Hey, you’ve got to join us for leisurely afternoon. Daniel suggested that we all go for a ride with our standard-bred mare, Sapphire, and open cart. We were all in. After the children’s nap time we piled onto the cart with two children sitting on a little bench by our feet. “Where are we going?” The children wanted to know.
“You’ll have to wait and see,”Daniel responded.
“When will Sapphire loudly go clip-clop?” Rayni wanted to know. She likes driving on blacktop which results in a more distinct clip from the horse’s hooves.
Our first stop was at the edge of a woods where Daniel has permission to do mushroom hunting. He hopped off the cart and scanned the woods a bit while I held the reigns and watched the children. No morels this time. Soon we were on our way, following back roads we’ve never been before. Hanging a right and then a left we were unsure where the little gravel roads would take us. On and on Sapphire faithfully trotted mile after mile, seeming to enjoy the drive along with the rest of us. There were a few homes here and there, scattered among vast fields and some spotty wooded areas. For some time there were no familiar landmarks until we spotted a set of turkey barns ahead. “Look at that!” I exclaimed, glancing at Daniel, that means we are looping around and will soon go right past your brother, Johns, right?”
The children were elated, “Are we going to Johns? Are we going to Johns?” they chorused.
Spirits were high, we didn’t have much farther to go.
“Don’t tell me.” It came from Daniel with an anxious note in his voice that I seldom hear. “The bridge is out!” Craning my neck I saw what he was seeing, up ahead there was a ‘bridge closed’ sign. As we came closer we saw there was no way we could ever get across, going back the way we came from would mean skipping out on going to Johns and retracing our steps, adding more miles for the horse.
Daddy hopped off the cart to check his options. The children were on the brink of tears. “Let’s not panic,” I told them, “let’s pray.” So together we prayed a simple little prayer asking God to work a miracle and allow us to soon be at Johns. It looked impassible and certainly impossible.
There was a little clearing 100 yards to the right where the creek wound through the woody area before us. Would there be a chance of taking the horse through it? But then who’s land was it? The creek is big enough it’d probably never work to cross with a cart full of children drawn by a horse that hates stepping through treacherous areas.
Moments later we heard a voice from a lone house nearby. “Look at that!” I exclaimed there’s someone out there! Should I go talk with her and see if it’s her land and find out if we could check out the possibility of crossing?”
“If you’d like, I’m fine with it.” Daniel replied. Turning our rig around we headed up the hill. Hopping off the cart I made my way in her driveway wondering if I’m as crazy as I felt. The most friendly lady came to her front yard where we chatted a safe distance apart, so as not to share germs. Returning to the cart I was all smiles as I told a relieved bunch that we’re welcome to check it out. Turning off the gravel road we made our way over the bumpy field, nearing the creek we could see the relatively steep bank gaping before us. “Take all the children off,” Daniel instructed. Soon they were all ushered a safe distance behind the cart. Together Daniel and I unhitched Sapphire. A few minutes later there was a horse and a man equally determined that his own way will surely work. After much coaxing, the man won as the horse passed over the crevice and onto the other side. It seemed too good to be true. Next Daddy pulled the cart across as I escorted five relieved children who had watched the entire process with wide eyes.
It didn’t take us long to hitch up and load the five little ones. As we turned into the field that led us back on the road there was another prayer, this time with praise to God.
As we neared John’s home we were delighted to see their horse looking out the barn window- a sure sign we’d find them home. Turning in their driveway, John came to meet us, wondering what we’re up to. The children eagerly filled him in on our adventures. Then he related how only minutes before, he had gotten out their buggy to go to a friend’s house for dinner when one of their children got sick with stomach upsets.
Till all was said and done we headed on down the road, taking their supper invitation since they weren’t able to make it.
You have to be a mother to know the blessing of unloading your hungry little crew to a house loaded with hospitality and good food. Thanks Mary Fern! These burgers are similar to what Mary Fern had made for us upon our arrival.
World Famous Burgers
1 1/2 pounds beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Mix burger ingredients well and shape into patties.
Use sauce to baste while grilling.
Cook or grill on each side until done.
Moist and tasty, makes six servings!
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427