Earlier this week was Daniel’s 31st birthday. I had asked him what he would like to do. Guess what he picked? He chose to have the two of us go fishing on a pontoon at our neighbor’s pond. I am not all that much of a fisherman, but on hubby’s birthday, it seemed nothing short of a perfect option. Fishing is a hobby pursued by many Amish folks, with some communities more so than others. As a little girl, I would go fishing on rare occasions, enough to know how, but not enough to be a pro at it. I remember when Daniel and I went fishing together before we got married and how worried I was that I won’t be able to cast very well. Now I look back with a chuckle and wonder why I ever worried. Fishing certainly was a highlight to Daniel during his younger years and something he still enjoys.
Now Grandma had kindly said she’d come to watch the children so the two of us go fishing together once more.
At the first crack of dawn, the two of us hopped on the tractor with all sorts of fishing tackle, cinnamon rolls, steaming pumpkin latte, some snacks, and fishing poles, of course. It was the perfect crispy cool morning, one could imagine. For the first time in months, I even got to wear a sweater. Before long we were settled onto the pontoon, the tiny slivered moon hung above the tree line just beyond the lake, steaming in the breaking dawn. It felt too perfect to be true. Besides the awesomeness of the morning, I was drinking in the wonder of having my man all to myself. Without me being too wordy about it, you know how much a mama loves her babies, it’s just that she needs some quietness at times; why even Jesus went on a boat to be alone! I snuggled my soft pink blanket a bit closer and took another sip of latte as I waited on my first fish. They weren’t biting, but somehow it didn’t matter all that much.
After some time, I settled down with a book and began reading out loud to Daniel, who kept throwing in both our lines with not more than a nibble now and then. “This is your line,” he said, casting it in then setting it to the side. “If we catch a fish and it’s on yours, you’ll be the one cranking it in!”
Chapter after chapter, I read insights written by our friends, the Razvis, in Maryland who have 13 children, eight of whom were adopted.
If you are a parent, you also know the feeling of needing input from others who have accomplished the marathon of raising children. After putting the book down, we discussed various aspects we could glean from it; I felt a keen desire and need to improve in that of training children to do things correctly and not just correcting the wrongs. For example, instead of telling them they aren’t supposed to poke around if I tell them to come to me, at some point throughout your day just make a game out of practicing to come to mama. It’s a blast for them, from the youngest to the oldest, they love standing in a row then as I call their name they respond with, “Okay Mama!” and come running into my arms. The same concept is used when showing them how to give an item to mother or even practicing table manners by pretending to be eating and talk about what manners they think would help our mealtimes go more smoothly.
As we chatted and prayed, I felt new vigor to dig in and serve where I’m called. By 8:30 a.m., it was time to pack up and head for home, by this time I could hardly wait to see our five little darlings. As we pulled into the driveway, I spied two little heads peering out the living room window awaiting our return. As we hugged the children, they just seemed sweeter than ever. Thanks to Grandma, things had gone smoothly, and everyone had eaten breakfast and was ready for the day.
Now here you go with some amazing crispy fried fish. Note that this recipe can easily be tweaked to strike your fancy. My breading is never the same. I just dump a bunch of seasonings together and call it good!
Cooking oil or butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup crushed snack crackers
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pour a few inches cooking oil into your frying pan and heat to 365 degrees, or if you prefer, melt a few tablespoons butter in a pan. Beat the eggs add milk. Stir together dry ingredients. Dip fish into egg mixture then into flour mixture, coating both sides. Deep fry in oil until golden brown or brown in a skillet with butter until done. Enjoy on a piece of bread and a fresh slice of tomato and plenty of homemade pickle relish.
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