Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This week on Jean : Jean talks about Halloween and about young Michaels progress

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Richard asked what our views were and do we celebrate Halloween. We look at Halloween as getting into the occult, death, worshiping the devil so we do not partake of it. Nothing happens at the Amish/Mennonite school. If one of the students brings it up or asks why we do not celebrate Halloween while their outsider friends do-the teacher explains. Our children do not go collecting candy or dress in costumes, There are no special parties or food. To us the day of Halloween is just another day-there is nothing special. We even sometimes wonder if we should even sell pumpkins like we do. Not everyone that buys them will use them in food-but some will carve ugly faces out of them. Of course we can not control what customers will do with them when they purchase from our fruit stand once they pay us and remove it from our property. So we wonder if we should continue selling them or not. Also, if we do not take our pumpkins in every night of Halloween weekend, we will find them smashed the next morning or several of them missing or both. Young people do not understand that every one they take without paying or one they smash is money out of our pocket. A couple of times we have had our money jars taken in broad daylight. We have our fruit and vegetables priced and leave a jar for people to put their money in as we can't always be out at the fruit stand all the time. We have that money to buy our seed, pay our medical bills, utility bills, groceries, and more. We are one of the few Mennonites that have a fruit stand in our yard anymore. Many of them sell to the big fruit and vegetable stores along the main highway. Some also sell to the grocery stores as we do. If someone came (young folks included)  to our stand, wanted something and couldn't afford it-we would give it to them. Taking or smashing upsets us, but we know we must trust in the Lord. We should not worry about it because God will take care of it with them in His own time and in His own way. We are learning things slowly from Michael that we did not know before. David and I knew that Michael was born on October 31st, but we did not know that his parents called him a devil. They told him he would not amount to anything. Now we realize why he tries to please us so much. Almost all the times he does what we ask and more. He does not act like a child as much as Martha's children do and we know why. David and I sat him down telling him it does not matter what day he is born on-it is the way he acts and what he does that counts. We also explained that Halloween is a man made celebration not a God celebration. He told us his parents were atheists. It was friends of his in school that led him to the Lord. When he lived with his parents he had to hide his Bible and  if his parents found it they would throw it in the garbage like they did the first one he had. Michael never went to any particular meetings (church) as his parents did not allow him to go. The Old Order Mennonite is the first regular meetings he has attended. David and I feel that our meetings, home Bible and prayers is God's molding Michael. He does not want to celebrate his birthday on October 31st. David and I said to pick another day to have a birthday party. He must give his real birth date when asked, but he didn't have to celebrate it on that day. As October 29th is a Saturday, we will celebrate it that day. David's Mother and my Mother have agreed to do the bake sale that day so I can bake for the party. We have some of his school friends over. Also Michael's parents have asked us to come to the prison as they would like to meet us. We don't have to go, but David and I are curious about them, also. They would also like to see Michael, but he has refused to go. David thinks he should go-I think  he shouldn't be forced to go so we called Social Services to see what they think. We also spoke with Martha and Joseph-all agree he should not be forced to go. David still thinks he should go, but he will follow with the others said. Since they are in jail we write letters and take pictures of Michael for his parents. We do not believe in pictures, but Social Services says we should and our Bishop let us do it. Martha and Joseph also do it when they have foster children and the parents wants pictures. As we do not know Michael's parents yet, we don't really say much except about things he does, his marks at school, etc. His parents letters always seem down on him. After talking with Michael-now we know why. David and I are going to the prison to meet them. The prison and Social Services approved it. We explained to his parents that he will not be coming with us. They are upset that Michael is not coming, but they still want to meet us. Michael has told us that they are not like most outsiders that are our friends and neighbors. We are not making any decisions about them until we meet and talk with them. It is a long way from our house to the prison, but we have made arrangements with Martha's parents to take us. Martha's parents felt that we should have someone from the outside world with us at the prison although they have never been to a prison before either. We previously wrote about the Marvin Hershberger Jr. and his wife that passed (died) do to the automobile accident where six people were killed that lived in Joplin. New York. Just to bring you up to date the people that were coming to take care of the twelve children have sold their farm and moved into the Joplin home with the children. They are in the process of adopting the children and making them their own. God works in mysterious way-the couple had no children-now they have twelve. The family will be having a party for all of us that worked on their farm, cleaned the house, stocked them with food, etc. before they got there. They were going to provide all the food, but their fellow Amish decided they would provide the meat and all of us bring a dish. So we have that party to look forward to when the harvest is over. Harvest season is ending. We are harvesting what is left and getting all out of the garden. The apple trees and grapes are being picked. Apple butter, cider, apple sauce and more are being made. Grapes and apple jams and jellies are made. We are also making some of the items  I sent the grape recipes for. After everything is out of the fields and garden David and Michael will plow them for one last time this year. David is teaching Michael how to drive the tractor. Once the fields and garden are plowed for the last time they go to rest for the winter. In our view it gives the fields and gardens a rest until we start over in the spring. When Michael learns to drive the tractor David is thinking of buying another tractor, it would be done faster if we had two tractors. Once the fields are done David will be looking for construction work for the winter. He looks for work independently or with other construction people. They do mostly interior work during the winter. Sometimes David make furniture for people. Michael also wants to learn how to make furniture and wood item so David will be teaching Michael. Some of the wooden items are sold a craft shows in our area. Right now, David has a items he has made when he had a chance for the Christmas craft shows or sales. He will try to get more made and maybe some of Michael's items can join his. I tell David the same things every year: "Farm work stops in the winter, but house work goes on all throughout the year." Be with God, Jean
The following Amish Fried Chicken recipe came from my grandmother who got this from Amish lady many years ago. This is one of the dishes I made when Marilyn was here for dinner. Amish Friend Chicken 1 C. bread crumbs 1/4 C. flour 2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. oregano 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper 1/4 tsp. onion salt 1/4 tsp. red pepper 1/8 tsp. celery seed 1/2 tsp garlic powder 2 chickens, cut up in pieces 2 eggs, mixed with 1/4 C. water 1 C. water Combine bread crumbs, flour and seasonings. Dip each piece of chicken into egg and water mixture, coat with crumb mixture. Fry quickly in butter until brown. Put chicken pieces in a single layer roasting pan or 4 quart casserole dish. Add 1 cup water,cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 90 minutes. Enjoy. Jean
Dont miss Martha's return to Amish Stories this Friday!


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard