How about getting to know some of my family members?
I would like to introduce you to my youngest sister, Keturah Joy.
Each of my six siblings holds a special place in my heart and Keturah is no exception.
My mind goes back exactly 10 years when we were waiting, expectantly anticipating the arrival of a long-awaited bundle. After my mother had two stillborn sisters before Keturah, I was especially dreaming of a newborn wrapped in pink. At last on Jan. 30, my adorable little sister arrived. Dad and Mom chose to name her Keturah Joy. Keturah was the name of Abraham’s second wife in the Old Testament. Keturah was an absolute dream come true with her pink, rounded cheeks and mop of fluffy black hair.
I spent countless hours with her. With six siblings, it was tough to peacefully take turns holding her. Soon she was not a little baby anymore. When she was 2 years old, Daniel (now my husband) and I began our friendship. She loved when Daniel made his trips from Danville, Ohio, every two to four weeks. When someone asked Keturah why he comes to our house, she responded, “To eat supper and read books with me!” Sweet little dear, that’s OK, I decided. It’s fine if she is also honored by Daniel’s visits.
On one of his visits, Daniel, along with my brother, Javin, and his girlfriend, were sitting in the living room singing. We chuckled when little Keturah stood beside Daniel intently studying his face as he sang in his strong bass voice.
At our wedding, a little over a year later, Keturah helped serve sundaes in our “Eck” (bridal corner).
Time keeps moving on. She’s now the one to help with my children, instead of me caring for her. She’s a very capable worker, yet young enough to play with the little ones on their level. My children get all wound up in excitement when Keturah walks into our house. Julia especially enjoys the times Keturah plays dolls with her. Fourteen-month-old Austin is also very partial to her. But then I do really believe she earned it. When he was a tiny baby and colicky, she spent hours with him. She had an outstanding knack at quieting him like almost no one else could.
Many times when I’ve run into a pinch and needed a helper or baby-sitter, Keturah has come to our rescue. Sometimes she also stays for supper. Daniel teases her, saying that we like when she stays for supper. Then pausing a bit, he adds, “That way you can help with the dishes.”
A common question for 4-year-old Julia is, “Am I like Keturah?”
My response is usually something like this: “Yes, you are like Keturah in many ways. You also look a lot like she did at that age but you also look like Daddy. God didn’t create any two people exactly the same, so you aren’t exactly like her.”
Recently when Keturah and Julia were snacking on pears, Julia wanted to have hers peeled as always. I said: “’Julia, remember — if you want to be like Keturah, you also need to eat your peels like she does.’”
Popping an unpeeled slice into her mouth, she exclaimed: “Yes, it is good!” Hmmm … is that how you teach a 4-year-old that peelings aren’t that bad after all?
Julia idealizes Keturah’s love for ponies and horses. When the weather is pleasant, Keturah loves hitching one of the ponies to the cart and going for a drive or — better yet — go bareback riding. Spending time taming their young colts is another favorite of hers.
At 10 years old, Keturah loves spending time in the kitchen, mixing up a batch of cookies. Last night she mixed together a batch of chocolate chip cookies. In this recipe she generally cuts back on the amount of chocolate chips but this time she decided she is not skimping. Mom laughingly told me there were almost as much chocolate chips as dough!
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat heat oven to 375. Cream sugars and butters together. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat until fluffy. Add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
Bar variation: Preheat oven to 350. Spread dough onto a greased 15- by 10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes two dozen bars.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.