Amish Cook: A service for widows


Tuesday evening, as I looked around the circle of friends both Amish and nonAmish, I just wished there was a way to reach any of you readers who are widows and give a quick invitation to join us for our annual Thanksgiving dinner for friends who are widows. Really now, if any of you would be interested in participating a year from now and bringing a friend with you, please let me know, and I will be in contact for the next time around!

It’s an evening I always enjoy; a time to simply show widows we care. This year, Wanita took charge of coordinating the event. The meal consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, ham, corn, salad, pumpkin, apple and peach pies along with ice cream. I was assigned a simple job of helping with a tossed salad.

All the ladies and girls from our church were invited. As I stepped into the garage with Julia and Rayni, where it was being hosted, I was greeted by the warmth of the Lehmans’ wood stove and the bustle of ladies putting finishing touches on the meal.

Stepping over to the attractively decorated table, I greeted the ladies who were gathering for their meal. Everyone wore a smile and was super friendly, yet I knew that each one must have a story, a difficult story that brought about her circumstance of widowhood. Moving on, I helped get things organized for serving. By 5 p.m., the meal was ready. Wanita made some announcements and led in prayer, asking God’s blessing on the meal and fellowship.

Several of us ladled food into serving bowls while others passed it. After everyone was served, I made my way to one corner of the table where a few of my friends had been seated. I enjoyed the leisure conversation, gleaning bits of wisdom from those older than myself. Perhaps the key thought to me was how one lady shared how she feels joy as she goes through her days in some extreme difficulties she’s facing. “I know it’s from God. I couldn’t be joyful on my own,” she stated. The words penetrated deep into my heart. I knew she was correct. “God can do that in deeper ways in my heart as well,” I thought to myself.

Supper was followed by a song and activities such as bingo, an inspirational story and more singing. The youth girls and we young married ladies stood to the side and sang five songs, including the old favorite, “The Old Rugged Cross.” There is something about singing that I love, especially the ones filled with praise to our Maker.

Next came the cutest part of the evening: the 11 little girls, ranging from ages 2 to 9, stood to sing several songs. Julia started the first song, “Who Made the Twinkling Stars?” The others chimed in, helping as they sang in unison, using their hands to demonstrate the song. The songs that followed were “Jesus Loves Me” and “Ah Lord God.” They did very well. Two of us moms helped them along, including myself since Rayni, who was the youngest, wanted me to stay with her. Rayni has a natural love and talent for singing. Her sweet songs throughout the day have been a blessing to me.

When the singing was over, it was time for my two girls and me to head home and see how things were going for Daddy and the boys at home. As we were bundling up to leave, Cousin Bethany offered, “Shall I accompany you on the way home?” “Why sure, that would be great!” I replied with delight. Soon we were all piled onto our pony cart with a blanket pulled up close to help shield us from the frigid air.

“You know,” I said, guiding the pony out of the driveway and onto the blacktop road, as the hooves sang out their clip-clops, “I love going out on open rides on blustery evenings like this, even though it may not be the easiest mode of transportation.” After some interesting discussions, we had covered the two miles home. “Thanks, Bethany!” we called out as she hopped off the cart at the end of our driveway to head on home to her house. Dropping the girls off in front of the house, I told them to go to the house and tell Daddy that he doesn’t have to come out to put the horse out in the pasture. I’ll take care of it while he watches the babies.

I returned to the house to three little boys, happy to see Mama, and a hubby I almost couldn’t wait to see again. It was an excellent ending to a delightful evening.

Following is the recipe that was used for the hams at the widow supper. We used a ham without the bone, though this method will also work with the bone in.


1 12-pound ham

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/4 cup vinegar

Mix all together and spread over ham. Bake at 275 degrees for 3 hours. Slice and serve. If you’re doing a smaller ham, cut the recipe in half and decrease baking time.

By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Gloria is Amish and lives in a rural horse and buggy settlement in Illinois. Readers with questions or comments can write to Gloria at P.O. Box 157, Middletown, OH 45042. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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