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Generation Gap

Moving
has its challenges. When your life is packed in boxes and you wonder
which box, which box holds the red book? After a quick perusal of
the remaining boxes in the garage, I gave up for today, to find that
Red Book –
A
Mennonite Heritage: a Genealogy of the Suderman and Weins Families,
1800-1975
by Carolyn
L. Zeisset. The memories of 78 years ago, are my perception. That is
my caveat for today.
Continuing
the saga of the ‘settling in’ process, I re-arranged the contents of
Mom’s buffet. Suddenly, near the back, I find the directions to the
new Kenmore microwave Tim and Karen gave us. It was with excitement
I opened the pages. What did the red button – TrueCook mean?
Imagine my surprise to learn that it had a series of reasons to push
that button. I read press the Clear Button. – Press the
TrueCook-Plus button three times. 3. Enter your five digit U.S.
Post Office zip code. Press the Start button.
I had
visions of being a character in a spy movie. The innocent microwave
that sits in white splendor on Mom’s Buffet contains a connection to
people with devious motives. Why would I enter my zip code. Would
everything I boiled/cooked/heated become a record in some far away
cyber-collection? Too late. With my affinity for curiosity and
button pushing – I was connected. But why?
I read
the fine print. Now that you have entered your zip code, the
TrueCookPlus will automatically adjust for your elevation above sea
level.
I burst out laughing. When I read further, I found that
there are ‘codes’ on the frozen foods to ‘punch’ in to correctly cook
the contents of the package. No more guessing. No more creative
impulsive microwave cooking or burning.
As I
marveled at the advances of cooking, I remember my Grandma Suderman.
I must have been 4 or 5 years old (78 years ago) as I stood in
Grandma’s kitchen and watched. Her silver-hued hair curled around
her slightly flushed face as she put several more pieces of kindling
into the wood stove. The flames tried to escape as she closed the
door. Grandma moved kettles and skillets on the four circular iron
plates. Once in a while, she removed an iron plate to check the fire
below. She lifted it with a heavy iron tool that fit into the
grooves of the plate.
She
warned me not to get too close – for the stove was hot. Once in
awhile, she needed water, and it gushed from the red pump in the
bathroom. At the sink Grandma peeled potatoes and let the peelings
fall into the ‘disposal’, the bucket below the open pipe under the
sink. Grandma didn’t have a TrueCook-Plus button to push. Or any
buttons at all, and yet her Zwieback (tvaybach – two story rolls),
loaves of bread, pancakes, pumpkin pie for Sunday breakfast, or
anything else that came from her kitchen was perfection. She grew
her own vegetable garden, raised hens for eggs, and there were cows
for milk. She canned the produce from the garden and cooked for
harvesters during the hot summer. There was no air conditioning, no
frozen foods or ice cubes were readily accessible.
I look
at the appliances in my new kitchen and marvel at the passage of
time. The freezer of the refrigerator holds frozen foods, I have no
garden, but purchase garden produce from the store. Instead of a
kerosene lamp on the table, we flick a light switch for illumination.
The dish washer does a superb job without the ‘togetherness’ that
dish-washing often encourages.
But
Grandma and I have one commonality that has not changed. Faith in
God. Grandma (Anna Loewen Suderman) lived by faith. She was tested
by the loss of several of her children…Gerhard, Daniel, Paul and
Hilda and the crippling of Grandpa’s hand from a saw. Yet, Grandma’s
faith continued ever more strong. She spent 16 years alone after
Grandpa Suderman died. She visited us several times and each time,
her love and her face spoke of her deep faith in God. Her presence
spoke of her faith-life and encouraged me.
Whenever
life becomes difficult, when I am tested, whenever I wonder if what I
do matters, I remember Grandma Suderman. And I know that I belong to
God. No matter how many ‘time-saving’ inventions or communication
devices that appear, our lives have one commonality through the ages
and through the generation of those to come. How do we answer the
question that we each must answer. Our decision about God and living
our belief in sync with that decision.

Then
we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you
forever;

from generation to
generation we will proclaim your praise. Psalm 79:13
Tell
it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation. Joel 1:3
For
the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness
continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5
Your
faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the
earth, and it endures. Psalm 119:90
• The
LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise
the LORD. Psalm 146:10
Now
to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or
imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be
glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

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