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30 August 2010

Potato Chip Memories

Today while I was aimlessly meandering through Kroger, I ended up in front of the potato chip display. No matter how I try to restrain myself, at least one bag of chips manages to jump into my cart nearly every time I go to the grocery store. And yes, I'm aware that I could avoid such a mishap if I would simply ignore the aisle altogether, but I digress. I was already in somewhat of a befuddled state of mind due to earlier events, but a simple red, white, blue, and yellow bag stopped me cold in my tracks. I'm sure the poor fellow tasked with stocking the aisle was shaking his head in bewilderment, wondering why on earth a bag of potato chips was so fascinating.

Magic City (aka Birmingham, Alabama) became home to a snack company started in 1923 by Mose Lischkoff and Frank Mosher. The main product of Magic City Foods was a crispy potato chip. This two man operation expanded as the Birmingham area grew to appreciate the quality and service provided. The company excelled under the leadership of Helen Friedman, and was purchased by the Bashinsky family in 1946. When the company sold in 1956, it stayed in the Bashinsky family but changed names, becoming Golden Flake, Incorporated. (For the interesting details of how Helen became the owner, check out the history page on the company's website at www.goldenflake.com)

Why a discourse on a southern potato chip company? My daddy loved potato chips. His favorite? Golden Flake Thin & Crispy. As anyone who has lost a loved one can tell you, sometimes it is the seemingly inconsequential things that can trigger a memory. Maybe today's jolt was a direct result of the morning's events, but I was flooded with reminders of daddy at the sight of that bag of chips. He particularly liked the little bags, I guess because there were just enough chips in there to satisfy that chip craving without loading on the guilt for eating the whole bag!

In the last spring of his life, he was frequently an inpatient at UAB. Danielle and I had gone up for a visit, and that day he wanted some Golden Flake chips. Kathy's sister had stopped at Walmart and gotten him a bag, but it wasn't one of the little ones. We decided that we would find him some. We thought we remembered seeing a gift shop, so Danielle and I went off to find it, hoping that they carried small bags of chips! We found it, they had little bags, and I'm sure the very nice lady working that day probably thought to herself that we were kinda strange when we told her we wanted every bag that she had in stock. When we strolled back into daddy's room, and proudly presented him with a bag full of little bags, you would have thought that we'd given him gold instead of Golden Flake!

Today, I left Kroger with my own bag of Golden Flake Thin & Crispy chips. As I sat down to lunch, I thought about daddy with every chip. And I smiled, knowing that he was smiling with me. Simplistic? Maybe so. Who says life always has to be complicated?

All the money in the world cannot buy the breathtaking beauty that God unfolds for us each morning with the sunrise, nor can it purchase the fiery splendor that is the sunset. The most powerful man on earth and the least beggar get to heaven via the exact same route: belief in and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Is it not just amazing that this is a gift freely given?

Lord, please remind me to be thankful every day for the small miracles. Help me to see your presence all around me, and wrap me in the safety of your love and forgiveness. Give me the words to say that glorify you. Never let me forget that your hand is always over me: protecting, guiding, and giving me strength. Remind us that love is shown in many ways. Sometimes, it's even a bag of potato chips.

"Jesus replied: 'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'"~Luke 18:27 NIV

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