Last week it was the annual Kopidlansky family reunion (my mom's side of the family). My daughter, Mary and I prepared our family's favorite ethnic treat, kolaches (we're Czechoslovakian) to share with our beloved family. Beloved might be a stretch. My mother was one of ten children. Most of her siblings had large families. I am the youngest of nine. I have 5 children, 30 nieces and nephews and 17 great nieces and nephews (so far!). I have over 100 cousins (or so I'm told). I have to take that fact on faith because I have never met them all and probably never will. So this annual family reunion is often a reunion of near strangers. We wear nametags to identify which branch of the tree we fell from. The only way I can stand out in this mix is to bring kolaches. Everybody loves them. They especially love the poppyseed kolaches. They all dig to the bottom of the pan just to find the poppyseed! My aunt Judy buys her kolaches from the bakery. Everyone says that mine are better, and (pardon the pride) I believe them. I bring 12 dozen kolaches every year, and every year I bring an empty pan home. What is it that makes my kolaches so good?
It's love. With each ball of dough that I pinch back, press down, fill, slather with butter and bake, I offer a prayer of love for the memory of my mother who taught me how to make them, and I offer a prayer of love for my children to whom I will pass on the tradition of kolache baking. I offer a prayer of love for my distant and not-so-distant relatives. And I honor my Lord by showing my love for my family with a special once-a-year treat.