Sunday, July 24, 2016

Picking Blackberries on a Summer Sunday Evening.

On the way home this evening, I had Ben drop me off at the edge of McCormicks' field because I wanted to pick some blackberries and walk home.  "Are you sure that's wise, in a white skirt?" he said.  I said it'll be ok, the picking is so easy and good there.

I was right.  The field is dry and harvested, and the blackberry vines arch out obligingly over the flat edge of the field and hang heavy with glossy berries, so I didn't have to go wading into the vines at all.

It is a really good year for blackberries.

We went to a hymn sing this afternoon, three churches coming together at the pavilion at the Rock of Ages .... oh dear, what is the current term for a home for older people who need care?  Not "Old People's Home", certainly, which is what they called it back in my mom's day when she did a year of voluntary service at such a facility and then entitled her scrapbook "O.P.H. Memories."

When I pick blackberries, I feel like Mom is with me in spirit. She was always happiest when picking berries, straw hat on her head, hauling us to the best patches on the backside of the farm, despite the threat of black snakes lurking under the bushes.

She would have loved to go berry picking in McCormicks' field.

So I talked to Mom about grace, because there are just so many blackberries in that patch, many more than I can ever pick or use.  Kind of like the vast supplies of God's love and grace, really, which she now understands better than I can begin to comprehend.
I thought, "But it's not fair, here I have more berries than I can begin to use, and so many people don't have any."

"But they all have access to God's grace, which is even better."


It was very hot at that hymn sing but, as Ben said later as we sat in the living room with the doors open and the cool breezes wafting through, he has a renewed appreciation for Oregon, having just been to a wedding in the East where things do not cool down so much at night, in summer.

Speaking of weddings.  I was going to tell you about one.  In fact, I pretty much promised it, a couple of posts back. But then I had a column to write and also went full-steam-ahead with Dad's book, which barely left time for showers and paying garbage bills, and certainly not for posting about weddings.

Yesterday I was at a funeral.  Esther Boss was the kind of friend that I saw maybe once or twice a year, but we always sat down and had an intense conversation in Pennsylvania Dutch, cutting to the heart of things from the second paragraph on.

She was getting treated for rheumatoid arthritis, and then they discovered she actually had bone cancer, and in five days she was gone.

So I went to her funeral, along with everyone else who felt like she was their friend. Hundreds of us.

In the food line [Mennonite funeral= a good meal] Vivian Turner said that at the end of that one post hadn't I kind of promised...? a post the next day...? about a wedding....?

Well, yes.  I had.  But I kind of hoped no one had noticed, because I'd never followed up.

"Was there something extra special about this wedding?" said Vivian.

Well...YES!  There was!!  I mean, what wedding isn't special, but this was a YODER wedding.

I didn't tell her all this, but I'll tell you.

Dad was 37 when he got married; Mom was almost 34.  Just for perspective, Dad's sister Edna got married at 17, which was a lot more typical in that day and the Amish culture than marrying in your 30s.

So this sort of started a trend of not being in a hurry to get married.  Of the six of us siblings, Marcus and I were the youngest at about 22.  Fred was in his 40s.

Then came the grandchildren.  Annette got married in 2005, and then after long years her sister Janet married in 2012.

Then, as they say, "crickets."

And then Rebecca's youngest son, Derek, announced his engagement to the amazing Grace, and they invited us to their wedding in Indiana in May.
Yoders talking, inspecting shoes, drinking tea, etc.
A bunch of happy Yoders gathered there, including we three sisters and our children.  To my complete delight, our six kids gathered from the earth's corners and our sub-family was all there.

The pastor talked about the sheer unlikelihood of these two people existing, meeting, marrying.  Rebecca the Amish girl meeting and marrying Rod from Seattle.  Grace's dad escaping the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as a child and eventually meeting his wife.  Derek meeting Grace from Indiana even though he grew up in Yemen.

Statistically and logically, these threads couldn't and shouldn't have come together like this, on this day.  But they did.

So the day was infused with great joy.

After the wedding we had part of two days with just Paul and I and our six.  Maybe I'll tell you about that and maybe I won't.

As Mom used to say: "Ich vill nix promisa," which meant "I don't want to promise anything" and was the equivalent of "We'll see."

The first shipment of books made it to Oklahoma ok, and Dad had a book signing yesterday at the Yoder reunion.  People kept texting me pictures throughout the day.

That was also a happy and impossible occasion.

Uncle Johnny and my dad.  My cousin Laverta took this prize shot.

Quote of the Day:
"Do you ever wonder if you're just a joke in someone else's family and you don't know it?"
--someone in this family


  1. Haha! I love the quote of the day :) Growing up in a family who "chews" so many things said/done by other people, we deserve to be a joke in someone else's family!

  2. Great tales are to be told!

  3. Oh that's Johnny Junior!!I miss him! And yes, I have wondered about the whole "being a joke in someone else's family...."

  4. The quote of the day made me remember something that we laugh about sometimes and tease our kids about.

    "what if we're actually in a group home and don't know it?" The conclusion is that we're having so much fun (most of the time) that we don't really care.

    Blessings, Darla (