tribute to his mom you can read that here. These inspiring words are from his oldest sister Jana:
When I think of my mom, one of the things that stand out in my memory is definitely her food. Her food was not gourmet, or fancy, but rather simple and enjoyable. I know she did not consider herself a wonderful cook, but she did know how to make things taste good, and she loved to try to replicate a recipe she enjoyed at a restaurant.
One of my most treasured possessions is a small spiral cookbook that my mom started for me. There are around 25 recipes written in her handwriting, and I sat and dictated a few more in the weeks that I stayed with her while she was facing her last battle with cancer. Not only did she write recipes in this book, but she also added a bit of the history of some of the recipes, and a few little notes of motherly advice. One of the notes says this:

Jana, remember it is important to have family meals together. Insist on it as often as you can. Even when your children get older, it is so important! Encourage conversation, invite guests, light candles, teach manners (napkin, knife, etc.) Remember Saturday breakfasts and Sunday dinners? We had fun!

P.S. – DON’T leave the TV on during meals!

I love reading this! It is almost like I can hear her voice when I read her words, and that is trulya treasure since it is harder and harder every day to remember those little things about her.
Mom mastered the gift of hospitality, and loved to have guests to eat at our home. Even when our physical “home” was not such a showpiece, most people overlooked it because they felt so welcome. One of my favorite things was when we had guests over on Sunday night after church. We would be standing around talking after church and she would say, “Hey, why don’t you come over to the house and have a little bite to eat? It’s not much, but I will pull some stuff out of the fridge.” We would load up in the car and rush home to make a “meal” from leftovers and what we had in the kitchen. The adults would talk for a couple of hours over their hastily prepared food, and the kids would play. There was almost always some kind of dessert and coffee to end the meal, and sometimes dessert and coffee was the “main attraction”. This is what Mom had to say about dessert:

“When we have family meals together, I always like to have dessert – even if it’s simple. It just makes our time together more special.”

I can almost hear the conversation and smell the coffee brewing now! Isn’t it amazing that food can evoke such emotional memories? Some people may not think that is a good thing, but I wouldn’t trade my memories for anything in the world. If I could have one more day with my mom I think it would be perfect to sit around the table with my whole family one more time and taste the simple goodness of the food paired with the familiar conversation. I would love to soak it all up just one more time! Thanks Mom for the legacy of love and hospitality you left me!
I’ll love you always.

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