Apocryphal stories are often used to make a point when either documented, provable stories aren't available or so many exist that we make up one combining aspects of all the others - still to make a point much as a parable was designed to do. That said (and begging the pardon of the eleventy-seven thousand bloggers out there who have already used this story):
A young woman had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a very short time to live. She was getting her personal business 'in order' so she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She gave to him a list of songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit to have the funeral home use to dress her in for burial. Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman said there was one more important detail for her funeral service.
'There's one more thing and this is very important, ' the young woman continued. At the funeral home be sure they know I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.' The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say. ' Odd request isn't it?' the young woman asked. 'Well, to be honest, yes,' said the Pastor.
The young woman explained. 'My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love who are in need of encouragement. She said 'in all my years of attending socials and dinners, I happily remembered when the dishes of the main course was cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part of the event because I knew that meant something special was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!' In my life I found my grandmother's story to be very true - when you keep your fork - something wonderful is coming.
So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to ask 'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell them: 'Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.' The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this might be the last time he would see her before her death. He also knew the young woman had a better understanding of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than most people with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW something better was coming. At the funeral home, people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, 'What's with the fork?' During his message, Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about a fork and told them that they probably would not be able to forget about it either. He was right. The next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, the best is yet to come.
Amen - no eye has seen nor mind has conceived what the Lord has prepared for those who believe.
On this side of heaven - grab a fork - actually first bake this coffeecake - then grab a fork.
Almond Buttermilk Coffeecake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour 8 or 9-inch square baking pan (or cake pan) I use a 9 inch heart shaped pan
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1-teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated is BEST)
½ cup (one stick) slightly softened butter
(now remove about 1/3 cup of this mixture for the topping)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1-teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sliced almonds
Stir together flour, sugar and spices. Cut in the butter. Set aside 1/3 cup of this mixture to be used later. Add buttermilk, baking soda, salt, egg and almond extract to the remaining flour mixture and blend well. Pour into prepared pan. Mix the sliced almonds with the reserved sugar mixture. Sprinkle on top of the batter.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving. Wonderful with fresh berries or whipped cream also.
Here on Buhlaland we have plastic forks, stainless steel forks, dinner forks, salad forks and meat forks- we are ready for all the wonderful things to come - it is GOOD.