Heirloom Offerings :: Hospitality + Commitment

This offering to Heirloom Offerings :: The Grandma Project was contributed by Kelly Bernardin-Dvorak . Are you interested in sharing? Read our submission guidelines and get started.


In French, grandmother is Grandmère.  Grandma is Memère.  I’m thankful that I still have both of my Memères not only in my life but near enough for visits.

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Here’s me a couple years ago with one of my aunts and my mom’s mom, Cecile.  This Memère taught me hospitality from the heart.  When I’d visit, she’d haul out all sorts of things for me to eat.  Soon, the spread in front of me  consisted of something like this: left over mashed turnip, cut up tomato, a few pickles, a garden salad with lots of different veggies, maybe a wiener without a bun, and always:  tomato vegetable soup.  Over time I saw through the mis-matched-ness, and realized that she was sharing everything she had with me. For her, hospitality wasn’t about performing or perfection. I started to see her heart in this array on the table. She didn’t want to withhold a single thing that I might enjoy, and everything she had was for sharing.  Thinking on it, I’m reminded of the old Sunday school song – you know the one about banqueting tables and banners of love?

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Here’s my dad’s mom, Henriette, in a photo taken just a few months ago. This Memère has taught me commitment to family and community as a way of life.  She had 11 children and helped run the family farm; responsibilities she managed with incredible efficiency and no shortage of love. When people remark that I have a habit of taking on a lot, I’m thankful that I am my grandmother’s granddaughter.  At 89, she is still active  in her community, dearly loved by extended family and many friends, and has close relationships with their children and grandchildren. She is leaving an inspiring legacy.



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Kelly Bernardin-Dvorak is a French Canadian woman who hopes to live these examples of hospitality and commitment. She wrote this post on (Canadian) Thanksgiving, 2013. She also writes at www.abidethree.wordpress.com.

{Kris}: Thanks so much, Kelly, for sharing these meaningful life lessons from your grandmothers! It’s easy to forget about true hospitality and what that means – simply offering what we have and who we are.

Share your memories and experiences of hospitality from the heart and commitment to community as a way of life in the comments…

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