I LOVED walking into my mamaw Barker’s house each year at Thanksgiving and smelling turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, and LOVE. My mamaw would get up at 5 am to start cooking the BIG feast that would feed our big family of 25. She would wear her apron and smile and her servant heart could be felt a mile away. As a little girl I begged my mom to take me there early so I could be her “big” helper. I am sure I was more of an annoyance but she she taught me how to chop celery at age 10 and I could see the JOY in her eyes as she showed me recipes written in her beautiful handwriting. Each year I loved getting her cherished homemade recipes out and helping her for hours prepare such LOVE for the family.
It was easy to be THANKFUL and JOYFUL around my mamaw, I watched her each and every year with such awe. I will never forget when the tradition started to shift due to the dreaded words “breast cancer.” She physically couldn’t prepare such a feast, so she would walk me and my aunt Sherry through each recipe and would help as much as she could. Her LOVE and SWEET touch to each recipe was still there because her smile and servant heart surrounded us. The weaker she became we all knew that the tradition would inevitably change.
She went to be with the Lord in 2006 and I will never forget my heart aching for her smile. She was the secret ingredient that made our family special. She was the heart beat to every Holiday meal, birthday celebration, and family tradition. My aunt Sherry and I vowed to take over and prepare the feast. For the last 9 years we get her hand written recipes out and pray that mamaws LOVE would overflow in each dish.
This is the second year my husband and I have hosted at our house and many of our family members will pitch in on the meal. I will wake up, put my apron on, and show my family mamaws servant heart. Thinking of her smell, her joy, her love, and her willingness to work hard for us each year makes my heart ache. Even though the tradition has been tweaked we will forever be grateful for mamaw for being the special ingredient that made our family authentic. I pray I can give each dish some extra splashes of my mamaws LOVE and each year we feel her smile all around us.