Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The kitchen table...
There were meals. Lots of home cooked meals. For holidays and common days and Sundays, too. She made her own barbecue sauce in a little pot on the stove top. She put bell peppers and mushrooms in her spaghetti, which I thought was weird as a child. I picked out every single one on my plate before I would take a bite. She made vegetable soup from scratch mixing in whatever she had handy in the big freezer and throwing in a little elbow macaroni for good measure. Her pound cake was divine, and she needed no recipe to pull it off without a hitch.
There were perms. Home perms. I would sit in one of her wooden chairs atop a phone book or two. She would open the box, separate all the contents, and flatten out the directions and go over them like she had never done it before. She had this tall plastic cup she would fill with water to dip her comb in before she pulled a perfect little segment of hair to wrap up in the roller. She combed, rolled, talked as I held the little tissue paper squares and tried not to scratch my scalp. We rinsed in the kitchen sink and held our breath when the process was over hoping the results would be worthy of a smile.
There were patterns. Some small, some big. Thin maize tissue paper and strong shears. Shapes and pieces that looked insane on their own. She would cut, straighten, and pin on the surface of that wooden table. Pieces of fabric would become a dress or a skirt in no time at all. She could make anything out of what looked like nothing to me. Some tissue paper and fabric became an Easter dress or a jumper for school right before my eyes, and I thought it was amazing.
There was talk. Many words. Some I simply absorbed in my early years. Others I equally participated in as I grew into maturity. There were plans discussed, disappointments hashed out, laughter shared. There was seldom an ill word that crossed her lips, but when they did, it was more than well deserved.
The common thread in all that was shared at that simple wooden kitchen table was love. Not a common love, but one so broad and deep that it can't be expressed in words. It reveals itself in home perms, in handmade dresses, in words of wisdom and shared tears of hurt. It weaves itself beautifully into the fabric of who you are in a way that can't be worn down by time.
My sweet grandmother, Mattie Olivia, 92 years old, went to be with Jesus last night. She is at rest. She is restored. I don't have the knowledge of what heaven is like; I only know what I see her doing there. She's got a big table, bigger and grander than any she ever dreamed of here on earth. Spread before her are beautiful fabrics, lovely shears, pins of gold. She's got a bounty of fresh vegetables and not a speck of dirt underneath her nails. She sits at that table with her daughter she lost tragically so many years ago and the mother she lost when she was only six. There are others there, too, others who she's loved and lost along the way. Their souls are reunited, and they are surrounded by the most amazing light of mercy and love we will ever know.