We had such a great visit, just sitting at the table sharing stories of all generations, those before us and those involving our children and grands. They delighted me with their zest for homemade ham and bean soup, artisan bread, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Each of us lives alone now and we talked about the challenges of cooking for ourselves. Ruth likes to make soup and freezes small portions for future meals. Eileen eats a lot of frozen dinners. Ruth told the story of being invited to John and Susie Hoene's home during the depression and Susie proudly stating, "everything I've served today came from the farm or the garden except the salt and coffee." Ruth will be 94 in May and Eileen celebrated her 90th birthday in January! My Uncle John Kopczynski made wedding cakes for both of their weddings in the 1940's. Eileen told me her mother, Margaret Seubert Funke, became one of my Mom's first friends. She often heard her Mom tell the story of how mom and dad met. "Stan brought Bertha, his new bride, to meet my Mom and I think she spent the whole day at our house - they became fast friends after that." I told her how grateful my Mom, missing her own family in Illinois, was quickly welcomed by my Dad's relatives and friends in Cottonwood. The couples played a lot of pinochle together in their later years. Eileen's parents first lived out near Westlake and when it was time for Eileen to go to school, she lived with her Grandma Jenny during the week - I think for 5 years until the Funke's moved to a farm near Ferdinand. "Going to a Catholic School was so important to my parents that they figured out a way for me to stay, sometimes for weeks at a time, with my grandma." Eileen and Ralph bought their home on 13th Avenue about the same time the Catholic School at Our Lady of Lourdes was being built. "We picked that location so our kids could walk back and forth to the catholic school. It ended up being a great neighborhood to raise our family - at one time their were 26 kids on our block."
Our table conversation touched on politics, young people, the organized Catholic Church, and our local fundraising to build a new church. Eileen said, "I'll never see that new church in my lifetime. I don't think we need to be spending that kind of money." Ruth is concerned that so few young people get confirmed now days. Despite their concerns about aspects of the organized church, they both profess a faith, deeply rooted in their German ancestry. They are on my guest list because, as Debbie Macomber writes so beautifully, "Our faith is enriched to hear our guests' stories - to see how God moved into their lives. And when they move into the lives of others, He moves with them." God moved into my little dining room on Monday as these lovely women shared their faith and their stories.