By Elaine Knudtson
Psalm 90:1, 2 “Lord, you have been our dwelling place through all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
Psalm 71:17-18 “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
Families are the means by which God passes on His story. Our impact may never be known as we fulfill our purpose from generation to generation.
Rhubarb and sugar, washer boards and wringer washing machines, washing tubs, clothes pegged to the lines. How did I know you?
In your hands that pared the fresh vegetables from the garden.
In the slop pail we carried to the garden filled with peelings and egg shells.
In the egg sandwiches you wrapped in wax paper for the boarders and grandpa’s lunch kits.
In the empty glass quart jars you left out until the horse-drawn cart arrived with the milkman.
In the way you held my hand as we crossed the railroad tracks on our walk to Whyte Avenue to buy meat and produce for supper.
In the pennies you gave me to buy candy or ride the bus.
Did you know that I slid down the wooden bannister while you napped?
Did you know I gouged the ice cream in the freezer and snuck oatmeal cookies from the metal cannisters?
Did you know I cried when I left you to go upstairs to my tiny apartment when Mom and Dad came home at night?
I was the princess. You and grandpa, the king and queen.
We ruled the castle. I was the “smo yenta”, the “svenska flicka”, the “scrap yenta” who made grandpa laugh and wrinkle his nose when he came home from the garage with his greasy hands.
When we moved away to start our own life, I was exiled from the kingdom. No longer the only child. The magic spell was broken and I was the older sister to a brood of children that didn’t respect my royal status.
You still whisper to me when I make krumkake in December or hear gospel radio in the dead of night. I can taste you in the candy corn and the mints I give my grandchildren in church. I see the pride in your eyes when I crochet a blanket; I feel you beside me when I kiss my grandchildren.
Will they love me thirty years after I’m gone? Will they hear my voice or see the love in my eyes as they enter a room. Will they know the presence of God in the ordinary, the way you taught me? Will they feel his presence in the garden or in the hand that holds them as they walk across the tracks to eternity?
You tie me to the ancestors I never knew and I connect you to the future that neither of us can fully predict. I touch three centuries when I look at you holding my son and daughter in the faded picture on my shelf.
Love, Family, Faith
A conviction that God is with us through the generations, writing our story with grace and faithfulness. You stand as a testimony to His presence. My I be a light to those who come after me.
The mantle has been passed. May I be worthy of the name