Thank you to Jane Jensen, the second of our two submissions tied for third place, for reminding us that it is never a bad thing to have the ingredients for a chocolate cake pre-measured and ready to go.
The most important thing I learned from my mother is to be prepared. Our home was always tidy but there was cleaning to do before the weekends in case someone dropped in for a visit. Monday was wash day; Saturday nights our clothes were laid out for Sunday services. Shoes were polished, my offering for Sunday School was tied in a hankie and safely inserted in the pocket of my dress or coat. The Bible memory verse was recited to her and I’d better not embarrass her by flubbing up or forgetting.
Our clocks were all five to seven minutes fast so she could sit down and have a cup of coffee before going out the door. And heaven forbid if someone dawdled. She would not be late. My mother never drove so Dad drove us everywhere. “If that bell is ringing, don’t think I’ll walk into that church!” This was said in a no nonsense tone and we knew. If you had an appointment at 9:00 and you got there at 9:00 you were late because you had not gotten yourself prepared for what was to come such as questions for the doctor, or by walking in last you drew attention to yourself, another big no-no.
But Mom had a true servant’s heart. She gathered our favorite things to eat throughout the year for our big family Thanksgiving meal. Her grandsons loved black olives, there would be two cans. My brothers were hearty eaters so a big ham was purchased ahead of time, and the freezer held chickens ready to be fried and sometimes a turkey. At Thanksgiving she started making all her various cookies which were sealed in coffee cans and kept in the cold back porch until Christmas, unless her eight grandsons found them first!
I can still see on the counter a large glass jar that held the correct measurements of flour, sugar, cocoa and baking soda. These were for a cake so that all she had to do was add the eggs and other wet ingredients. When the phone rang that company was coming, quick as a whistle she had a cake in the oven and the coffee pot was always hot.
Mom always thought of others and was often the first or second to bring a meal or cake to someone who had experienced a death. She would think ahead to what we wanted for Christmas gifts or birthdays and made us feel special. When I turned 18 she had the place, food and decorations all in mind before I asked. All I had to do was write the invitations.
She lived well into her 80s, nineteen of those years without Dad. She knew where he was and where she was going, trusting in our Lord and Savior, Jesus. She was well prepared.