Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Granny's Pantry #1: The flour box

Pantry: noun:  A small food storage room

My granny’s pantry is a tiny room, maybe four feet by six, entered by a door from the kitchen with a small window toward the smokehouse.  It always smelled like white flour from the flour box that took up the entire wall below the window.  The walls were lined with white enamel- painted shelves which held foods to make the most famous Southern cooks' mouths water.  Plain canned beans cooked with Granny’s attentions became wonderful without equal.  Canned grape juice from the scuppernongs next to the lane below the chicken house was better than fruit from any foreign vineyard.  The flour, milled from the wheat granddaddy grew, became the staple of breakfast and the snacks for the rest of the day—Granny’s biscuits. The pantry always opened with the rattle of colanders hanging behind the door. 
There was always a carton of coca-colas in glass bottles on the pantry floor waiting to have their tops popped so they could be poured over ice for thirsty company (who were always offered a drink).  Or for me
It took me years to understand that I was born in Granny’s pantry.  It came to me like a quiet and profound revelation one day after she died.  While visiting my aunt, who still lives in Granny’s old farm house, I opened the pantry door for some reason I don’t now remember.  I smelled those familiar smells and saw those familiar sights and knew I had come home.  Really home.
Naturally I don’t mean that I was physically born within the close walls of that little room, although I lived in her home until I was three.  Rather, the room defined, without words, my heritage. It wasn’t a spiritual awakening--that came many years earlier with my acceptance of the simple way, truth and life available in Christ. That was already settled. But it was a most comforting revelation to pinpoint the spot where who I am began and know I can actually stand in that place.
A few weeks ago I brought the flour box home to my farm several counties away. It will live in the old kitchen in the back yard...a fitting site. Now, anytime I need to, I can go out and spend some time near a bit of the place that is rooted so deeply within me—Granny’s pantry.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3