Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dirty

A new family moved into the community and with them came a few choice words their children used to express themselves. It didn't take us children long to start using them also.  Mom and Daddy weren't happy and gave us several lectures about the importance of not using words that aren't pure and that don't do anything to make our conversation better.

They made us copy and memorize the verse in Matthew that told us  to let our conversation be yea yea or nay nay and whatsoever is more than this cometh from evil. We tried to be more careful but it didn't seem to last for very long, somehow it felt good to occasionally add a few words to express our feelings.

One evening one of us again happened to use a word and Mom got a funny look on her face and marched the offender into the bathroom. She had just finished changing the baby's soiled diaper. "A dirty word deserves a dirty punishment," she declared and instructed the guilty party to wash the diaper out in the toilet.
No amount of gagging and retching made her change her mind.

From that day forward when ever we happened to use an offensive word we had to wash a soiled diaper. It didn't take us very long at all to have a strong aversion of using any words that we shouldn't. And to this day whenever I hear someone adding choice words to their conversations I still see those disgusting diapers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Sandwich

As spring came Daddy decided to fence in our field across the road from our house and the several acres of woods that we had. In order to make the fence he first needed to make fence posts. A farmer right next to the school house had lots of fine locust trees just perfect for what Daddy was looking for to make fence posts. He was planning on clearing them away in order to make more cropland anyway and told Daddy if he gets them cut and hauled away within a certain time frame he can have how ever much he needs.

Daddy decided to ask a neighboring family if one of their boys could come help him so he could get it done faster. Much to my dismay he hired LV's brother Melvin. I would be sitting at my desk in school everyday and see Daddy and Melvin pass by with load after load of freshly cut locust posts. I couldn't figure out why it bothered me so much that Melvin was working for Daddy except that Melvin's family was so far above our league that I was always uncomfortable around them and with all the things I had endured from LV the previous school years I knew that Melvin was probably secretly making fun of Daddy and the very thought that he would do that gave me a sick feeling.

As the days passed Daddy seemed to enjoy working with Melvin and would often have stories to share at the supper table of their days accomplishments and the conversations they had. I was beginning to think everything was going to be alright even if he had someone from that family working for him.

But then one evening Daddy sat down at the table and as he was filling his plate he started chuckling and started telling us about his day. They had been on their way home with their last load of posts for the day and were beginning to get quite hungry. Since Mom always packed plenty of lunch for Daddy he reached into his lunch pail and got a sandwich and offered half of it to Melvin. As Daddy ate his, he watched out of the corner of his eye as Melvin carefully dropped the sandwich in front of the wheel when he thought Daddy wasn't looking.

I was absolutely horrified that Daddy would even think of sharing his sandwich. It had been made out of homemade whole wheat bread with thick slices of our canned hamburger. And I knew that Melvin's family always had white store bought bread with cheese or deli meats. I was sure that Melvin went home and told everyone else what an awful sandwich he had been offered and they were all probably laughing at us.

Daddy didn't seem concerned about that as he chuckled heartily that someone would think that Mom's delicious sandwich didn't look appetizing enough to even take a bite.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Changes

Life is all about changes. And right now we are once again going through some pretty big ones. I find them both exciting and scary. I don't particularly welcome changes, I'm more of homebody type of person who likes to have a comfortable little routine. I like to have my house a relaxing haven from the rest of the world.

This does not represent a change that I enjoy. I don't enjoy moving, the packing process is wearisome and the unpacking part isn't much better. There are always a few "helpful" people who want to help pack until they discover empty canning jars aren't all that entertaining and really don't provide a lot of juicy fodder for conversations later on.

My husband is a logger but plans to quit when we move. This is something I'm very glad to change. I don't spend a lot of time worrying but every once in a while something happens that reminds us of how very dangerous his job really is.

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I hope you can all be patient with me as I try to find a few minutes here and there to blog a little bit, as you can imagine my time at the computer is more limited than it used to be.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Cookie

Elmer and Lucy were an elderly couple in our community. Elmer was a short heavyset man with a great sense of humor. He was friends with everyone and the sound of his laughter would alert us that he was nearby.

One Sunday we were invited to their house for lunch. We arrived in time to help Lucy with her preparations of her simple meal. There were potatoes, meat and gravy and some kind of vegetable. For dessert there was a bowl of peaches and a plate filled with oatmeal cookies.

We children sat on a bench at the back of the table and listened as the grown ups visited. Elmer was regaling us with stories from his younger years and everyone was enjoying themselves. As everyone finished with their first course it was time to pass the cookies and peaches and a little pitcher of milk.

Everyone took a cookie and some peaches. As I bit into my cookie I was surprised how hard it was. The conversation continued as Daddy and everyone else placed their cookie in their plate and poured milk over it and spooned peaches beside it. I watched as Daddy tried to pry a bite of the cookie off with his spoon. It was too hard and as he kept visiting he kept on try to get his spoon to cut through the cookie. The cookie was so hard that even the milk that had been poured over it was having a hard time soaking into it. All of a sudden his spoon slipped and his entire cookie went flying across the table and landed in Lucy's plate.

Conversation stopped and Elmer started laughing. Daddy was embarrassed by what had just happened but Elmer continued laughing. Loud rolling laughter. His shoulders shook and tears streamed down his face as he tried to control himself but every time he was almost done laughing he had to start all over again.

Daddy finished his peaches and I had a sneaking suspicion that he was secretly glad he didn't have to eat that cookie.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thank-you

After reading all your answers we have come to the conclusion that we will continue to teach  our children to use Mr. and Mrs. when talking about or to our non-Amish friends. Maybe with some more practise it will come to feel like the proper way, and hopefully it will make it easier for our children if they ever have a family of their own.

I find it very interesting how different cultures have there own ways of determining what is acceptable and what isn't. For example: The community my husband and I were raised in, it was considered highly improper for men and women to visit with each other if they weren't related. And children did not address or start a conversation with grown ups.

When we moved to this area we soon learned that there those guidelines of conduct were unheard of and I found it very annoying when children came to talk to me and ask me to hold Sunbeam, who at that time was only several weeks old. There were many other things but they can wait to be discussed until a later date.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to answer my question.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Question

Growing up we were surrounded with people sharing the same last name. Our church district had 28 families and there were six different last names. So as you can imagine when talking about someone we used their first name. And talking about a family was always referred to by the husbands first name followed by an "s" The Robert Yoder family was never referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Yoder or the Yoders because there were multiple other Yoder families. Therefore they were referred to as Roberts. When talking about Robert's wife we would never say Mrs. Yoder  she was always Robert Naomi.

This is one of the hardest things for me to change since we left the Amish. To me a family still sounds better when referred to by the husbands first name.

Soon after we left we were invited to a family after church services. When we arrived everyone introduced themselves and then they informed our children they can call them Mr. and Mrs. __________  We felt a little flummoxed but ever since that day we have been trying to teach our children to address married people as Mr. and Mrs.  So far it's been a hit and miss deal because when my husband and I talk about someone we still go back to using their first name.

So my question is. Is this really a big deal every where or just in the area where we live right now?  We don't want to offend anyone, but somehow it just doesn't feel real when we put a bunch of Mr. and Mrs. into our conversation.  And by the way I still have not learned to not cringe when someone calls me Mrs. Kinsinger. I would much rather hear my name.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Knock on the Door

Recently there seems to have been a lot of people dropping by unannounced. My heart does weird things as I make a helpless sweep with my eyes over the rooms I pass through to get to the door to see who is there. I find it rather strange how a room that seemed happy and comfortable mere seconds earlier suddenly looks glaringly cluttered.

It is rather interesting to see what the people standing on the other side of the door want. There will be the occasional salesman which until recently I was always able to firmly and kindly send them on their way. The Gourmet Foods salesman was successful only because he spread all his wares out on the front yard and I was really hungry. Next time that won't work though.

I discovered yesterday it isn't safe to wash my hair in the middle of the day. The results of stepping outside with long wet hair on a very windy day isn't pretty. The amusement on the face of the person who had stopped by with several questions didn't help.

But there is one knock that I answered that I will probably remember for years because it was so different from any others I had ever experienced.

I opened the door to find a short man wearing glasses standing there with his hand raised ready to knock again. He quickly lowered his hand and in answer to my Hello asked. "Ma'am have you planned your funeral already?"  It took every fiber in my being to keep me from slamming the door right in his face. He must have noticed that he gave me quite a stir, because he added that he works at the local funeral home and he was wondering if we already have made funeral arrangements if we should happen to die. I told him I am really not in the postion to make those plans with him right now. He bobbed his head and stammered a little and then turned around and left.

I closed the door, and suddenly it all became so funny. The creepy little guy, his weird inquiry. I could hardly wait for my husband to get home to tell him about it.

And just incase you work at a funeral home that is looking for more business. It is not the best idea to have "Have you planned your funeral already" the first words out of your mouth when someone answers their door. You just might get hurt.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Holidays

The Easter holidays used to be a long drawn out affair when I was growing up. Thursdays were spent cooking and cleaning. Usually by the time we got home from school an hour early Mom had most of the things done in preparation but there were always a few jobs waiting for us.

Good Friday was spent fasting until noon, and the afternoons we had the option of going to visit friends or having someone over. Most times we just stayed at home and read and played games and anything that was considered to not be irreverent or too rowdy. Saturdays we once again prepared food and spot cleaned the house in preparation for Sunday and Easter Monday.  If it was our church Sunday we all went to church but it seemed most years it was our in-between Sunday. We would sit around reading and playing games, since we had just had a day to do that it wasn't quite as fun. Easter Monday was even worse. We were all ready to get back to work and be able to do things instead of just sitting around the house twiddling our thumbs. I always breathed a big sigh of relief once the holidays were over and it would be another year before we had back to back days of not being able to do anything except quiet things.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Winners

Time to draw the winners for the "Success Made Simple" book giveaway.


Cherie said       

I think it is great that you have found some books that accurately portray the Amish and what life is like.


There is a made for TV movie that is coming on soon - or it may have already aired about the shooting in the Amish school a few years ago. I don't know if I want to watch. Have you heard of it? Just wondering.

I love all the new flowers that spring brings and the beautiful "popcorn" on the trees!

Hope you have a wonderful Easter.

Congratulations Cherie! If you email with your address I will get this book shipped to you.  And yes I have heard of the movie "Amish Grace" and from the little bit I listened too I found it too unrealistic to enjoy.


Winner 2 is.....


Legends Wife said

Walking and seeing God's creation as spring begins:)

Congratulations! Please email me with your address and I will send your book.


Thanks again to everyone who entered this giveaway. I'm sorry I don't have a book for everyone but if anyone else would like to have a copy of this book you can visit amishbusinessbook.com


Hope everyone has a happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Life Goes On

As the school term ended Mom turned down the request to teach grammar classes again the next year. I was a little sad that she wouldn't be back but I knew she would be extra busy once the baby came.

Summer passed swiftly with a lot of work that needed to be done, our garden was even bigger than the previous year, customers to our store were increasing steadily and there were baby clothes that needed to be made.

When school started I was amazed at how relaxing it seemed to be in the eighth grade and not have to worry about LV since he had graduated. Everything was in a comfortable routine and I was enjoying school more than I ever had before. I did wish I could be at home to cuddle our new baby once it arrived.

A few days before Christmas we were once again awakened early and sent to Grandpa Masts. I was excited knowing that finally after waiting for so long I would be getting my baby sister. Mom and Daddy had told me if it's a girl I would be allowed to choose the name. I already had it picked out and was looking forward to announcing it. There was a pile of pink blankets and sleepers waiting to welcome her.

When we came home from school Mom was in her bed waiting to show us the new baby. As we stood around the bed she handed the baby to me and said. "Say hello to Ivan."  I held him and wondered how it's possible a newborn could be that ugly. Not only was he red and wrinkly but on his forehead there was an ugly birthmark.

I immediately knew it was my fault Ivan had a birthmark because I had talked about the accident Mom had at school when we had been playing baseball. Once the boys had gone back to the shop with Daddy I told Mom I was sorry that I caused the birthmark. She assured me it wasn't my fault. I asked if it always leaves a birthmark when a mother gets hurt before the baby is born. She said it doesn't always happen that way but it can. The birthmark on Aunt Emma's arm came from Grandma spilling some boiling water on her arm before Emma had been born. One of my friends was blind in her one eye because her mother had panicked and over reacted when a rooster had pecked her son's eye.

Thankfully Ivan's birthmark faded and by the time he was several months old there was only a faint mark there and with time even that disappeared.