It was a very cold day in January 1965 when my Mother and I took off in an airplane from the Toronto airport to visit my Grandparents in Germany.
I was five years old.
My Mother stayed in Germany for two weeks and then flew home. However, I was to stay with my Grandparents for three months.
They were both very loving, patient and I knew that they loved me.
In my lifetime, they never spoke a word to me in anger.
However, there was one day when I had the impression that I was being a little more rambunctious than usual and that my Grandparent’s were doing their best to be patient with me.
At the end of a long day I remember arriving back at their home later than usual after being out visiting.
(Or “Opa” as he was called by all of his Grandchildren)
…was the Minister of the local Baptist Church.
He, my Grandmother and I had spent the day visiting with the elderly and confined.
It was already getting dark outside and my Grandmother felt negligent because it was already well past dinnertime.
As my Grandmother went to the kitchen to start preparing dinner I followed along.
A few minutes later, my Grandfather came into the kitchen and sat down at the kitchen table with his newspaper.
My Grandmother had decided to prepare cream of wheat for dinner.
In German, we called it “Griesbrei.”
It was not unusual to serve cream of wheat for dinner. Customarily, it was served onto a regular dinner plate, and then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.
I considered it ambrosia.
Oma (my Grandmother) had the water simmering in a pot on the stove as I stood by her side and watched as she poured ingredients into the pot.
I must have been been talking up a storm because something I said seemed to have flustered her.
Next thing I knew she let out a little frustrated cry as she realized she had poured too much salt into the simmering water.
Forlornly, she immediately dumped the entire contents of the pot into her kitchen sink.
Opa, sensing her frustration took immediate charge of the situation.
He calmly asked her to stop what she was doing and to join him at the kitchen table.
She immediately obliged.
Then, he looked at me from over his glasses and told me to sit down at the table as well.
Here comes trouble, I thought to myself.
What is he going to do?
After I sat down my Grandfather asked my Grandmother and myself to bow our heads in prayer.
We did as he asked.
He then did the same.
Then he began to pray in a quiet and loving voice:
“Dear God…” he began his prayer sincerely.
“Please make tomorrow a better day.”
Our final meal of the day was leftover potato salad.
It was delicious.
And yes, the following day was a better day for everyone.
As was every day after that as well….
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