Thursday, May 20, 2010

Apricot Fried Pies

Nope -- I'm not in the wrong spot. This isn't a recipe for apricot fried pies, I promise.

It was a government commodity program for the elderly. Back in the 1950’s my grandparents qualified for such assistance. I don’t know anything about the program other than it provided a wonderful memory for me.

In those packages, Gramma received dried apricots. Obviously they didn’t come from southwest Oklahoma farms. Cotton and wheat were the nearby crops. Wherever they originated, they had to be in abundance. My assumption was that our government bought them to keep farmers in business. Perhaps a carry over from the Depression? My curiosity never was strong enough to research.

What is strong is the memory of the apricot friend pies she made for us when we were packing to return to California.

I was reminded of those again today when we stopped at a fairly new shop at the county seat that sells only friend pies and drinks. But what a collection – theirs include meat and vegetable as well as the delicious fruit and cream pies. They did not, however, match my memories.

Gramma would cook the day before we were to leave, frying chicken (her own home grown) and those fragrant fried pies. They were carefully wrapped in waxed paper (no aluminum foil for the home at that point) and we wanted so to open them as soon as we got out to the highway.

Many things don’t match our memories.

Sometimes the memory of our childhood church is unmatched by our current one. My parents were unchurched while in California. When they returned to Oklahoma, it was to the second largest city, near that city’s second largest Baptist church. The sanctuary had been built decades earlier, massive stone steps and dark wood interior, with a U-shaped balcony. Beautiful and impressive. As was the organ. Mrs. Matthews was our organist. Her first name was Imagray. Unusual. Not until I was an adult did I learn her maiden name was Wolfe.

She was good. Not just as a Christian example, but as our organist. Her playing set the standard for my expectations in church music.

My current church has no organist. We did when we first joined, but she felt called to play for another congregation and eventually our organ was stored to make room for more choir chairs. This is an accomplishment, for when we joined, the church had no choir. Now there is an adult choir that sings for morning service and a youth choir in the evening. But, no organ.

Guitar. That’s the big adjustment. In addition to our beautiful piano, a guitar adds to our music. And, a bass violin. Within the last two years a violin joined in. Stringed instruments.

The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD. [Isaiah 38:20 KJV]

The instruments don’t match my childhood memories, but the Lord being ready to save, the singing and most importantly, all the days of our lives in the house of the Lord are the same. It is the same God worshipped before Abraham, by Abraham, David, Isaiah, Daniel. The same Lord served by Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, Peter and the apostles and we, today.

Nothing can match the physical church of our childhood, but our Lord remains unchanged.

By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. [Hebrews 7:22-25 KJV]

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