Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday, Following the Announcement

I got up extra early on Monday morning and quickly did the laundry before LV stopped by. We needed to go get our marriage license and then do a little shopping for thank you gifts for every one that would be helping at our wedding.

Arriving at the courthouse we found our way to a crummy little room filled with filing cabinets, where there was a lady sitting behind a desk strewn with papers. She didn't seem enthused or happy for us that we were getting married and simply barked out the questions she needed to ask and then shoved a piece of paper toward us to sign. She then told us our marriage license should arrive within a week. Eyeing her desk I felt rather doubtful that she would be capable of keeping track of everything and get it to us in time for the wedding.

Leaving the courthouse we went to a near by store to see what we could find. Our church rules made it rather difficult to find something that I liked. We finally settled on a pretty oil lamp for all the girls that would be helping but it was even harder finding something for the boys.

It took all morning until we had taken care of everything. Arriving at home I was surprised to see Vernie at the kitchen sink washing dishes. I asked her where Mom and Daddy were and she informed me that Mom had broken her foot and Daddy took her to the doctor.

A broken foot wasn't something we had planned into our wedding preparations and I wondered how I was supposed to get everything done in time since she couldn't help like she would have otherwise.

I fixed a little something for our lunch and we sat at the table to eat while Vernie continued washing dishes. She was singing in her joyful toneless manner when suddenly she walked over to LV. Holding the dish cloth in one hand she peered at him and asked earnestly. "You will take good care of my little Mary Ann, won't you?"

LV assured her he would be taking the best of care of me. Turning to me she said, "And you be sure to cook good food for him." I assured her I would do my best. Satisfied she went back to doing the dishes. I felt like laughing and crying. She was so sweet and it would seem different not being able to see her everyday.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Announcement

I got up early that Sunday morning and went downstairs, filled the teapot with water and set it on the stove to brew a fresh batch of peppermint tea for breakfast. I knew I didn't have to be up yet but I simply couldn't make myself stay in bed any longer being filled with nervous anticipation like I was made that almost impossible.

Mom must have heard me stirring about the kitchen because she got up soon and came out and sat on a chair next to the stove. We talked a little bit as I set the table and then checked the food in the pantry to make sure it was still okay. It was.

Today was the day I had been looking forward to for quite a while already. Today was the day when after the preaching was over in church the bishop would announce our upcoming wedding. It hardly seemed possible. After a year of planning and preparing for our wedding it was so close.

At the breakfast table Daddy told my youngest brothers that they would hear my name in church to day when the bishop made the announcement that we were getting married. Ivan promptly burst into tears when he realized I was moving away and Raymond taking a cue from his older brother joined in. I could feel a lump rising in my throat as I assured them I would be back to visit often and that I hoped they would come see me often as well.  As much as I had been looking forward to getting married the reality that I would be moving away from the home I had known and loved for so long was very bitter sweet.

Arriving at church early Uncle Eli was still building a fire in the old wood stoves. He drew a chair up and talked for a while. Aunt Emma and Vernie were there already as well. I wished Grandpa could be there. He was at home still recuperating from his stroke. He really wanted to be at my wedding and seemed to be recovering with sheer will power.

After church services were over the bishop said his usual piece about gathering for another service in two weeks and then added that a brother and sister of the church have agreed to enter the bonds of holy matrimony. Namely, LV _____ and Mary Ann _______  The wedding will be on Thursday in two weeks. I glanced over at Daddy where Ivan and Raymond were sitting beside him with huge smiles on their faces. I was glad to see their sorrow had been short lived.

The songleader announced a song and started singing. For some reason I couldn't concentrate on the words today. As the last note faded and the boys and girls filed out Vernie came scurrying out to meet me. Grabbing my hand she kept saying "My little Mary Ann is getting married!"  I told her her that she would have a special place to sit at the wedding, beaming happily she went back to sit with Emma until she was ready to go home.

Looking out the window I could see LV getting his horse ready. I got my shawl and bonnet and stood outside on the porch to wait for him to drive up. It seemed wonderful that we were allowed to ride with each other in broad daylight! No longer could anyone complain that we spent too much time together. He would be at our house everyday helping with the final preparations for the wedding.

We spent the afternoon writing wedding invitations until it was time to go to the singing. The fact that my years of attending singings regularly were almost over didn't seem real either. I loved singing and knew I would miss them.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I was sitting in the phone shanty for our usual half hour in case any of our customers wanted to call. It was cold outside and I had lit our old kerosene barn lantern and taken it along to set beside my feet to try to keep them from freezing. Engrossed in a book that I had taken along to read while I wait I was surprised to hear the door open  and Daddy step inside.

He had a weird expression on his face as he asked me to go to the furnace room, that someone was there that needed to talk to me. And that he would sit by the phone for the rest of the half hour.

I walked up the road wondering who needed to talk to me. I entered the furnace room and saw LV's Dad standing there waiting. He looked rather nervous and made some small talk about the weather. Behind us our huge furnace hissed and popped noisily with all of it's air pumps and water circulators. It made it hard to have a conversation and we practically had to yell to understand each other.

He shuffled nervously and then launched into the real reason he was there. "As was customary before you could have your engagement announced in church one of the ministers had to come talk to you," he stammered out. hemming and hawing he finally managed to ask if LV and I had maintained a pure courtship and a few more details.

I could feel my face turn beet red and felt like running to the house as fast as I could go. I told him that yes we did nothing that we have reason to be ashamed of.

He said that he hadn't expected anything else, and just so I know the bishop will ask the same thing on the morning of our wedding. 

To me that felt like a warning. I shuddered, and went into the kitchen where Mom looked at me sympathetically and I realized that she had experienced the same thing before they had married and now I knew why Daddy's expression had been so weird.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


After years of dreaming and planning Mom was finally going to get her new kitchen cupboards. The ones we had were old and the counter top an ugly bright orange. With a wedding on the way the entire house needed to be to be looking it's very best and the orange dilapidated counter top didn't fit the bill and had to go.

Mom and Daddy sat down one evening and drew up a blueprint of the new cupboards that they wanted. Daddy told Mom to add all the things she had seen and liked over the years. Since we would build it ourselves she could have it how ever she liked.

John got right to work the following day. It would take some time to build it since it was huge and covered two walls in the kitchen.

While he was busy making kitchen cabinets Mom and I were busy giving every room in the house a fresh coat of paint. It was starting to seem like a ridiculous amount of work to get ready for one day. I felt pretty confident no one would notice if the pantry didn't get a fresh coat of paint.

In the middle of all this painting Aunt Vernie came running over to the house calling for Mom and Daddy. She was clearly disturbed by something and could hardly get her words out but we grasped that something was wrong with Grandpa.

Mom and Daddy went over to their house right away and discovered that Grandpa had a stroke and needed to get to the hospital right away. I felt my heart drop, and hoped with everything within me that Grandpa would be okay. He had been really looking forward to the wedding and I really wanted him to be there. Somehow I didn't want to think of getting married without Grandpa there to give his blessing even though I knew he approved of LV and wanted only the best for us.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ever Closer

The oil lamp flickered ever so slightly as it stood on the end table next to the couch where LV and I were sitting.

"My parents have decided to move." he was telling me. "They would like to move the Monday after spring communion which will make that the date we had picked out for our wedding won't work so we'll have to figure something else out."

Getting the calendar we checked when a good time would be since my parents had said I need to be twenty before I got married. LV would be getting the home place from his parents when they moved and knew that spring was going to be very busy and it would be hard to schedule a wedding between field work. That we might have to wait until fall and he would have to try his hand at being a bachelor for a while. Or if my parents agreed we could move up the wedding date to before I turned twenty.

The rest of the evening passed swiftly as we talked about what it would mean to us either way. The thought of waiting until fall wasn't something we liked but if we had to we would.

The next morning I told Mom and Daddy about the new turn of events and was so happy when they agreed that we could get married sooner than we had planned. I wished I could tell LV right away. Two weeks seemed like an awfully long time to wait to talk about it. Daddy must have sensed how I felt and went out to the barn and hitched Fern to our little top buggy and told me to go tell LV.

Driving up the driveway at LV's home I couldn't help but admire the picturesque farm and to think that before long I would live there! It all seemed to good to be true.

LV saw me coming and came out to see what I wanted. Sitting in the buggy we talked about our wedding plans until we saw his mother peer at us through the window. "I guess it's not Sunday evening." he said as he got out of the buggy. We still have a lot to do and the wedding is so much closer.

Thinking of everything that still needed to be done I waved good-bye to LV and urged Fern into a trot and headed home.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Need to Share

I almost never talk about books that I am reading, on my blog. But I really need to share this gem. I got a new book on Saturday,  "The Search" by Suzanne Woods Fisher and refrained myself from starting to read until yesterday afternoon.

Curling up in my favorite spot to read I was soon transported to the rolling hills of Lancaster where Lainey O'Toole and Bess Reihl both spend the summer in Stoney Ridge. Bess to spend her summer with Mammi, her grandmother who was quite a character and fast became one of my favorites.

I loved how this book really drew me into the story, I was laughing and crying all my way through.  It's hands down, the best Amish fiction I have ever read and I really enjoyed it.

I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a heartwarming, touching book to read.

No one asked me to do a review. I simply wanted to share a great read and hope that you will read and enjoy it too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Little Brother

My youngest brother, Raymond was still young enough that all the wedding preparations that were going on didn't seem to affect him at all.

He loved perching on a bar stool next to the sewing machine to watch as I worked on making my wedding dress. Once it was safely in my closet I focused on making new coverings. I would need to make quite a few white ones since that would be what I would be wearing after I was married. Up until that point I had always worn black. I also needed to make one last black covering to wear on my wedding day.

Making coverings was not something I enjoyed doing. They involved way too much handwork for my liking. Working on white covers wasn't much better, the only thing that kept me from getting bored and frustrating was the happy hopeful feeling I had when i thought of the reason I would be wearing them.

I had completed several of them and had them setting on the table in the sewing room. Several others were half ways completed. I was glad I would soon be done and have something else to cross off my to do list.

Working in the kitchen getting a meal ready Raymond came up to me all excited about something and wanting me to come with him to see. I washed my hands and followed him into the sewing room where the sight that met my eyes was enough to make me feel like screaming.

There were all the coverings I had worked so hard on snipped into tiny little bits. Raymond's happy look vanished when he noticed I didn't seem happy about what he had done. I couldn't stay upset with him though. He was such a happy little fellow and had only wanted to help out.

The following days I started over and this time made sure everything stayed out of his reach.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Simple and Yummy

Looking for dessert that is simple and delicious?

So was I. And happened upon this gem.

3 cans crescent rolls
1 can cherry pie filling
1- 8 oz pkg softened cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Use 1½ cans crescent rolls. Unroll dough and place on a cookie sheet. Press all edges together to form a single crust.  Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar and spread over dough. Next dump your can of pie filling on top. I used cherry but I'm sure any fruit filling would be good. Spread to within an inch of the edges of crust.  Taking the remaining 1½ cans of crescent rolls separate the dough into triangles and start placing them on top making sure to cover the sides first and then press lightly along the edges to keep your pie filling from running out while baking.

Place remaining dough triangles on top any way you like. A few cracks between triangles only makes it look even better once it's baked.

Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes until beautifully golden brown. Let cool and make an icing with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1½ Tbsp milk. Drizzle on top.   Enjoy!

I didn't have enough patience and poured the icing on before it had been cooled enough which made it run together and drip off the sides. It didn't affect the taste though.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Digging for the Root

On Monday morning I told Mom and Daddy all about the horrible rumor that had been told to LV about me. They were quite flabbergasted as well and gave me permission to go see my friend Martha to see where the story had started.

Daddy hitched our horse Fern to the little top buggy and I was on my way. I loved driving Fern, the morning was beautiful, and with the relaxing clip clop from Fern's hooves beating rhythmically on the asphalt I began feeling a little more mellow.

Driving up to the hitching rack I tied Fern and then walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Martha came to the door and seemed happy to see me. We chit chatted for a little and then I told her all about what LV had said she told him about me.

She immediately started apologizing profusely. Saying she should have come to me first to see if everything was true before she passed it on to LV.  That she and her family had been invited to Edith's house recently and Edith had been telling her that I had confided in her all of those awful lies, and since LV had always been one of her favorite cousins she immediately went to tell him.

Everything made sense now. Edith had never been happy for me that LV and I were courting. Martha and I spent the rest of the forenoon visiting and working. I was so happy that we were able to get everything patched up.

I felt Edith had hit a new low even for her and was not enthused about having to see her the next Sunday in church.

After telling Daddy and Mom about everything they suggested John and I might like to visit one of the neighboring districts the next Sunday. That way I had more time to clear my mind and not say anything to Edith that I might regret later.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Rumor

Everyone had gone to bed already and I was making my last rounds through the house checking to make sure that there were no stray socks or toys laying on the floor before I closed the living room curtains as a signal for LV that it was safe to come into the house.

I waited next to the door and once I heard his footsteps on the porch I opened the door to welcome him inside. Almost immediately I sensed that something was wrong as his smile didn't quite reached his eyes. He removed his hat and coat and we headed into the living room to sit at our usual spots on the couch.

I tried to make conversation but it fell flat. LV started reaching for my hand but then quickly drew it back and stuffed them in his pockets as he said in a pain filled voice that he was releasing me from my promise to marry him.

My heart dropped to my stomach as I stared at him in disbelief and dread. This couldn't be happening! Our wedding was less than six months away and he was breaking up with me?!  "Why?" I managed to choke out.

"Someone told me that you are only pretending to love me because your parents want us to get married." he answered. "That you really can't stand the thought of being my wife," he continued. He continued with more horrid lies that I had apparently been saying about him.

Once he was done I told him there wasn't a word of truth in any of that. That I loved him with all my heart and my world would totally crash if we were to call off the wedding.

A look of intense relief washed over his face as he told me how glad he was and how the past week had been so hard when on one hand he didn't believe what that person told him and on the other hand doubts kept growing.

I asked him who had told him awful things like that and he said it had been one of my best friends. I was surprised and hurt and vowed to go talk to her the next day to find out why she had been saying things like that.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Wedding Dress

I wanted to make my wedding dress before all the other preparations would make that I was too busy to concentrate as well as I wanted to be able to.

Daddy called a driver for me and I went to the local fabric stores. As I looked at the selection they had I felt repulsed. Our church rules were that only blue or black could be used as wedding dresses. I didn't want a black one but neither did I want any of the drab ugly navy blues that they had to offer. What made it even worse the only choice of fabric I had was poplino or a polyester broadcloth and I wanted neither. A year earlier one of the bishops had decided that his church district would no longer be allowed to wear clothes made with crepe or creme fraiche and thinking that all the other districts would soon pass the same rule the fabric stores had all quit selling it.  Poplino was thick, ugly, and scratchy, and the broadcloth was for every day clothes.

I went home empty handed and discouraged at the lack of nice material.

When Daddy and Mom heard about they made plans to go to Lancaster to visit daddy's brother and then stop at one of the stores there to find the fabric I was looking for.

When the day arrived to go one of my little brothers was sick so Mom had to stay at home with him and Daddy and I went by ourselves. We visited Uncle Ezra's for a few hours and then Daddy asked for directions to the nearest fabric store.
 As I entered the store I nearly had to catch my breath as I looked at shelf after shelf filled with beautiful fabrics over every color and fabric type. I went to their section containing blues and looked for a light weight crepe. Almost immediately a beautiful navy stood out. I got the bolt from the shelf and stroked the fabric. It was soft and pretty. Not too dark and yet not too bright that it would cause trouble if I wore it to church.

I took it up to the counter. Daddy looked at it approvingly saying that he thought it would make a very nice wedding dress. I asked the clerk for five yards and Daddy said "Go ahead and make it six." Then adding to me , "That way if you happen to make a mistake we don't have to come all the way down here again.And if you don't you could always use it someday for something else."

I couldn't wait to start sewing the dress. It made our wedding seem even closer and I was starting to feel as if I were living in a dream.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Choosing Furniture

One Sunday evening as I was about to go get ready for our date Daddy told me that LV and I should go to the showroom that evening and select what type of table and chairs we wanted so that he could make them before our wedding.

I thanked him and fairly flew upstairs. It would be so much fun choosing the design we wanted. I had never really given the possibility of receiving furniture from Daddy and Mom much thought. I had been too busy making other things for our home. My dresser drawers were getting filled with things that I had made and I loved opening the drawers and looking at everything and dreaming of the day when I could actually use them.

After LV came we went to the showroom. There were so many options to choose from, but we finally settled on a princess size chair, with a Victorian design back, and deluxe spindles. I could finally see why customers could spend a lot of time before they ordered their custom built chairs. We both loved the color of Washington Cherry with a glossy finish. The table was a little easier to decide. We both wanted something that could extend nicely in order to be able to have a lot of guests if we ever wanted to.

The next morning when I told Daddy what we had decided he got started on building the chairs right away. I enjoyed going down to the shop and watching him work on them. For some reason watching my chairs being made was much more special than all the thousands of chairs that I had seen Daddy work on over the years.

I had to substitute at one of the schools on the day that the chairs were moved to the finishing room to get stain and lacquer. When I came home I was very disappointed to see that instead of being stained Washington Cherry they had merely sprayed the chairs with lacquer and they were now natural. Daddy could see that I wasn't enthused about the color and told me that he knew I wouldn't want a dark color in my house. Natural was much more cheerful.

I wasn't convinced but knowing that I would have a dining set to start our home I couldn't really complain and I knew that Daddy was doing what he thought would make me happiest in the long run.

The chairs, now yellowed by years. Each one signed by Daddy just as he did with every chair he made.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good Times

The phone rang yesterday, glancing at the caller ID I saw it was my brother David. I'm always happy when one of my brothers call and picked up right away.

This time instead of our normal catching up on the latest he had a request. Because of the snow he couldn't get his big rig to a drop off and was stranded only 12 miles from our house and was wondering if we could pick him up. We were more than happy to do so, and the rest of the day was spent talking and being the great uncle that he is he had to play games with each of the children.

I was sad to see him leave this morning, but thankful for the chance we had to spend some time together once again.  Family times are the best!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Niggling Doubts

Every once in a while one of our neighbors would stop in to visit with us. He was an older man, a pastor of a small backwoods church. He was very passionate about what he believed and it seemed no matter what the conversation was about he always wound up preaching to us.

Daddy and Mom would listen politely as he stressed the importance of becoming born again, that unless we were "saved"  we had no hope of getting to heaven. We needed to repent, to call on Jesus. That it didn't matter what type of clothes we wore or how plain our buggy was if Jesus had not become our personal Saviour we were lost.  He would talk for hours at a time, though always friendly there was something about what he was saying that made me a little uncomfortable and I had to wonder if just maybe what he was saying applied to us.

After he left Mom and Daddy would chuckle at how he was trying to get us to have a "new belief" that we didn't have to worry about what he was saying and only worldly people believed on being saved. God had chosen for us to be Amish and as long as we stayed faithful to that we would one day be in heaven too.

Laying in bed at night I would think about everything, but then pushed it to the back of my mind. There was no need to change anything since I was a member of the Amish church. There were so much more fun things to think about, like making wedding plans and dreaming of our new home. With that I disregarded everything we heard from the pastor and spent my time dreaming of being married to LV.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Life With Grandpas

After Grandpa Masts were settled into their new house right next to ours life soon got back into a pleasant routine. Grandpa didn't have much of an appetite so I found great pleasure in trying out new recipes and taking them over for him to sample. After he was done eating I would sit in the livingroom next to his rocking chair. Grandma would sit in her rocker and work on one of her projects. Her hands were never idle.

In his quavering voice Grandpa would launch into stories from his youth and early married life. He seemed to look forward to that part of the day almost as much as I did. And I made a point to always spend at least thirty minutes to an hour with him every evening.

I knew that wouldn't be possible after I got married and I wanted to cherish all the time with Grandpa that I could.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winner and .....

It was so much fun reading all your comments about what you have been reading recently. Some of my favorite books were mentioned and also a lot I hadn't heard of before that I will now have to see if I can find and add to my stack of reading I want to do this year.

Using to choose the winner the results are in and the winner is...........
Comment number 31

Yolanda said .........
My current reading is the newest edition of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. A dear friend gave me a subscription for Christmas!

Congratulations! Yolanda. Please email me with your address and I can get the book shipped to you.

Several weeks ago my friend Monica asked me to do a guest post for her blog. I have been meaning to share a link ever since but some how I'm too much of a scatter brain and I kept forgetting.

If you want to read it you can check it out here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Giveaway, Just Because

  • Because it's a new year.
  • Because it's snowing outside.
  • Because I just passed the 700 followers mark.
  • Because our cozy house makes me feel like curling up somewhere with a good book.
  • Because it's Saturday.
  • Because I'm feeling a wee bit generous.
  • Because I appreciate each and everyone of you who takes a moment out of your day to read my ramblings.
I am giving away another true to life Amish fiction book. Written by Amish author, Mabel Burkholder. The book is called "When Crickets Sing"  It follows David Weaver as he goes through his teenage years, his courtship with a girl from town , the difficulties they faced, and his marriage.

I used to enjoy this book a lot and was happy when they decided to reprint them. I am now giving one of you the opportunity to become the owner of a copy of this book.

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what you have been reading recently. For a second entry place a link to this giveaway on your blog and then come back and leave another comment telling me you did.

I will choose a winner on Monday Jan 10 using
Disclaimer: The only compensation I get from doing this giveaway is a warm happy feeling that I get from knowing someone else will get to read one of my favorite books.
Giveaway is closed and a winner chosen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Apple Pie

Outside the snow is falling, clinging carefully to every surface it can. I enjoy snow the most by staying inside and looking out the window.

I always feel like doing some baking when ever it snows.  I had several apples in the refrigerator for a while already waiting until I feel like making dumplings or pie.

I decided to make a pie this time.

Apple Pie

6 cups sliced apples (5 apples)
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp granulated tapioca
½ tsp cinnamon

Toss together and let set while you prepare the pie crust. Recipe here.

Don't worry if it looks like you have way too many apples for one pie. Pie pan should be filled nicely rounded.

After placing the top crust on pie. Bake at 350º for 30-45 minutes until your desired golden brown.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Meeting Cousins ~ The Initiation

Leaving the wedding we went to Daddy's brother Enos where we would spend the night. All the other aunts, uncles, and cousins that didn't live in that community also went to them. Enos wife Lydia bustled about trying to make sure that everyone would have a place to sleep.

The boys would all have to sleep in the woodworking shop on cots and sleeping bags while the girls would all have to sleep in their parlor on blanket nests on their hard floor. I wasn't too concerned about how hard the floor was since we had already planned to stay up all night.

After visiting with the aunts and uncles for a little while all of us cousins went out to the shop where we started playing games. An hour later Enos came out and asked us all to come into the house to have evening prayer and then it's time to go to bed. We followed him into the house and after prayer Lydia said we could all have a cup of coffee if we wanted to yet before we go to bed and added who ever doesn't get a cup needs to go to bed right away.

I hated coffee (still do) but I wasn't ready to go to bed and decided if drinking a cup full made that I could get to stay up longer I would choke it down somehow. We all took a cup of coffee and headed back out to the shop where we sat and talked and laughed. I was glad to see that LV was thoroughly enjoying himself. After a while cousin Nathan asked LV if anyone had ever given him shaving lessons. LV was smooth shaven and answered that he never really needed shaving lessons it had not been something hard to learn.

Cousins Johnny and Nathan solemnly informed him that he really does need to have a real shaving lesson though. Johnny said he would go get the supplies and they would get to it. After he came back out to the shop he was carrying two small bowls of water. Sitting on a chair he asked LV to sit on another chair facing him and the lesson was about to begin.

He gave him his instructions saying, " Here hold this bowl of water. I am your mirror. Don't ever take your eyes off of my face and do exactly what I do." Johnny dipped his fingers into his bowl and rubbed them over his face. LV did the same. Johnny instructed now we need some shaving cream of-course so since this is only a lesson we'll pretend the shaving cream is on the bottom of the bowl." Johnny rubbed his fingers across the bottom of his bowl and then over his face. LV did the same, only his face got black. Johnny had secretly blackened the bottom of LV's bowl over an oil lamp in the house before he brought it out.

The shaving lesson continued until LV's entire face was black. No one said a word while the lesson was going as we all watched. Finally Johnny said and like always once you are done shaving you look into a real mirror and handed a mirror to LV. He looked into it and laughed heartily. They gave him some paper towels to clean up.

The rest of the night was filled with more games, fun, and laughter. Finally at five I went to the house knowing that aunt Lydia would soon be getting up and would probably appreciate having help preparing breakfast for everyone.

After breakfast it was time to head for home. As we were ready to leave Nathan and Johnny came and congratulated me on finding someone like LV.  They had planned that shaving lesson to see what his reaction would be. He had passed their test and they could now extend their blessing if we ever wanted to get married.

It felt nice to know that LV had met their approval.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wedding ~ Part Two

The afternoon wore on as they kept singing. The majority of the songs were new to me and it got to be rather wearisome sitting there listening to everyone else sing. I was glad once we could go outside again.

Since it was late fall it got dark early. I watched with interest as the boys pulled buggies out in front of the barn and turned their lights on. With several of the young folks playing their harmonicas and someone else singing the rest of them enjoyed square dancing. LV, John, a handful of our Canadian cousins stood there and watched. We knew better than to help, knowing that any type of dancing was strictly forbidden in our churches.

It started snowing but the dancing continued. Growing cold we decided to go to the barn until it was time to go into the house for dinner. Once again the girls were lined up outside the house to be escorted in to the table. There was an over whelming amount of food served and then to top everything off they served ice cream in little dishes each with two spoons. I was glad that it was LV that I got to share a dish rather than some stranger like John and a lot of our cousins had to.

Once the wedding was officially over the fun was about to begin. All of us cousins planned to spend the night together visiting, and playing games. I looked forward to having LV get to know my Swarey cousins better. There was never a dull moment when we were all together.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wedding ~ Part One

Almost every thing about my cousins wedding was different from what I was used to.

 In the morning before services started I was amused at how all the girls crowded around the mirrors and slicked their hair back with water and in some cases vegetable oil to ensure their would be no stray wisps of hair anywhere. One of my cousins surveyed my hair and announced I needed to slick mine back as well. I declined being quite content to have my hair just the way they were.

After all the women had found their seats it was time for the girls to file in to their benches. I was glad that I got to sit at a spot where I had a good view of the bridal party. I felt sorry for the bridesmaids that they weren't allowed to be escorted by their boyfriends and would have to spend the entire day with some other boy instead.

The singing was done in true Lancaster style, I thought it was nice but didn't mind that we were used to something different.

I thought it was very nice that Fannie's grandpa got to preach the first sermon. After the bishop preached the main sermon it was time for them to get married. I was surprised that they had only two vows before the bishop pronounced them man and wife.

The last song was sung and then everything erupted. All the benches were rearranged and made into tables. Women and men both hurried to set them with ugly church dishes. The bridal corner looked a little nicer but I was really glad that my wedding wouldn't have to be like that. The young folks got to eat first while married couples served the food. The wedding meal was also different from what we were used to. The most disturbing part was the bowls of steaming cooked, creamed, and yet stringy celery. There were vases of carrots and celery sticks set along the middle of the table. I had never heard so much crunching in my life as they ate them cheerfully.

Once we were done eating the young folks all headed outside to visit until the married folks had eaten their meal. The groom distributed beef jerky to all the boys instead of cigars like they normally did in that community. The bride handed out candy bars to all the girls. I felt lucky to be a girl, chocolate is better than beef or cigars!

Before long it was time to go back inside to sing. The girls all lined up outside the house and the boys came walking by. When they saw who they wanted to escort to the table they held out their hand. If the girl wanted to be escorted by that boy she would take his hand and they would walk into the house and find a seat. I kept my hands firmly behind my back until LV came along. Once we got inside the house we were instructed to sit at the bridal table.

Once every one had found a seat they started singing. As they were singing someone started bringing in beautifully decorated cakes and plates arranged most artistically with special foods. All the guests had brought something special like that and it seemed almost as if there had been a contest to see who could make the most exquisite piece. They would present it to the newlyweds and after they admired it they sent it around the bridal table so that every one else could see it as well. It looked much too pretty to eat but anyone who wanted to could sample any of it if they chose to.

To be continued

Monday, January 3, 2011

Traveling With LV

My cousin Fannie was getting married and since we were close friends I really wanted to go to the wedding. They lived in a little community in New York, their wedding customs were quite different from the ones I grew up with and I looked forward to seeing how everything would be.

Daddy and Mom made plans to attend the wedding. They would get someone to come stay with my brothers while we were gone for several days. They also suggested that LV might enjoy meeting some of my cousins. Since our wedding day was getting closer they thought it would be nice if we would get to have one trip with each other.

I was thrilled at the thought that we could spend most of three days together and when LV's parents gave their okay I could hardly wait until it was time to go to the wedding.

The driver came and we got into the mini van and went to pick up LV.  Daddy sat in the front, Mom and John sat on the next seat while LV and I got to have the last seat to ourselves. It seemed great being able to talk without having to keep an eye on the living room clock. It didn't seem very long before I heard Daddy say something about watching for a place to eat. I hoped he would stop somewhere other than his usual choice of McDonald's and wasn't disappointed when we stopped at a real restaurant.

We all sat together at the same table. I can't recall what I had but still remember that LV ordered a steak. When our orders came he started cutting the fat from his steak. Daddy was sitting across the table from us and was watching as all the fat got set to the edge of LV's plate. I was absolutely mortified when Daddy said, "I'll eat the fat if you don't want it."

I felt like sinking out of sight as after LV's okay Daddy reached over to his plate and got the strips of fat. I had hoped Mom and Daddy would be comfortable around LV, but not quite that comfortable!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I had a New Years post all planned but somehow the day got away from me with out ever getting it written. So I'll save it for 2012.

Wishing all my readers a year filled with blessings.