An Extra Baked Potato // A Tribute to my Baba on her birthday

Over the holidays, I went with Grayson to a coaches dinner. There was a food truck parked in the driveway making fresh brick oven pizzas, market lights strung outside, and a big bonfire in the back yard. At these kinds of things, it’s pretty typical for the men to congregate in one area and for the women to gather together in another, and this night was no different. The coaches sat outside around the fire while the coaches wives talked around the kitchen table for hours.

This sweet group of women is made up of all ages; some of their husbands have been coaches for going on 30+ years, and some, like me, are only in year five or six. It’s a sweet, unlikely bond that I already treasure, but will undoubtably grow to treasure even more through the years. The older I get, the more thankful I am to feel like I fit in a group like this, and reminders of Titus 2 fill my heart with hope that one day I might be a veteran in a group like this making the youngest ones hungry for community and fellowship around a kitchen table.

Somehow, that night in the midst of conversation, the topic of hospitality came up. We were talking about how it’s so easy to just get caught up in your own little world with all the obligations and responsibilities of every day life that it can be really hard to stop and focus on nourishing relationships and welcoming people into your home. One of the ladies brought up how garage doors have killed community, because instead of getting out of your car in the driveway and making small talk with your neighbor, you can now just whip right into your attached garage, close the door behind you, and never have to have any contact with the people living around you (and sadly enough, if the truth was known, most of us like it that way).

That’s when I thought of my grandma and something she used to always do. An extra baked potato, wrapped in foil, ready to go just in case someone stopped by at suppertime. 

You see, she prepared herself ahead of time, was willing and waiting to welcome a knock on the back door, and lived a life that always pulled serving others from the back of her mind to the forefront of how she went through the most simple, everyday tasks. If nobody stopped by, there would be a leftover baked potato and it would get eaten, but if someone did stop by, they never felt like they were imposing, because something had been prepared just for them.

That’s how I want to live my life.

Today would be my grandma’s 87th birthday. My Baba went to be with Jesus five years ago, so she didn’t get to see me walk down the aisle or get to meet her youngest great grandchildren (of the eight that she and my Paw have now!). But, her life and legacy lives on and I think of her often and smile. Even now as I write this, with coffee beside me and babies still sleeping, I long for one more afternoon in the kitchen making snickerdoodles alongside her, or one more morning waking up to the clanging of pots and pans and the smell of her biscuits and gravy.

In her honor, let’s leave our front doors open and spend a little time in the yard talking to our neighbors. Let’s live lives that welcome and nurture relationships, not just lives that find the time when it’s convenient. In her honor, let’s make a little extra supper, just in case someone drops by…

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