We all have our favorite kitchens, and I’ve been blessed over the years to be welcomed into the warm kitchens of many loving, generous folks (who were also darn good cooks).
Of all of these memorable kitchens, though, the sunny, blue-and-white kitchen of the Bostrom Family was (and still is) my very favorite—for me, it has always been a place of warmth, welcome, love, and great food. My family lived down the street from the Bostroms in the 1990s in Colorado Springs, and we were constantly trooping through their house as kids, wreaking havoc and leaving chaos in our wake. Eating Mrs. Bostrom’s peanut butter cookies out of that big crock on the kitchen counter was my favorite pastime…best cookies on the planet. The kitchen really was the heart of their home, and I spent many happy hours around their big kitchen table eating, laughing, playing games, shooing their little dog off the table when she’d sneak up in search of snacks, and generally being part of their warm-hearted family. They had a way of welcoming you into their lives without any fuss, and I’m sure my own experience echoes that of many, many others whom the Bostroms invited into their kitchen over the years.
After college, I moved back to the Springs, and the Bostroms told me about a cozy rental around the corner from them in my old neighborhood—it was like coming home. I had the luxury of being able to walk across the alley and let myself into their friendly home, just like when I was a kid. If it was lunchtime, Mr. Bostrom would be there at that big kitchen table, eating a sandwich (as I remember it, he often came home for lunch, something I found truly charming about him in the days where folks work frantically through lunch at their desks), with the Christian radio station humming in the background. The peanut butter cookies were miraculously still there in the crock, and I finally asked for the recipe and tried baking them myself (although they never turned out as good as when Mrs. Bostrom made them).
I left Colorado Springs when I met and married my Air Force husband, and as a military wife, I've had a new rental kitchen of my own every two years or so. All this moving just underscored how much the Bostroms' kitchen meant to me: every time we went back for a visit, the Bostroms were there, welcoming us in (with great food), and serving as an emotional anchor for my husband and me no matter what the military threw our way (or where we got orders to this time).
Recently, I was reminded of how much I love this family and their kitchen when Mr. Bostrom passed away suddenly on August 28, 2017. In the dark days since then, I’ve taken time to reflect on how much Mr. Bostrom meant to me, and how much I will miss him. Those times with all of us in the kitchen, eating, talking, praying, laughing—those kitchen memories are what have had me “crylaughing” (those of you who have mourned the loss of a loved one know what I mean, hopefully) this week. Those kitchen memories are the ones I’ll never forget, and they are the ones that inspire me to be as kind, and compassionate, and forgiving, and spiritual, and generous as Mr. Bostrom was.
I am thankful that the Bostroms' kitchen is still there, sunny and comforting to the family who has lost Mr. Gary Bostrom: husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, cousin, neighbor, and friend. Soul-filled kitchens have a way of enveloping us in their warmth, and I pray that all who are mourning there now find as much solace as if they were in a chapel, with sunlight streaming gently through stained-glass windows.