Rollin’ Out Love


     One of my fondest memories is seeing my grandma in the kitchen, an apron wrapped around her waist, flour in her hair and on her face, but oh the tantalizing smells that would permeate her house.  Grandma was baking some love. 

     My grandma was born in 1907, in a sod house in South Dakota, and was the oldest of nine children.  Like most growing up in that era, life was hard, comforts scarce, and the winters at times were so cold that the siblings would huddle in a bed, four in a row, to stay warm.  Her father was a day laborer, and her mother mended clothes as well as taking in wash to help out.  Being a stay home mom back then was challenging, especially with nine children.  My great-grandma was extremely creative and would make up stories to tell her children, games were invented, but as you can imagine, there were tons of chores that also needed to be completed daily, one of them was baking fresh bread for the day.  My grandma being the oldest learned this craft exceptionally well from her mom and as she became a mother of her own, continued with this ritual for her own family.

     Adult life for my grandma was difficult at best, being married to an alcoholic, who was prone to violent outbursts when under the influence.  As challenges arose, my grandma automatically went to the place that had always represented comfort, love and peace to her growing up as a little girl, and where her faith and hope flourished.  Grandma found solace in her relationship with our Lord through daily reading of the Bible, regular church attendance, along with involvement in church socials and charitable organizations.  Grandma may not have had a lot of money, but whenever there was a bake sale, dinners needed for families in need, pancake breakfasts for scouts, she would be one of the first to donate her gifts of love.

     Luckily, grandma provided her family with her delectable creations and the one I most equate with her are her cinnamon rolls.  As a child, her mom taught her one specific recipe that could be used for a variety of baked goods, such as bread, Yule Kaka, dinner rolls and my favorite, her cinnamon rolls.  As a little girl, I remember spending time in amazement watching the various steps taken to create her goodies, wondering which one would eventually emerge from the oven.  One sure sign that my favorite was cooking was when I smelled cinnamon and butter………my stomach and taste buds could barely wait!  Every Christmas, my most favorite present was the bag of baked goodies from grandma.  I learned very early that one demonstrated love for your family through the sharing of your heart while you baked, so the reason these baked goods were so special is because I knew grandma put all her love into them for me.

     You might be asking yourself at this time, what made her cinnamon rolls so delicious?  I suppose if they were put to a taste test with the top five cinnamon rolls and buns of today, most wouldn’t think that they were anything special.  But again, you wouldn’t know what my grandma had to do to make them.  For one thing, she had to save a part of her meager earnings from taking care of children every week so she would have enough money to buy the numerous amounts of ingredients to bake for every adult member of her family.  This entailed quite a bit of planning, budgeting, and at times, scrimping and scraping to make ends meet, but that didn’t deter her from her ultimate goal.  Grandma also had to put in hours of her time, mixing, kneading, rolling, adding spices and other things specific to what she was creating, then baking, cooking, wrapping, freezing, and starting it all over again as she prepared her gifts for her large family and friends, one at a time, lovingly crossing off the names on her lists.

     This is why when I think of love, I automatically think of my grandma’s cinnamon rolls.  In order to truly demonstrate love one has to give of one’s self, show total devotion, compassion, give of their time, talents, and at times, make sacrifices for those you love.  My grandma did all this and more with her simple act of rolling out the cinnamon rolls and baking them with love.