Saturday, November 28, 2009
How I spent the day after Thanksgiving
I had written to Lovina a couple of weeks ago to see if her store would be open the day after Thanksgiving. She wrote back to say the store would be open, and yes, she had fireballs (These are hot, cinnamon jawbreakers that my three kids really like.). Lovina is Old Order Amish and therefore has no phone — absolutely no electricity. I first met her in the summer of 1988. Jake, another Amish acquaintance of mine, and maker of my dining room chairs and cherry rocker, sent me to her store when I asked him where one could purchase homemade jam. Since then, she and I have become friends and exchange letters now and then and I make a point to go to see her at least once a year.
When I arrived at Lovina's farm, there were no buggies or cars in her driveway. I entered the store and immediately she greeted me and gave me a big hug. She had a young girl working for her - sweeping the floor and stocking shelves. I started to tell Lovina how many pounds of jawbreakers and oatmeal I wanted. I looked around the little store and picked up a book, a couple of jars of soup base, lemon drops, and a few other items. I bought a jar of homemade apple butter, and a nice dust cloth. While shopping, I asked her if the Amish celebrate Thanksgiving. She told me they do, but not the way we "English" do. She said they spend the morning fasting and in prayer. At noon they have a little lunch - which could be turkey, but not necessarily. They usually spend the rest of the day with family. She said Christmas is spent similarly, with the Christmas story being read from the Bible. They give gifts, but only one per person. They do not decorate or sing songs. I found this very interesting.
A young Amish women entered the store. She was holding a little baby. I asked if I could take a peek at him/her, and she graciously turned him my way. I told her I have a new grandson in Germany who I am so anxious to hold. She said I could hold her little one. I sat down on Lovina's chair and held the dear one. He was sucking a pacifier. I noticed his Amish baby attire: a black hat, covering a blue scarf around his head; a black, heavy blanket with blue flannel lining. This was held together by two large safety pins. He seemed content to be held by me while his mommy, Lovina and I chatted. I learned he was nearly three months old. He is the youngest of five children. His name is Yost. I asked if he had a middle name. His mother said he has an initial which is "A." She went on to say her sister-in-law had given birth to triplets on Monday. The sister-in-law already had five children! Wow! Can you imagine?!
Little Yost sat on my lap, watching his mother converse with me. Eventually she began to unwrap him. He had under his black bonnet two blue scarves, tied under his chin. Under the black, flannel lined blanket, was another thinner blanket. When all of that was removed or opened up, I saw his dark blue, Amish baby shirt. It may have been a wrap around, but I'm not sure. I finally got to see his chubby hands, which were so cute. He let me hold one of his hands. His pacifier popped out of his mouth and he gave his mommy a great, big smile. He was such a good baby. I held him while his mother completed her shopping and took her goods outside to her buggy. When she had her last box ready, I helped her walk to her buggy. I said hi to her horse, Ben, and watched her untie the horse and climb into the buggy, carrying Yost the entire time. She put him on her lap and covered him with a blanket, backed out of her parking spot, and drove away.
After leaving Lovina's, I drove back to Rochester where I had lunch with my brother at the Canadian Honker, one of my favorite places to eat. After eating, we walked across the street to Saint Marys Hospital to go to their beautiful chapel. This is such a special place for me, especially during the holidays. It's the most beautiful chapel I have seen. It was built in 1903 and added onto in the 1930s. It seats about 400. Patients are welcome any time of day or night. They can even be wheeled there in a bed, if necessary. Masses, as well as Protestant services, are held there daily. It was designed in the style of a basilica. My photo doesn't do it justice.