Traverse City Record-Eagle

Edna Shaffer: Grandma's Kitchen

November 30, 2008

Grandma's Kitchen: Finding warmth and friends

Today was pretty gray and snowy. I missed church because I'd been under the weather all week and was feeling a little down. I put the "yaktrax" on my boots and drove out to get the Sunday paper. On a whim I drove into Honor to pick up the little weekly Insider.

I noticed the open sign was lit at the Gathering Place, which is the senior center, and ran in to get the monthly newsletter. Talk about your serendipitous moment -- I found much more than a newsletter inside. There was so much warmth and friendliness in that room it should have glowed!

About a dozen people were smiling and singing along with a guitarist. They said they felt like singing some Christmas carols a little early.They welcomed me to join them and it would have been fun, but I'd left things going here at home.

Isn't it amazing how sharing another's joy turns your day around? It really is contagious. I wish this for you.

From what I can gather, the word is that Christmas will be a little different this year. Maybe it will be a good thing to cut through the wild extravagances and concentrate on what Christmas is really all about.

It's interesting that the layaway programs are open again at Kmart and Sears. They figured big in our household when our children were small. A portion of every paycheck during Advent went to pay down the balance on our treasures-in-waiting until that happy day when they came home, to be hidden from the curious little eyes. I remember the sense of satisfaction and relief in knowing it was paid for, a great alternative to today's credit cards.

To be sure prices were lower, but so were the expectations; the minimum wage was raised to $1 an hour in 1956, after starting at 25 cents an hour in 1938. No wonder homemade gifts were popular!

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