So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18
One of my favorite things about Ruby Buckle gatherings is the sharing that takes place. I love hearing stories about handwritten cards and letters that are loved and cherished. Sometimes the stories bring a tear or two.
One of my most treasured cards is tucked into my recipe box. It isn’t a love note from one of my family members thanking me for making a dish that they enjoyed. It is a 22-year-old, laminated 4x6 recipe card penned by my father.
I must admit that he wrote it reluctantly. I had to put a bit of pressure on him to get him to do it. It is his very own recipe for turkey injection juice. He was a grill master! I studied under his tutelage and learned how to grill up some tasty treats myself. We were so crazy about grilling that we had contests to see who could grill the perfect turkey in sub-zero temperatures.
I don’t think I had ever recorded the recipe before. If I felt uncertain of the ratio for the size bird I was preparing, I would just call him. One day, while my dad was seated at my dining room table, I told him that I should probably write it down someday. I decided that day was as good as any and got a recipe card out of my box. I told him he should write it, and he said no.
Dad didn’t like writing much. God made him left-handed, and that didn’t go over very well in his private grade school. He had lots of stories of getting his hand slapped with a big wooden rule in an attempt to correct it. Almost sixty years had passed since those one-room schoolhouse writing lessons began, and he was still writing with his left hand.
I can still see him sitting there writing it out. He wasn't overly happy with me – I wouldn't let him dictate the recipe for me to write down instead. But as I look at that recipe card today, I see the “love note” present there. In my memory, I can see his strong hand grasp the pen and spill the words across the lines of the card.
The pre-printed card had a line for the recipe title and who it was from. My father wrote out his full name. It makes me smile. He died unexpectedly before the year came to an end, and it is my only record of his handwriting. I absolutely love it. I had no way of knowing that he wouldn’t be around to call in the future if I needed his help.
The cemetery my father is buried in is only a city block away from my home. From my office window, I can see the treetops that shelter his grave. I have no idea how many turkeys have been grilled here since he left for heaven, but he is often in my thoughts while tending the grill. And, if the evening breeze is just right, the succulent aroma of grilled turkey mixed with hickory might travel to the place that his body is laid to rest. I hope he knew how much I loved him. Write to those you love; tell them you care.
Not only did my father leave behind his recipe for grilling perfect turkeys, the words of a favorite Bible verse left behind on his grave marker are a recipe for hope in this world: Keep your eyes fixed on what is not seen.