Plain beauty

Categorized as  daily bread,  heritage,  prairie,  wheat, 60 Days of Beauty

I come from a long line of Plain People.  Known as Amish and Mennonites, they were salt-of-the-earth farmers and craftsman who worked hard with their hands, scratching a living from the earth.

By family history, my great-grandfather arrived on the plains of Kansas as an infant, making the journey in a covered wagon.  Though he and his parents eventually moved east and settled in Ohio, my roots are still there, strong and deep, on the Kansas prairie.

I remember visiting Grandpa’s wheat farm during harvest time, watching the combine move down row after row of golden grain.  We played in the back of the wheat truck, my cousins and I, running the kernels through our fingers and wriggling our toes down deep.  We’d chew and chew on those nutty-flavored grains until it turned into gum.

The women of the family worked hard, helping with farm work and raising vast gardens.  In the summer heat, they canned and canned, putting up vegetables in preparation for the upcoming winter.  They were keepers of the home, those hardy women, passing down the skills of homemaking to their daughters and granddaughters. 

It was as they worked alongside their girls that the stories of the faith and their own personal values were passed on.  In the kitchen, at the sewing machine, while cleaning the house, or diapering the newest baby, they handed it down.

They were cooks and bakers by heritage and by necessity, usually with little extra to purchase boughten items in town.  They butchered their own meat and preserved their own produce, and they baked their own bread.

It was my mother who taught me this art.  Though she was no farm girl, she was and is a homemaker at heart, known in the community for her delightful bread.

As a 12-year-old girl, I learned to make a batch of homemade bread using Mom’s heavy-duty Bosch mixer.  Later, as a young mother, it was Mom who gifted me one Christmas with a Bosch of my own and gave me the community cookbook, which has her favorite bread recipe. 

Over the years, I’ve called her with questions.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to make it so it’s aaallllmost like hers.  Over the years, this skill has blessed my family and others as we’ve had opportunity to share it. 

As I look at these golden loaves resting on my counter, I think of those beautiful women who came before.  I think of those who will come after, and I breathe a prayer that they, too, will be ones who follow hard after Him and who leave a godly legacy for yet another generation.

“Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” – Psalm 90:17

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