Saturday, April 18, 2015

P ~ Pranks

Being the only girl in the family and having five brothers who all enjoyed a good prank I was often found at the receiving end of their shenanigans.

When LV and I started courting it felt as if their pranks were taken to the next level. They would wait at one of their bedroom windows that happened to be directly above the door where he would be standing until I opened it to invite him inside.

Being prepared to drop a big quilt down on top of him, or any other diabolical things they had rigged up to be triggered when the door opened, was their idea of a fun prank. It didn't take LV long to learn not to be too trusting and become very aware of his surroundings when approaching that door.

They took things a little further, by tucking embarrassing sound effect devices under the couch cushions which of course made their designated sounds when we sat down.

Life has changed a lot since then. I haven't been pranked for a long time, but I have to smile because they are now raising a new generation of pranksters. Maybe with a little whispered encouragement from their aunt, my nieces and nephews will turn the tables and prank their unsuspecting dads.

Friday, April 17, 2015

O ~ Old Maid

In the community I grew up in, the average age for a girl to get married was 19½.

If they weren't in a serious courtship by the age of twenty-one, their chances of ever getting married dropped dramatically, and most resigned themselves to the fact that they would most likely be an old maid.

Old maids didn't move out of their parent's homes. Instead they would be the ones then caring for the aging parents once that was necessary, even moving into a dawdy haus with them.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N ~ Nerves

The clip clop of a horse's hoof beats, and the singing of steel buggy wheels coming down the road always made us look out the window to see who it might be. But when the horse slowed to a walk and turned into our driveway and we looked out the window to see several men climb out of the buggy and recognized them as the school board my nerves would react immediately.

My throat would close, making it almost impossible to speak audibly, my stomach would clench and I'd feel totally sick. My mind would run back over the past few days at school and wonder what I did or said that could warrant a visit from these three scary men.

Most of the time it had nothing what so ever to do with me, but the few times it did made that my nerves were shot when ever they appeared.

It was nice graduating and no longer panicking when ever the schoolboard showed up, but a few years later my nerves took on an even bigger hit when I became a member of the church. Now not only was I affected when ever a buggy pulled in with the bishop or one of the ministers, but every Sunday when members were asked to remain seated after church I was always nervous and afraid they would have come up with some type of new rule, or decided on something else that would now be deemed a sin and require church discipline.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M ~ Molasses

Molasses was an important staple in our pantry while I was growing up, and many other Amish pantries as well.

We used to get it from a bulk food store in five gallon pails.

After bringing it home, a gallon jar would be filled to make using it a little easier than having to lug a heavy five gallon pail around every time we needed some. The pails of molasses would be stored on the floor, tucked under one of the shelves in the pantry.

We used three different kinds of molasses.

Our most used was blackstrap molasses. We used it to bake bread, cookies, Shoo-Fly pie, and stirred it into milk to drink. Instead of having chocolate milk, we had blackstrap milk.

The second kind of molasses, some referred to as white molasses. In reality it was corn syrup. It was used for Pecan Pies, and church peanut butter.

The third was sorghum molasses which happened to be delicious spread on bread instead of honey or jams and jellies.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Speaking of April 15th...what's the most 'taxing' thing you've done recently?

The most taxing thing I did recently was scour our house for an important item that was lost. It's still missing and I'm trying to deal with the possibility that it may have accidently been thrown into the trash, and figuring out how to proceed from here.

2. When did you last take a taxi somewhere and where was that somewhere?

I have never been in an actual taxi. However I have had plenty of experience going places with people who made a living driving Amish people.

The last time was probably a week or so before we left the Amish, and it would have been to go to town.

3. What's something you can do today that you couldn't do a year ago?

Have a conversation with Buddy. Three year olds are so much fun!

4. How often is chicken (in some form or fashion) on your menu at home? Which of the following would you most like to see on your table tonight...a chicken salad sandwich, your mom's fried chicken, a Chick-fil-A meal, Cracker Barrel's chicken n' dumplings, a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, or 'hold the chicken, I'm a vegetarian'...?

We have chicken almost every week. I had planned to make chicken n' dumplings tonight. But it's still frozen solid even though I had placed it in the refrigerator to thaw yesterday afternoon.

5. What was your favorite television program when you were a kid? What characters do you remember the most?

The only TV I got to see when I was a child was a hidden glance or two on the very rare occasion when I went shopping with Mom at a K-Mart.

6. What was the last piece of 'art' you made?

I haven't been very craft-y for quite a while. Does edible art count? I love creating beautiful food.

7. What frustrates you most about the Internet?

I get frustrated when it's not as fast as I want it to be, and pop up ads are always annoying.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

One of my favorite parts of spring is listening to the spring peepers every night. With a creek and the swampy-ness behind our waterfall there seems to be an abundance of them. They can get really loud which is fine, but when one decides to leave the rest and come up to the house to sing, it's a little annoying.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L ~ Lamps

When ever we go to visit our family who is still Amish I always dread dusk. That time of day when you can barely see, but because there is still a little bit of light they keep going until it's actually dark before they light their lamps.
A lamp using Coleman fuel was usually used in what ever room the family decided to gather in, in the evenings. The rest of the rooms were lit with dim oil lamps.
There was something comforting about winter evenings as we gathered in the kitchen to enjoy popcorn and apples as Mom would read a chapter or two from a book and the gas lamp would be hissing noisily. As the evening wore on the light would get dimmer and quieter, so Dad would take it down from where it was hanging above the table and pump more air into its tank.
Every Saturday we would get all the lamps and bring them into the kitchen where I would trim their wicks and wash the chimneys and fill them with kerosene.
Sunday evenings the soft glow from an oil lamp gave the perfect light for LV and I to enjoy our date.

Monday, April 13, 2015

K ~ Kissy

Sorry, this is not what you think.

I can't make myself write anything about kissing even when the characters in my story are obviously in love, so there is no way a post about kissing will be written for my blog.

However in the language the Amish speak kissy is something quite different. It's a pillow, any pillow.

So if you're ever in an Amish home and you happen to hear a child say the word kissy they are not asking for a kiss, they're asking for a pillow.

We used to have normal pillows for our beds when I was growing up, and several nice pillows for our sofa that we would bring out and use when we knew we would have visitors. 

My grandmother, and family in Lancaster and its daughter settlements used to have huge pillows for their beds. One pillow per bed was all they needed since it was as wide as the bed. These big pillows were homemade, often stuffed with feathers they had collected from their flock of geese.