Hello across the miles!
I am amazed when I think of the bond and specialness of family ties. The last few weeks we’ve been reminded how much family means to us. Daniel’s younger brother, David, who lives in Danville, Ohio, recently stayed at our house for several weeks. With having 370 miles between us and Daniel’s family in Ohio, it is quite special for all of us when we have a chance to spend some time together.
David has a non-Amish friend who had planned on traveling west so he took the opportunity to head to Illinois with him and helped pay for the gas. David came to help Daniel in his furniture shop.
We were thankful to have another set of industrious hands to help build rustic furniture. Daniel has now been able to cut down to eight hour days which is a blessing — after having been working 12 hour days the past seven weeks.
David favors Daniel in looks. They share the same brown hair color with waves and curls. At 24, David has outgrown his older brother by 4½ inches. Not that my husband, age 27, is a shortie, but at 6-foot-2 David has grown taller than any of the other family members. Living in a house trailer, we have limited space with sleeping quarters so we moved Julia’s little white bed into our bedroom so David could use her room during his stay.
Daniel and David really enjoy getting to spend time together as adults. Daniel has fond memories of joining David along with their four brothers on their fishing boat on Apple Valley Lake for an afternoon of relaxing and fishing. With only one sister, the boys also chipped in with housework. Daniel recalls he and David helping with their weekly Saturday cleaning. Sometimes their mother jotted their jobs on slips of paper, then folded them, and each boy drew a paper which indicated which jobs needed to be done.
Julia, 4, and Austin, 2, love having David here. Yesterday Julia asked, “What we’re going to do once David goes back home?” She feels so special to be his niece. His generosity in sharing gum and chocolate candy fills her with delight. David didn’t have to be here very long until he just seemed to be part of us. Last evening we played some lively games of Uno. Julia and I helped one another as a team. Each time we seemed to be close to our mark as winner, David managed to put out the right cards to have Julia and I draw more cards. Repeatedly I had my hand filled with these unwanted cards.
Being a competitive Yoder, David thought it was the funniest thing to watch us draw cards again and again. Julia wasn’t impressed by it. I reminded her that it is only a game. I decided I might as well be good-natured about it and joined in laughing over it. In the end I was happy for Daniel who was the winner.
At bedtime I commented to Daniel about the Bible verse that says laughter doeth good like medicine. “We certainly got our medicine tonight,” I told him.
Games such as Uno, Monopoly or Rummikub are common for us Amish to play. I have fond memories of Dad helping us play Uno when I was a little girl. Those memories will always be a treasure for me.
Julia is very sad at David’s departure. She said to me that she wishes he was her brother and not her uncle, that way he could stay. Since David plans to go home tomorrow, I wanted to make something special for supper. Finally, I chose one of Daniel’s favorites: Arizona chicken. Julia and I decided to serve it, restaurant style. When I was a little girl, my brothers and I played restaurant. Recently, I was in the mood for something a little different so we had a “restaurant” for Daniel. Julia was totally fascinated with the idea. I don’t have the space this week to write much about our “restaurant” so I’ll save that for a future letter. Going out to eat is a very rare treat for us. Most of our food is prepared at home.
How about trying our Arizona chicken recipe? We prefer using drumsticks and thighs. It also works well with chicken breasts or thighs or whatever you prefer.
3 pounds chicken pieces
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Mix dry ingredients. Dip chicken into melted butter and then roll into dry mixture. Place chicken on a cookie sheet or pan with rims. Bake at 425 for 45-60 minutes or until done. Crisp and delicious.
Tip: To prevent dry ingredients from becoming too sticky when rolling your chicken in it, simply pour a little at a time into a small bowl, dipping your chicken a piece at a time and then adding more flour as needed.
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.