Working Alongside Some Mennonite Women, Part 4

23 01 2008

Rebecca’s youngest children were three and five.  The little three year old was a girl.  Her five year old was a boy.  I was amazed at how well they would entertain themselves while we were all doing chores.  Like all children, they had a barrel of toys.  They would dump them all out on the floor and play while the chores were being done.  Rebecca and Jake let them have a little white bunny rabbit.  Alvin, the five year old carried that bunny around quite a bit. 

Each Monday was a repeat of the same types of chores. Once in awhile there would be different tasks.  One afternoon after the dishes were done, Rebecca told me that she needed to hitch up the horses and take some logs down to the sawmill.  I rode with her.  She rode that wagon full of logs –through all of the backroads of their community– at a fast speed.  I was rather scared.  While driving along ,I mentioned to her how we send electronic mail around the world with just a click of our  computer mouse. Her mind just could not fathom such information.  I was very glad to get back to her house after that wagon ride.

Jake and some of the men from the community bid on a job in my town to tear down an old warehouse.  They would ride the eighteen miles into town by horse and wagon, work all day–and make the long ride home.  I told Jake that if he ever felt  exhausted to make the ride home– that I had an extra bedroom available.  I really didn’t expect him to take me up on my offer.  One day in the middle of March, Jake and his two oldest sons showed up at my home.  It was one of those very cold March nights in Kentucky. 

At first we were going to tie their two horses to a tree in our backyard.  However, they were a little scared that someone would let them loose.  Our next door neighbor had a fenced yard.  We asked them if Jake and his sons could let their horses stay the night in their yard.  They were delighted to have the horses.  We did have their buggy in our backyard. 

Jake and his boys talked with us for just a little while.  They were tired from their long day of working on the warehouse.  The morning came early.  I got up to cook the eggs that they had brought from home.  They also had their own buttermilk and granola.  I would have been glad to offer them my food , but they would have been embarressed to accept my hospitality in that way.  There were many more weeks of work to do on the warehouse.  For them to accept our hospitality on a regular basis would have been frowned on by their community.  However, we were excited that they actually came that one time.

Western Kentucky has weather that changes back and forth.  It can be bitterly cold for a few days  and switch to spring like weather overnight.  Such was March of 2005.  The week after Jake’s visit–the weather was warm.  They had planted their own personal garden.  I wanted to learn how to hoe.  Rebecca took me to the garden and let me hoe for about an hour.  Then she made me quit.  She was afraid that I would have a heart attack.  I was never allowed to work in the garden again.  Rebecca had planted a few vegetables in February up by her porch.  If I remember correctly, they had an early crop of spinach  coming up in March. 

Maria would come off and on.  She was teaching a college course at a junior college in our town.  Maria asked Jake if we could attend their Good Friday service.  We were surprised when he told her that we were welcome to come.  The families took turns hosting church services.  The Good Friday service was going to be at Jake and Rebecca’s home.  Maria did take the time to help Rebecca scrub her home for the occasion. 

Good Friday was on March the 25th.  We dressed very modestly.  I wore a long black skirt, a black blouse and a black jacket.  When we arrived the men were all standing by the barn talking.  They wore blue shirts with their black suits.  The women and children were already in the house.  The service was very long.  Many times we would go to our knees for silent prayers.  They sung all of their songs without musical instruments.  The language was Pennsylvannia Dutch German.  The preacher did preach his sermon in English so that we could understand.  I thought that was very nice of him.

Rebecca and Jake planned to ride into town that afternoon to take their taxes to our daughter who is a Certified Pulic Accountant.  We begged them to come by our house after they got finished at Sandy’s office. Maria didn’t want to miss the possibility of their visiting our home.  Thus, she came into town and went straight to Sandy’s office to wait for Rebecca and Jake. Likewsie, I went to Sandy’s office.  The children were having a great time exploring all of Sandy’s pencils, pens and markers.  Finally, Jake and Rebecca agreed to visit our home.  I asked if I could ride in their buggy with them.  So we drove through town.  I was full of elation as we made the journey to our home.

When we arrived home–I served everyone ice cream.  Rebecca wanted me to play some hymns on my piano.  They don’t use musical instruments at all—but Rebecca had gone to public school for several years as a child and remembered the pianos.  Jake nodded that I could play some hymns.  It was a brief but wonderful visit.  Instead of heading home–they were going to visit another community of Mennonites for the weekend.

Good Friday had been a lovely day from start to finish.  As Spring progressed–I continued to visit Jake and Rebecca each week.  My final episode will be about how Rebecca taught me  how to can vegetables. 

God bless each of you!

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4 responses

27 01 2008
Brent WC

I wondered if you or your neighbor got some free fertilizer from the horses for your gardens in 2005?

I’m a little envious of your buggy rides around the countryside and right through Hopkinsville.

I also wonder how the City has adapted to this kind of traffic. There is definitely something to be said for their stubborn refusal to take up motor vehichles. This is the second week of the National Western Stock Show in Denver, something these people would probably deeply apprecaite. The show is held for two weeks each January with a rodeo and has been for over a hundred years now.

27 01 2008
nichole3

Yes, those buggy rides were fun–especially the one through our town. There are so many horses and buggies in town now. It is a regular event. Indeed, I imagine they would love the horse show.

love,
Sis

20 09 2009
Pat Bromley

I am absolutely enjoying reading this blog. I wish I had more time today. I am too truly fastinated with the Mennonite Communities and the Amish. I have had much contact with them here in Tennessee. Keep the posts coming.

21 09 2009
nichole3

Dear Pat,
I’m glad you enjoyed my Mennnonite series. We have much going on in our family and I’ve not taken the time to write much lately. I hope you will continue to browse my archives. Hopefully our 3rd grandson will be born tomorrow the 22nd of September. After our little one arrives, I hope to get back to writing on my blog.

Blessings,
Nichole

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