Monthly Archives: April 2008

It’s a new week and this Monday Morning brings opportunity for Grateful Praise.

Friday, Eldest Son’s Ohio Heart Throb made another safe trip to our fair state.  The weekend went well, and plans continue to be made.  This mother’s heart is grateful for quiet conversations and youthful laughter and young love.  She traveled safely home again last night, even though Eldest Son implored me to “Make her stay!  It’s a matter of National Security!”  (Yes, well.  There’s no logic to love.  Besides, even though there was a time when I could fix almost anything for him, that time is LONG GONE!)

On Saturday, the youth group of our little church got together for a work day.  They redid the nursery at our church.  (There is new carpet, new blinds, new accessories.  They painted the old cribs white, bought new mattresses and crib sheets.   It looks so sweet!)  They pulled weeds and planted flowers and mulched.  Domino’s Pizza has a wonderful special right now — Three or more 10″ pizzas with one topping (besides cheese) for $4.00 each.  The whole group ate pizza for lunch on 32 bucks!  That was pretty amazing!

Also, on Saturday, a batch of bread got made that met my expectations. 
(It is good for a “seasoned” baker to sometimes have glitches in her automatic results. And I think we have a place for the last four loaves of bread that won’t hurt my conscience.  I will tell you about that “after the fact — if I remember.)

Late Saturday night, my Sweet Mama called from Pennsylvania, where my Eldest Brother took her to visit Middle Brother.  I am a Great Auntie again.  Nephew Myron and his lovely wife, Abigail, are celebrating the safe arrival of Sophia Rose.  This is daughter #2 for them.  They have a precocious Isabella Ruth who turned two earlier this month.  This brings the total of great-grands to 14 with one more expected this summer.  When the weddings get over, and the babies get born, by the end of the summer, the Mark Yoder clan will number 70, Lord Willing.  (and if that  www.xanga.com/farmerboy9300 gets on with things, it just might be 71.  Do you hear me, Joe???)

On Sunday, my class of ladies again inspired and blessed me.  I look at their faces, think of the diversity of their lives, am amazed at their strength, often laugh with them at the funny, funny turns the lives of Christian women sometimes take.  And I weep for their heartaches, so close to my own sometimes that I don’t know if I’m crying for them or for me — and sometimes I weep for them and wonder what I would ever do in similar circumstances.  Our Sunday School lesson was on the prayer of Daniel, and the insights offered by the class made me ponder anew the grace available to us to live Godly in a society gone so wrong..

On Sunday Evening, the Greenwood Mennonite School’s High School Chorus gave a program at (what us oldster’s lovingly call) “The Brick Church.”  Acoustics in that place have always been phenomenal, but last night it was not only the acoustics, but The Spirit.  I am partial to one of their singers, not so much because of her musical ability, but because of her heart.  I loved looking at the faces of the people that Youngest Daughter runs around with almost every day, and I thought of how intensely she loves some of them.  I hated it that I couldn’t put a name on every young person in that Chorus, but I appreciated so much the music, how it spoke to my heart of worship and praise and the Hope of Heaven.  It was Holy Ground.  I hear it in my very soul today.

This morning, I got up with that obnoxious cold that I have been able to escape for most of the winter putting a band around my lungs and setting me straight into the bass section of any choir (if I were tempted to join — I’m NOT!).  There were the usual morning things of showers and lunches and laundry and phone calls and morning’s work.  Things are stirring merrily along.  Eldest and Middle Daughter are going to go to Dover to pick up some flowers for my containers and deck boxes and gardens.  I got to see my precious Middle Sister briefly on her way to the dentist.  A beloved Uncle is stopping around with information for a Yoder Family book that is getting updated, and even though I am feeling rather ragged around the edges, my heart is so full of hope and joy that it is hard to feel discouraged.

And this is for you, where ever you are and whatever you are called to do today:

“The eternal God is thy refuge . . .  and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  Deut. 33:27

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

It has been a contemplative week for Certain Man’s Wife.

31 years
ago on Thursday, there was a tragic accident in the life of our extended
family.  CMW has mentioned before on this blog that her Daddy’s brother, Jesse,
is married to her Sweet Mama’s sister, Gladys.  On that Sunday afternoon in
April, a young girl came around the corner on the wrong side of the road and hit
their volkswagen head on.  Their two sons, Robert, 18, and Joseph, 13, were
killed instantly.

 
It is funny to me how now, 31 years later, we are finally talking about it
on my mother’s side of the family.  The wreck happened a short distance from our
Wert Grandparents, and in a strange way, it was a blessing that, for most of our
families, we didn’t have to pass the spot in our daily travels.  My family has
been writing about that day.  It started with a posting that was a photo blog of
Robert and Joseph:

 
Late on the anniversary of their Homegoing,  their mother (and my Sweet
Mama’s) youngest brother posted this to the Wertlink Family Forum:  It was the
first I had heard some of these details, and it affected many of us the same
way. 
 
From Uncle Lloyd Wert:
__,_Things were so cheerful and happy just before the
accident.  Jesse’s had been at the 25th wedding anniversary for Raymond and
Wilma Kauffman and were now back at our home.  We all had been chatting in the
kitchen before they left.  Robert was eager to get back for the evening meeting
at Church if I recall and was pushing to get on the road.  Pop went out with
them to the car to see them off and everyone else stayed in.  Within 5 minutes
of them leaving, we began to hear sirens. Mama immediately started to worry when
the fire trucks and ambulances started arriving towards Cocolamus.  She wanted
us to make sure it wasn’t them. Pop and Mike and Phil drove to the road across
the dam since the road was blocked to the usual Cocolamus route.  As we came in
sight of the dam and looked across the water, Pop said, “That is their car”
which we could see was missing most of the front end.  Fear gripped both of us
as we saw how badly the car was mangled.  We kept driving to the road beyond
Cocolamus and as we attempted to turn left and get to the accident scene, a fire
police stopped us.  When Pop said, “That is my daughter and family in that
accident” and they allowed us through and we stopped just before the accident
and the boys stayed in the car as Pop and I went up to the accident scene.  I
found Jesse sitting on the bank nearby and said “Jesse, how are you?” and he
replied, “Things look really bad.  It doesn’t look good at all.”  He seemed in a
state of shock.  I saw the boys in the front of the car but did not go near, Pop
did. He reached in and touched both of them.  We were told that Gladys had just
left in the ambulance.  We did not know her condition.  I found Naomi and she
was being cared for by several of the ambulance crew and they were working on
her arm.  She was talking a lot out of anxiety and I’m sure fear and shock.  She
introduced me saying, “This is my Uncle Lloyd.”  I talked with her but I don’t
remember what all was said except that she apparently had some insight into
things as she suddenly blurted out, “I don’t think my brothers are alive.”  This
was the day before Naomi turned 11 years old.  When someone asked her age she
said, “I will be 11 tomorrow.”  Pop and I eventually drove back home with the
awful news for Mama and I held her for several minutes, both of us crying.  I
was in a state of disbelief and denial.  I kept saying to Pop that perhaps they
were still alive and he forcefully told me, “Lloyd, they are gone.”   Mike and
Phil were very quiet in the back seat and they both remember this as a most
momentous and somber time in their young lives.  (Mike was almost ten and Phil
was almost seven)  I remember calling people, a most difficult assignment.  I
got through to Paul who had been married to Erma for less than two years.  I now
assume that he was the only one I found at home because I remember talking with
Paul and no one else to convey what had happened.  He said he would be driving
right up and I kept telling him to be careful and not speed.  He must have given
the word to others and I believe others called back later.  Then someone stopped
by to say that one of us had to go back to the accident scene and pick up some
personal items before they towed the car.  As I received the items, they were
placing Joseph and Robert in the back of a carpeted station wagon.  As they
placed Robert, his right arm came across Joseph’ shoulder as if he was
comforting him.  I sobbed the whole way home.  For at least six months and
probably a year, I frequently awoke in the middle of the night with grief and
flashbacks of that scene and of that night. I was 36 years old and surely needed
counseling at that time which I never recognized until I look back on it.  Then
I think of what Jesse and Gladys and family had to face and work through.  And
to this day, this profound loss brings me to tears when I think about it.  I
guess we need to remember that heaven has no room for tears or sorrow or death
and that Robert and Joseph have a peace and comfort we will never know until we
are there with them.    Uncle Lloyd
 
 
There were lots of tears —
but a sense of being comforted somehow.  And then more memories began to come
in:
From  the boy’s older sister,
Shirley Miller:
 
Thank-you so much,
Uncle Lloyd, for taking the time to write out that “first hand” account.  Some
of those details I have never heard.  Even though it made me weep to read it, it
also blessed me, if you can understand what I mean.  One thing I don’t know how
to explain is the “marvelous grace of God” and how it “held and carried” us
during that time, but it was very real.  And family is very precious during a
time of grief like that.  I still remember the comfort received from so many
that really cared.  God has been so good to us.  We don’t deserve His goodness
and yet He is gracious with us anyway.  I hardly know what words to use to say
what I’m feeling….my heart is full.  It has been a day of remembering and
pondering……                                                                                                                  
~Shirley
 

CMW
writes:
 
Dear Uncle
Lloyd,
        I also wept when I read your account.  Daniel and I were in
Plain City.  Uncle Jesse’s son, Jonathan, was boarding with our family for a few
months in preparation for going to Europe with a singing group from Rosedale
Bible Institute, and we were enjoying him immensely.  We were in church at
United Bethel when Mark, Jr. called and asked for Daniel.  He went out to take
the phone call, came back in and got Jonathan and took him out and told him.  At
that point, it seemed as if they were unsure if Uncle Jesse would survive.  He
came back in and got me, told me the news, and I gathered up our children and
headed out to the back.  I don’t remember what I said or how I said it, but I
must not have said it quietly, because, suddenly, there were people at the back
door of the church with us, trying to comfort and sort things out.  There were
no cell phones in those days, and we needed to wait for news, so Jonathan didn’t
immediately leave.  We came home to our house on the little hill, and waited for
the phone calls to go through.  I remember needing music, and putting on
Rosedale Chorale’s album that Shirley and David had sung in — “Oh, Jesus, Grant
Me Hope and Comfort.”  How desperately we needed it then.
        Jonathan
gave up his plans to go to Europe.  He left shortly for Delaware.  We started to
put plans together for the same.  The Monday before, a half-starved, desperately
ill baby girl had been placed into our home as a foster child, and when we asked
permission to take her out of state, it was refused.  “We will just place her in
another foster home.  You can take Joseph and Salena, but Christina may not
go.”  We looked at the beautiful little girlie who had started to gain weight
and respond to us and knew that we would never let that happen.  “What in the
world can we do?”  Then Homer and Lena Beachy, substiture grandparents for our
foster babies came and said, “We will take care of the children.  We will come
to your home, and do anything that needs doing.  You GO!”  The State was okay
with that solution, and so we left and drove all night one night, got to the
church in time for the funeral,  spent the rest of the day and left again that
evening to return to Ohio.  Miriam Jantzi rode with us, and one or two others. 
It was such a sad, sad time.  The loss was
inestimable.
  

From the boys’ brother, Jonathan
Yoder:
 
Well, thanks to all for sharing your
memories–it has helped to talk about things–even 31 years later.  (Maybe we
did all need counseling)  I was out at Rosedale, staying at Dan and MaryAnn’s,
but I had only been there one week when the accident happened. i think that may
have been the last time I was at church at United Bethel Church in Plain
City.  I saw Dan Yutzy go out, and then he came and got me, and when I got the
news, it seemed all so unreal.  MaryAnn’s recollection of the time is very
accurate, and I flew home to DE the next morning, and then Dawn came with 3
other students from Rosedale in my VW bug as well–David Byler, Doris Schlabach,
and Lois Yoder(my cousin).  I never thought about the fact that a lot of people
missed a lot of school at the time–I guess it never crossed my mind. After the
funeral, I decided to stay home from Europe, where I was scheduled to go with a
choir in June.  I think it was the right thing to do, because at the time we
were not sure how Mama and Papa and Naomi were going to do, but I never have
made it to Europe.  But things happen for the best, and I believe it was part of
God’s plan.
 
      Jonathan
 
Another brother, David Yoder:
 
I too want to thank you, Uncle Loyd others for taking time to
recount the memories of the night Robert and Joseph were killed. As I read
through the accounts I couldn’t help but weep and recall the kindness of so many
people over that time. God bless you
all!

Dave 
 

From Aunt Orpha
Gingerich:
 
I will share a few
memories of that eve. Marie and I had gone up home for a short visit before
Jesse’s left, and we were talking a bit when the ambulances started screaming,
Marie and I started for home and Marie thought we should go to Cocolamus to see
if we could be of any help.  I know sometimes they don’t want people crowding
around, so we went on home.  We told Lloyd and he suggested maybe it was
Jesse’s.  “No” I said, “they are long gone”.  But Lloyd said “Still till they
would  call the ambulances it could be them”. So I tried to call Papa and Mama
but their line was busy, so I called Aunt Gladys and she said it was Jesse’s and
the boys were dead.  I started sobbing out loud till I said, “but they were
ready to go” . Lloyd and I got ready and went up to the hospital.  When we got
there they were wheeling Gladys out from somewhere and they were working on
Naomi.  But they were very concerned about Jesse.  The fluid was filling up his
lungs and they said there isn’t much they can do for that.  They said they were
sending him to Hershey but when the fluid starts up across the lungs there
really isn’t much to do. So they called the ambulance and they left Jesse talk a
little to Gladys. But the police interfered and started questioning. About  that
time, the word went out to the churches all around the country, and till Jesse
got to Hershey he was better.  I really felt it was the prayers of God’s people
that saved Jesse’s life.  When we were leaving the ICU, one of the nurses
followed us an said
 how
different it was from the usual reactions to an experience like that.  She said
it seemed like a presence was there.
      The evening before the
funeral, I was alone outside the ICU unit waiting to go in to see Gladys, and I
told GOD “somebody goofed, If they had gone a minute or two earlier, or a minute
or two later they would never have met on that curve”.  I pulled my Living New
Testament out of my pocket book and it fell open to Col 2:10 “AND HE IS THE
HIGHEST RULER OVER EVERY OTHER POWER”.  so that quieted the turmoil in my mind. 
Though we can’t understand it, it was under His control.
     Lloyd and I didn’t get
to the funeral, He went to Hershey to be with Jesse and I went to Gladys . .
.
      As I think back, I have
memories of our family being drawn together.  But we would ask that  it would
not be an experience like that to bond us together.  Naomi was discharged before
Gladys and was here a week or two.  It was a privileged to have her with us
during that time.    Orpha

CMW’s brother, Mark Yoder, Jr.

It’s amazing how details of major events can
actually become confused in our minds over the years.  In my memory, I had
gotten Dad’s permission to stay home the night of the accident.  That was quite
unusual for Dad to give his blessing to stay away from a Sunday night service,
but for some reason he had agreed to it this time.  In my memory, I was home
reading when Uncle Lloyd called and said that there was an accident and Robert
and Joseph were killed.  Uncle Lloyd was so overcome with emotion and tears that
he handed the phone to Grandpa, who confirmed that the boys were indeed gone.  I
kept saying over and over “Are you sure?  Are you absolutely sure?”  I simply
could not believe it and didn’t want to believe it.  And I didn’t want to start
calling people and then find out there was a mistake. If I recall right, I
called Greenwood and asked for Dad and shared the sketchy information that I
had.  Things were unknown at that point as to how things would end up for the
others in the accident.  I do remember having that “surreal” feeling, that this
was a dream and that I’d wake up and it wouldn’t be true.  If only it could have
been a dream!

Another thing i remember is that was the week I was mowing
a lot of rye for haylege and spent a lot of time out in the field on the tractor
doing hay.   To this day when the farmers begin mowing hay in the Spring, I
think of Robert and Joseph and often wonder how life would have been different
without “the accident.” – Mark Yoder, Jr.” 

 
 
From Aunt Freda Zehr: 
I was thinking as I read all
of the posts about that dreadful time in our
lives, and especially in Gladys
and Jesse’s, lives,
how that thirty-one years have passed and this is the
first, at least that I
have known
about, that we are all able to talk and
to share our feelings about it.
I think this is the right time, I think that
it has been long enough that
we can all look back and see Gods hand in it
all. Not that one can ever look
back without pain and hurt and questions and
wonderings, but that
as time goes by one can see how God used it to
strengthen many peoples faith.

Reading everyone’s report, I realize that
I had forgotten many
things–for instance that Lloyd G was with Jesse during
the
funeral and Orpha was with Gladys.
This whole discussion has felt
like putting the pieces of a puzzle
together
for me.
And now just
reading Orpha’s story of
how the nurses said the reaction was different,
starts to
adds more pieces of the puzzle–the puzzle of what good could ever
come
of two wonderful boys losing their life at such a young age.
But it
only starts, I am sure that puzzle will only be finished when
we all get to
Heaven.
For myself it has been healing and good to have shared these stories,
as
painful as they are. love and prayers, Freda

 
 
And then, Uncle Jesse’s note
put a special touch to the discussion:

Thank you so much,
Uncle Lloyd, for taking time to write out your memories of that sad moment in
time. Your comments are healing, even while the tears come. Freda tells of her
response, and I know that all of us remember the news of Allen and Ruth Ann’s
accident which took the precious life of Jennifer
. (Buckeyegirlie’s
edit:  Another Aunt and Uncle, Allen and Ruth Ann Shirk, had an accident in
1969, also close to my grandparent’s house, and their oldest child, 6 week old
Jennifer, was killed.)
  I have wondered  why both accidents took
place so close to home?? Grandpa and Grandma Wert were ‘towers’ of strength
during those times of grief and sadness! That meant so much to us. Gladys and I
were looking at pictures and thinking back—–You spoke of counseling, Lloyd,
and I wonder how that would have helped us as a family, had it been available?
Gladys has spoken numerous times about not being at the funeral of Robert and
Joseph—would that have made a major difference for us? I believe it would have
been helpful for her. I believe mothers are affected differently than any other
person involved.

        Even though it has been long since those events
affected us as a family, it means so much to know that we are remembered! You
all are very special to us! Lots of love,
J&G


In a world of loss and broken dreams and disappointment — sometimes with the people we love, sometimes with the people who love us, and sometimes, even, God, I think of the perspective 31 years gives us.  As a parent, I must say that the example that Uncle Jesse and Aunt Gladys have left for us has given me courage and hope and deepened my faith in a God who knows our tomorrows but cries with us today. 

And the incredible reality of having someone we love safely home is still the greatest comfort of all.
 
 

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

We’ve been gone.  I guess that is probably pretty obvious, isn’t it?  Certain
Man and I made quite a trip over the weekend.  I just love going away with him
all by ourselves and it was a really special weekend.

First, we left on
Thursday morning, and went to Holmes County, Ohio, to meet the parents of Oldest
Son’s Ohio Heart Throb.  That was a really special time, and we had a great
supper, and it was relaxed and happy and just plain fun.  We got to see Regina
in the setting of her home, and it was a blessing to us.

Yet that night,
we went down to Plain City.  Certain Man has a cousin who lives just a few
streets over from his parents on a quiet little cul de sac, and they had said we
could stay at their house for the nights whilst a ” Family Maintenance Weekend”
was happening.  Certain Man’s sister, Lena, and his sister, Rachel, and her
husband, Ivan Zehr, came to pitch in and take care of some things there.  They
got lots and lots done, too.  I did some things, but mostly, I cooked and ran
errands.  The weekend wasn’t long enough, and my heart aches for this family. 
It is obvious that these two old people won’t be able to stay alone much longer,
but I honestly don’t know what to do.  And you know what, it isn’t really my
problem.  However, the others don’t know what to do either.

We left there
early yesterday morning, and traveled to Denver, PA where Certain Man was taking
the suit for our son’s weddings to have it altered.  Then we stopped to visit
some dear, dear friends who live out in the boonies of Denver, PA.  What a great
time that was, too.  Bev Martin and her family are old friends of ours from
before we moved to Delaware.  So it was really, really sweet to spend some time
with her.  Her mother fed us some delicious homemade vegetable beef stew that
really hit the spot, but along about five thirty, when we were starting to
leave, I developed a really sharp pain in the upper right part of my abdomen,
and it gave me fits until after I got home.  I took some strong pain medicine,
and then went to sleep.  Thjis morning it felt wonderful, and I was really
tickled to have it gone.  This afternoon, Certain Man grilled me a very small,
but perfect Filet Mignon steak, seasoned perfectly, and just perfect in every
way.  Within an hour, I was feeling so bad that I wondered if I didn’t need to
go to the emergency room.  I kept thinking, “Well, I need to finish this yet,”
or that it just wasn’t the right time to leave.  Thbis evening, it was really
hurting, so I looked it up in one of my medical books, and I am pretty sure that
it is a gall bladder attack of some sort or other.  I took a very strong pain
pill tonight, and it is much, much better.  Of course, I am so sleepy I hardly
know what end is up, and I keep making stupid mistakes on here, but I guess I
need to schedule some sort of upper G.I.series and see what is going on before I
get myself into a real quandary and an emergency.

I came home to a wonderful surprise.  Eldest Daughter and Middle Daughter, in a conspiracy with Certain Man, arranged to have my downstairs bathroom redone.  They took out the wall paper that was there when we moved here 19 years ago, and had a painter come in and paint it all.  Including the ceiling!  WOW!!!  What a difference!!!  They even got one of the new handicapped toilets and had it installed, and that is really a blessing.  They painted the whole thing white, so it will need some decorative touches, but not too much.  Stop by and see it if you get a chance. I am so pleased with it.

Oh, yes!  I took my bread along
to Ohio.  By the time I got it there, it hardly smelled bad at all.  Of course, they
all ate it happily.  However, that isn’t too much comfort, as Daniel’s Mom
cannot really smell, and neither does his oldest sister.  However, while I was
out there, I talked to Middle Daughter.  She had cooked a chicken, and decided
that she was going to buy some bread at the grocery store.
    Said Eldest
Son, “Will You PLEASE use the store bought bread for my lunch tomorrow?  This
bread of Mom’s is so bad that I cannot ever taste what is in my sandwich when it
is made from that bread.”  So they have eaten most of that loaf of store bread,
and there are still the four or five loaves of the “donut bread” in the freezer.  I’m thinking seasoned
bread crumbs or croutons or something similar.  I know that I cannot
conscientiously throw it away, and everyone keeps telling me that it isn’t that
bad — but when I opened the loaf here on the counter tonight, I could still
tell it as bad as ever, at least to my nostrils. 

But it is time to
speak of other things.  I have some gorgeous old pictures from several years ago
of the yard in Spring at Shady Acres, and things are very bit as pretty.now as
they were then.  I actually did plant my “arc” of Geraniums tonight, and I am
hoping they don’t freeze.  I am really anxious to get my flowers
planted.

One other thing.  Some of you know that I have been on Weight
Watchers since the end of January,   I came home with my “losses” pretty much
intact.  The last weigh-in that I had at Weight Watchers was a week ago and at
that time, I was .4 (Four tenths) of a pound nigh unto losing 30 pounds.  I feel
such a difference, and I enjoy their program very much.  I know it is not for
everyone, but things seem to have changed drastically since the late ’70’s when
I was looking for something similar to this program, and the changes are things
that make it a whole lot easier to learn.  I have some really great
“cheerleaders,” too, and that helps me so much.

And now, Certain Man has
climbed the “mountain” to bed, and I need to go, too.

Thanks for all
your comments.  My Xanga friends are an incredible blessing to me.

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Saga of the Bread Continues . . .

I got another loaf out of the freezer last night.

I think that freezing it has not helped it at all.

The longer it goes, the worser it tastes.

14 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

    Saturday Morning, 5:30 AM. 
    The rain was dripping off the eaves, and Certain
Man’s Wife, snuggled under the covers to catch a few extra winks of sleep. 
There would be no wood cutting for the few brave men of Laws Mennonite Church,
so Certain Man wouldn’t be down the road for most of the day, working himself
half to death.  In fact, this was the day that Certain Man and Certain Man’s
Wife were to go out hunting for the great Wedding Suit that would be suitable
for the “father of the groom” for not only one son’s wedding, but actually,
two!
    “I refuse to buy separate suits for weddings that will be only eight weeks
apart!” he stated, rather emphatically.  And so, since Youngest Son and Girl With a Beautiful Heart suggested that he wear a black suit for their wedding, and the Eldest Son and His Ohio Heart Throb didn’t really care what he wore as long as he was dressed, the decision was made to go looking for a black suit that would serve a dual purpose.  (Now if only Certain Man’s Wife could do the same with “mother of the groom” dresses.  Ha, Ha!)
    Certain Man had proclaimed that he really didn’t have time to go shopping.  His chickens were going out early Monday morning, there were things to do in the chicken house, and there was a dinner and a play at Youngest Daughter’s school at 5:30 in the evening that Youngest Daughter was a part of.  It was imperative that they attend.      Certain Man decided that, if they got off early, they should be back early, and that would leave plenty of time to do everything at home that he wanted to do.  So the time was set to leave soon after nine o’clock Saturday morning.  CMW thought briefly that the Mall wouldn’t even open until ten, but reasoned that CM is quite often not ready when he thinks he will be, so thought that it would be fine.
    As she lay sleepily listening to the rain and thinking about the day ahead, it suddenly dawned on her fur brain that she was almost out of bread.  And tomorrow, the families of their small group were coming for lunch, as this particular small group are the designated hosts for the first Sunday of every month, and the food had been taken care of except the bread.  Usually there is plenty of bread at the house of Certain Man and Certain Man’s Wife because CMW bakes ten loaves at a time whenever the supply gets low. 
    This actually is not the job that it might appear to be.  Certain Man put a second cookstove in a little alcove in CMW’s laundry room, and it is usual for her to be able to bake those ten loaves from the beginning mixing to finished baking in about three hours.
    Of course, CMW calculated the time between her head on the pillow and 9:00 AM (well, actually, 9:30 or 10:00) and realized that there was enough time to bake bread before she left for the shopping mall.  That way, she wouldn’t get into any complications after she got home, and there would be bread for lunch the next day.  So before she (or Certain Man) could change her mind, she leaped out of bed and started rummaging for day clothes.
    “Where are you going?” questioned Great Sleeping Bear.  I mean, Certain Man.
    “If I get busy right now, I can bake bread before we head out for Dover.  I think I will be glad later tonight that it is done.”  He made some mild objections, but didn’t actually tell her she couldn’t, so she descended down to the kitchen to commence to start.
    Three cups of dry milk powder went into her big Pyrex mixing bowl, then she filled it until it was ready to overflow with hot water.  Ten cups of reconstituted milk.  It went in to her gigantic metal bowl.  Three more cups of warm water went into the same Pyrex mixing bowl, and she added a half cup of active dry yeast.  She measured two cups of sugar, poured a small amount over the yeast and stirred that mixture, then added the rest of the sugar to the hot milk.  Then she added 1/3 cup of salt to the milk and sugar, and went to get 2 cups of Crisco to melt in the microwave.  After the yeast has risen, and she pours it into the milk, salt and sugar mixture, she adds a five pound bag of flour before adding any of the melted shortening.  (It has something to do with the yeast binding to the flour before the shortening is added that makes for a better consistency.)   
    This is where everything went wrong.  There was no plain white Crisco in the entire house.  CMW looked.  And looked.  And looked!  Here and there, up and down, under and over.  And then did it all again.  She was sure there was some white Crisco shortening somewhere in the house, but it was nowhere to be seen.  She finally found a can of Butter flavored Crisco that she looked at dubiously. She just didn’t think it would be okay, but after the third time through the kitchen, she talked herself into using that butter flavored Crisco, even though she was afraid that it wasn’t a good idea.
    Thus begins the saga of another, “I can’t believe I really did that!”  But it is in retrospect.  Nothing would have prepared CMW for the real problem.
    As most yeast bakers know, there is nothing like baking bread on a rainy day.  The atmospheric pressure does something special with the dough, and the bread is often much better than CMW really deserves.  And Saturday looked like it would be no exception.  The bread went together beautifully.  She added the melted yellow Crisco to the original mixture, and worked most of another 5 lb. bag of flower into it.  The dough whistled while CMW kneaded it, ( a sure sign of a good dough)  and it felt and looked like some of the better bread that CMW has made in her time.  It rose beautifully and was perfect in so many ways.  It was a little more yellow than usual, and CMW thought that there just might be a little different smell.  But it looked so nice, she brushed off her anxieties.  She’s been often told that she is like her Lauver ancestors when it comes to cooking.  Something is just never quite right, somehow..
    Certain Man’s wife set the ten beautiful loaves to cool and  got ready in plenty of time to go to Dover, and left everything in the care of others.  It was a perfect day for suit shopping, as JCPenney had 50% off their suits on a six hour sale and CM and CMW were there at the exact right time.  A nice suit was procured in anticipation of the upcoming weddings, and CMW came home early, and looked at her good bread.  It made her feel really good to think she had discovered that, in a pinch, bread made with butter flavored Crisco was just as good as bread made with regular flavored Crisco.
    Until CMW tasted it. Oh, no!  You could taste that butter flavored Crisco, and believe you me, it didn’t make the bread taste buttery.  It had a very strange taste to it.  CMW held her peace.  Maybe no one would notice it.
    The first loaf got sliced and half eaten before it was cool.  Certain Man, the official bread slicer, cut the rest, put eight in the freezer for later use, and left the loaf and a half out for Small Group lunch the next day. 
    The Small Group families came, and everyone that took bread ate it, and nary a complaint was made, but CMW just couldn’t quite put her finger on what there was about it that was just so wrong.  So she took a loaf to the gathering at her Sweet Mama’s house on Sunday night.  Again, though it was discussed at great length in company of all those good cooks, the smell and the flavor were something elusive.  Familiar, but elusive.
    “Hey, Mom,” said Youngest Daughter on Monday (having been absent from the other discussions), “this bread has a funny taste, somehow.  It actually smells like homemade doughnuts!”
    Maybe that was it.   CMW came over to take a sniff, and sure enough, it did smell like a homemade doughnut.  And it did not set right with her.  She still had seven loaves that she needed to get rid of somehow. 
    So she has faithfully packed Eldest Son’s lunch all week with it.  He doesn’t like it much, but since he is on a diet, he says that pretty much anything tastes good to him once he gets used to it.
     CMW cannot “get used to it.”  It actually turns her stomach when she smells it. 
    Middle Daughter optimistically says that it is okay as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 
    Certain Man says to just get rid of it. 
    Eldest Daughter says to take it in to a local “recovery house.”  “They won’t know the difference, ” she says cheerfully.  “And besides, it will be gone by the time they figure it out, so it won’t matter.”
    CMW thinks of those loaves of bread in her freezer and wishes they would disappear.  She doesn’t want to give them away because it might damage her reputation.  (!) Uh-huh.  She especially doesn’t want to give it away to people who “won’t know the difference.”  That is against the way she has been taught.  It seems a little like giving used tea bags to the missionaries.  But neither does she want to give it to someone who would know the difference.  They would probably wish they hadn’t received it.  And even though it is nice that she isn’t tempted to eat that bread, it doesn’t seem fair for it to expect her family to eat it. 
    So.  Is there any advice for this dilemma? 
    What would you do if you were Certain Man’s Wife?
   

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

    Yesterday, Blind Linda had a seizure while on an outing with her group from
Easter Seals.  Her nurse/habilitation supervisor called me to inform me, and I
pondered again the way my life is intertwined with this individual who is so
very challenged. 
    It has been a tough couple of months with her.  Since
the first of the year, there are some medication changes going on, and her
behavior, never what you would call pleasant, has been along the lines of
“irritating, aggravating, agitating, restless, and aggressive.”  Before she got
home last evening, I did the necessary calling to the neurologist, state nurse,
pharmacy, etc. and then headed out to an eye appointment with her.  (Yes, blind
people need to have eye exams).
    She was strangely quiet. (maybe because
of lingering effects of her 60 second petit mal seizure) This was a blessing to
me.  I had to take Our Girl Audrey along as she was picking up glasses, and I
had a bone weariness that had nothing to do with physical tiredness.  There are
just lots of things going on right now.
    We got into the optometrist’s
office, and had a long, long wait.  When we finally got into an examining room,
it was another long wait.  When Dr. M. came in, I was surprised by his
compassion and understanding for me and his gentleness with her.  I detest eye
appointments with Blind Linda.  I try not to look while they are lifting the
lids to those lifeless eyes and checking for problems.  The one eye is partially
covered over by tissue, and the other is a dull blue lifeless thing.  The first
time I watched, and ended up crying.  It hurts me somewhere inside to see those
damaged, lifeless eyes and to think how much she misses.  The interesting thing
is that I find the same response among the eye professionals.  They are always
moved and saddened when they check her.  I’ve had one doctor blink back the
tears as he wrote the required report for the state.
    Yesterday, the
doctor told me quietly that he believes that, though her blindness was caused by
the high concentration of oxygen in the incubator when she was born prematurely
nearly 60 years ago, he also believes that there is years old self-inflicted
damage there as well.  That really made me sad.
    The strange thing is, I
love this gal.  She has lived with us over eight years, and she still has me
guessing alot of the time.  Sometimes I can predict what will set her off,
sometimes I can’t.  She is non-verbal, autistic and blind.  Sometimes I just
wish I knew what would make her happy.
    She sometimes laughs.  A high
pitched silly giggle that makes me think she’s done something to make life
miserable for someone.  The interesting thing is that she sometimes cries.  One
morning, after Old Gertrude died, she was sitting at the table, with tears just
running down her face.  I had never seen her cry before.  I said to her, “Oh,
Linda-girl.  What is wrong?”  I think I had been playing some of Gertrude’s
favorite music, but somehow I thought that it was related to Gertrude’s passing,
so I said quietly to her, “Are you missing Gertrude today?'” and she cried
harder. 
    She has taught me so much about patience and biting my tongue
and loving when it is hard.  I’ve come down in the middle of the night and she
will have messed her bed or thrown up (something she can do at will) and I will
get her out and clean her up, change the bed and get her in clean pajamas and
tuck her back in.  She never says thank you.  She often acts like she resents my
ministrations to her.  And if she has a good chance, she will do it again. She
has no concept of what it might cost me, and neither does she care.   When I am
guiding her somewhere, she often does this little twist, jerk, downward pull,
intended to make me fall.  She wants things done on her time, her terms and if
you mess up, she will let you know.  If the phone rings, or one of Certain Man’s
many clocks strikes with Westminster chimes, she will make a loud, grunting
squealing noise to say that she doesn’t like it.  (I assume that is her
autism).
    Can you see, people, how we often are with our Heavenly Father? 
Think about it.  We get ourselves into terrible messes, and given a good chance,
we do it again.  We often don’t thank Him, we resent His guidance, we have no
concept what His love to us cost Him and neither do we care.  We want things
done on our terms and on our time schedule and if He “messes up” we are sure
that the rest of the world knows about it.  We protest ungraciously against the
things of our lives that we don’t like or that rub us the wrong way.
    How
very much greater is His love for us than mine for Blind Linda.  I am so
relieved that I can be quite certain that He does not harbor some of the
feelings against me that I sometimes do against her.  And yet, I cannot help but
be reminded of how it must feel to Him when I act the way I do.  It keeps me
humble, it keeps me focused.
    And sometimes when I think of how sin has
darkened my eyes and what He must see when He looks there to help me do the best
I can do, I wonder if it makes Him weep.

11 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized