A Taste of Home

“Home is more about people than it is about place.”

Quoted by Craig Hobbs

I got a haunting sense of home one day. I tasted something and it took me back.

I was in my daughter Audra’s kitchen watching her young and skillful hands preparing supper for the family. She was busy. Audra is a slow cook, but you know it is going to be delicious and well worth the wait. She chatted with us while she worked, and we sipped black coffee and watched.

I looked at her open shelves of home canned tomatoes and pickles, apple butter, strawberry and peach jam, cookbooks, and her antique canning jars endowed with beans, rice, walnuts, lintels, raisins, oatmeal, etc. Among them, I reached for a jar of dried sour cherries. It is a taste I love—tangy—so different from sweet red or bing cherries. These were from Michigan and I ate a couple of them as Audra lifted a pan of chicken into the oven.

Suddenly, I was in Michigan. I felt the air off the lake behind Mama’s house. I caught the scent of the wind blowing in the window at the far end of the kitchen–Mama’s kitchen.

I remembered picking cherries with my children in an orchard. The tartness in pies and pastries is one taste I love. A sour cherry pie has a special scent–as fine a smell as the loaf of fresh yeast bread Mama pulled from the oven.

I saw the blue speckled crockery bowl of apples on the counter beside a cooling cherry pie. I sniffed the fresh sweet smells of Mama’s kitchen. Coffee was brewing and tea was sweetened in a pitcher for a special supper to be set out on a white lace tablecloth. The basket on the table held an English ivy. Five straw hats decorated the wall at the end of the room. I could envision Mama choosing one to wear on a sunny afternoon trip to the Lake Michigan beach.

I saw the blue Mason jars Mama used for flour and sugar and oatmeal canisters. I listened to her tell about the trip on the Traverse Bay in a small sailboat that belonged to her friends, Dave and Sharon. She turned the chicken in her electric skillet and started a salad. People passed back and forth through the room. Voices stirred. Conversations ebbed and flowed just like Audra’s kitchen. Many hungry tummies waited for that fried chicken. We would gather soon—a room of faces: sisters, brothers, parents, sons and daughters around the table, to eat and talk and laugh.

Dad would finish his nap on the living room couch, then after supper, he’d stand on the dock wielding his fishing pole. We’d clean up the supper dishes and then take a few minutes to relax and chat on the creaky old porch glider. We’d watch the grandkids run and play and swing on the rope swing in the apple tree.

For just a few minutes I felt at home, because home is not so much about place as it is about people.

“A father for the fatherless and a judge for the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity. Only the rebellious live in a parched land.

Psalm 68:5-6 NASB

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