Traverse City Record-Eagle

Edna Shaffer: Grandma's Kitchen

September 14, 2008

Grandma's Kitchen: A delicious Blessing Way

Today is Labor Day, and I'm laboring. Canning peaches gets boring but I like them so much it's worth the effort. For company I have some soothing classical music from NPR. It calms the soul and prevents my throwing the peaches that stick to the pits at the wall! That's a big help at clean-up time.

Before I forget, it's been brought to my attention that there were some discrepancies in my last column about the food prices in Alaska. A reader checked the supermarket prices in Anchorage and they were lower. What I had quoted were from the remote villages where large transportation costs are factored in and I should have said so. My thanks to the reader for her interest.

Many of you wrote asking about the Blessing Way we were having, wanting to know more about what is involved. It is an experience that goes so deep for me that it's hard to translate into words. There was a wee sprite there (18-month-old great-granddaughter) who loved every single one of us ... who danced barefooted and played, smiled and talked. She enchanted us all with her beauty and sweetness and the innocence of childhood, setting the tempo for the celebration.

Our purpose was to honor Rachael and celebrate with her the joy, excitement and challenge of becoming a mother, and as the family and friends to offer her our love and support.

Host mother, Molly, began with a welcome and outlined the afternoon. Our circle of women from 18 months to 82 years began with introductions, giving our name, our mothers and grandmothers names, thereby honoring those who had mothered us. Tributes of personal poetry, readings, scripture and music were given to Rachael. She was presented with special beads, representing events in her life, to be strung into a necklace. We made prayer flags to be hung in her birthing room. The midwife gave us ribbon bracelets to wear until the baby arrives to remind us to keep mother and baby in our thoughts and prayers. Other activities included token gifts, visiting, pictures, and feasting.

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