As I mentioned last week, we as a church would sometimes draw names from our 18 families and single households to determine who would be gathering at which home in an attempt to have everyone involved. We never wanted anyone with no relatives or living on their own to be alone on this special day. Generally, we would have three families, and a few singles gather in a home of those who had ample space to host the event. For some, it worked best to have it in their shed or shop.
Since we were one of those who had plenty of space in our home, we usually ended up with a house full of guests. The upstairs worked perfectly to serve lunch, then afterward, we children would all go downstairs and play games such as hide and seek, kick the can and wink wave or whistle. We spent hours hiding in the back corners, dashing toward the base, then replaying the whole seen. Why, as I write, I can feel what it used to be like to be the ‘itter,’ counting with my head down and eyes shut tight and concluding with the rhyme ending with, “Whoever isn’t ready, holler, ‘I’.” After raising my head, the air was filled with anticipation, complete silence, and suspense. Hours would be spent as we’d make many happy memories together. As I reached my teen years, I remember occasions when the parents and other adults would help us children with board or card games such as Farming, Monopoly, Phase 10 or Rummikub. Those times meant a lot to me. It added value to my heart to see adults doing things with us on our level.
Towards evenings we would usually disperse though there were also times we hung in for supper and had leftovers or sometimes Mom would make a big pot of cheese sauce, stirring in leftover mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, veggies or whatever may have been leftover that could be added to the soup.
This year for Thanksgiving, we plan to visit the Earl Beachys from Arcola, Illinois, who used to live in our community 13 years ago. Though they are not related to us, I have many fond memories of times when our families would get together for an evening and spend a lot of our time singing. Now it’s been years since we’ve been together. Since they moved, four of my siblings and three of their children got married, all of whom will hopefully be present. Much has changed, yet I’m often amazed at how little it takes to spark memories and rekindle friendships. On top of the list will be to all sing together once more simply.
Earl used to teach my brother and me when we went to school, which also developed a stronger connection between us. With his wife being a busy young mother at the time, I would occasionally get to help her for the day. I shake my head and wonder how things happened so swiftly. She is now a grandmother, and I’m a young mother with my hands and heart filled to the brim.
Now how about winding up with a Thanksgiving salad? This salad recipe is one that the Beachys used in their daughter’s wedding and has been a hit for everyone since then.
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup fried bacon bits
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups of corn chips
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup mayo
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 small onion, chopped (opt)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seed
black pepper to taste
Toss salad ingredients and add desired amount of dressing just before serving. Yummy.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish house-wife in rural Illinois. She is the third writer of The Amish Cook column since its inception in 1991. Yoder can be reached by writing: The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042.