Sunday, January 29, 2017

Two Indiana Incidents

Two things about Indiana before we fly on to Kansas:

After the retreat on Saturday wound down, Paul took me out to eat at Das Dutchman's Essen Haus which features not only good food and bustling waitresses in kappa but also bottles of Amish peanut butter spread, right at your table.

I had already ordered the buffet before I discovered this.  Had I known, I might have simply ordered a plate of bread or buns and stuffed myself with homemade bread covered with the sticky goodness known as Amish peanut butter, and left happy and satisfied.

Do you not know what I'm talking about, you poor neglected worldly person?

Amish peanut butter spread is a mixture of creamy peanut butter, marshmallow creme, corn syrup, fairy dust, and the sweet nectar of magic flowers grown in the gentle shade of grandmotherly trees. It is served at the noon meal on Sundays, when church is finally over and the backless benches are set on little sawhorsey racks and cleverly transformed into tables spread with plates of bread and pickles and bologna and bowls of peanut butter. All the moms sit around the table.  You are so hungry and you stand behind your mom because she is the mom and you are the kid, just like all kids over toddler age stand behind their moms, and she spreads a slice of bread with Amish peanut butter spread and folds it in half and hands it back to you, and you bite into the sweet softness of it and everything in the world is ok for that moment. Everything.

If you are really young and stupid, you tear off the bread crusts and toss them under the table, thinking your mom will never know it was you.  But she will know. And she will Look at you like Jesus looked at Peter after the rooster crowed.

Like Peter, you will go out and weep bitterly, and repent, and not do that again.

And two moms down, Voll Edna calmly smears peanut butter on bread and places a SLICE OF BOLOGNA on top, plus maybe a few pickles, which is schantlich and dreadful, and she hands it back to her son Robert, who is your age and just so gross, probably because he's a boy.

But even these bumps in the path of the Sunday meal smooth out into joy and satisfaction when your mom hands you a second piece of bread spread with Amish peanut butter.

Because it is just that magical.

You missed out, you poor Englisch child.

Paul went to the Essen Haus gift shop and bought me a bottle to bring home.  In theory I am avoiding simple carbs because they make me gain weight and make my asthma worse, but Amish peanut butter doesn't count.  It makes everything all better. Everything.

The second story is one that someone asked me to tell but I was waiting for permission, which I got.  

Ladies' retreats are like icebergs in that everything you see up above is gleaming in the sunshine and just floating in the ocean, calm and stately, but the truth is that down below, out of sight, a lot is going on--jagged edges and swift currents and pockets of darkness.

As I mentioned in my last post, Judy Beachy had the idea for the retreat and has been one of the main organizers and visionaries for it.  She is a tall and lovely and gregarious woman who set the mood for the entire retreat and put us all at ease.

But I got to see just a bit of the currents under the iceberg, so to speak.

Saturday morning I came downstairs from the blessed little hideaway in a Sunday school room that they had prepared for me.  The first session was to start in five minutes and there was Judy, rushing down the hall with a frantic look on her face.  Have I seen --I think it was Verba-- she asked. something wrong?


"I forgot to wear a slip, and you can see LINES, and I have to be up there in five minutes!"

She was wearing a stretchy knit skirt, and we all know how knit skirts can behave.

I said, "You can wear mine!"

"Don't you need it?"

"I have a corduroy skirt. I just wore a slip to keep it from skritching on my pantyhose. I'm sure it won't show through."

We ducked into a prayer room.  I shimmied out of my half slip and she shimmied into it. 

Three minutes later she strode across the stage, smooth and smiling, and called us all together to worship.

I do love it when I get to see behind the scenes.

Saving the day is nice too.


  1. ��Loved this! "She will look at you like Jesus looked at Peter after the rooster crowed"!!! And the slips... <3 Thanks for the laugh!

  2. oh hilarious about the "slip swap"!!!!

  3. Too funny...Thanks for sharing the "Behind the Scene" story with us!! With Judy's calm, cool composure we would never have guessed!!

  4. I'm glad I'm not a "poor neglected worldly person!" Thanks for the laughs!

  5. Thanks for the giggles!!
    I'm thinking it's much better to swap a slip than to drop a slip which is what happened to one minister's wife at annual meeting... (thankfully, she said, she whipped it out the door conveniently? right there!!) ((and that last bit is awfully awful but I'm not going to change it))