Spring was cautiously trying to peep through, but winter still had a grip on the land. A young married couple looked with great love at the little bundle they had just welcomed into the world. The young dark haired woman glowed with the glow of new motherhood as her handsome blue eyed husband gently cradled their firstborn. A tiny baby girl. For now, their joy was complete.
They had been married for only a year. Life was good. A precious little baby. A big successful pig farm. Friends and family all around them. They were part of the tight knit little group of Amish in a small northern community. They were happy, so happy, it truly seemed like all their dreams had come true.
That little baby was me. The firstborn and only daughter my parents had. Five boys were added throughout the years, but we'll come to them later.
Not long after I was born, a tornado went through the area, and my parents lost everything they had. Escaping with only their lives and their baby daughter. The Amish stepped up and provided them with whatever they needed, but after suffering such a financial loss they sold their land and moved into a little house right next to Grandpa Mast's big farm house.
The few memories I have of living there are only little snippets. My parents lived there for a few years and then moved to New York in the Finger Lakes Region where a new Amish settlement was starting. They moved into a little trailer on a dairy farm where Daddy would milk the cows morning and evening in exchange for rent and then had a day job at Wixson's Honey where he bottled honey all day long. It might not have been his favorite job, but as he likes to say, it was his sweetest.
In the evenings while Daddy was in the barn Mom would prepare supper and if we had to wait on Daddy to come in and eat she would sit on a chair in the living room and my brother John, who was two years younger than me, and I would stand in front of Mom and she would sing the "Lob Lied" in the long slow chant like we would sing in church. She would encourage us to help by watching her mouth. At the ages of only two and four we were taught our first Amish church song. After Daddy came in we would eat and then prepare for bedtime. We'd all sing together, hymns and church songs and then our bedtime song, "Mude ich bin ich geh zur ruh Schliesze meine augen zu Vater lasz die augen dein Uber meine bette sein."*
*I am tired I'm going to rest I'll close my eyes tight Father (God) let your eyes Watch over my bed