Reunions are an interesting subject. Not all families are blessed with the same number of children or even the same character qualities. Nonetheless, all families are gifted with their own uniqueness.
My husband’s parents both come from large families. When we found out that my mother-in-law’s family was gathering for a day in July, we knew it will be an exciting event. Mom’s parents are almost 90, and both as sweet and dear as could be. Many were the nights Grandpa made his way out of his comfy bed and knelt by his bedside, crying out to God for his future generations. When our first daughter was born, I was encouraged to know that this dear little girl has had countless prayers from her great-grandfather she didn’t even know yet. Still today, I feel unworthy of having my children in his daily or nightly prayers.
Now, as their eleven children and their descendants gathered in Danville, Ohio, at the community center, which Amish in the area use for large events. It’s equipped with a kitchen and plenty of tables and chairs. A gathering for 200 people would be a lot for anyone to host at home, so this building is a blessing.
I was amazed, to say the least. There were only a few of the 81 grandchildren and 135 great-grandchildren missing. Before lunch, we all gathered in a giant circle. It was neat to see all the families together. Yet, truth be told, the circle was large enough that it was difficult to even see those on the opposite side. I couldn’t help but wonder and ponder on what our future generations will look like, and whether we are giving our children what they need to be today so that they’ll also grow to be Godly men and women.
The youngest son made announcements and stated the outline of the day. I appreciated his words of support and kindness to Grandpa and Grandma and all they have done for all of us over the years. A particular word of thanks was also spoken to their twin daughters, who are single and living at home, helping Grandpas in their older days.
A delicious lunch was prepared and set out, where we filed through to fill our plates. My eyes widened as we entered the dining room, and I saw the rows of desserts lined on the table. Yes, it does take lots of food with lots of people, right?
As I finished my dessert, and wiped messy little mouths, I began chatting with another busy mom with young children. Renewed zeal filled my heart as she shared how she, too, has cried out to God many times for wisdom and direction as she leads her little ones. Indeed we are all faced with challenges, yet we also have the same Source!
After the dishes were done, the eleven siblings and their partners sat on chairs, facing the rest of us as they told stories and shared memories of bygone days. There were tears, then there was laughter. We all chuckled as the story was told of one of Daniel’s uncles who, as a little boy, had a fascination with frogs. One day he thoughtlessly stuck one in his pants pocket. Imagine the surprise Grandpa had that night when he was ready for a chapter, and a frog jumped onto his open Bible!
Next, we sang songs picked out by Grandpas. Before each song, Grandpa shared how each hymn was special to them.
Soon sounds of auctioneering filled the large building as Daniel’s uncles auctioned off books from Grandpas’ bookshelf they no longer needed. Next came the awaited part of Grandpa’s guns being sold. Now Daniel had spent countless hours with Grandpa when the two hunted groundhogs that had been overpopulating the area, making things difficult for farmers. Before this particular gun got sold, he told a few stories of their hunts together. Though Daniel would have loved to buy the gun, it brought more than he could justify paying. Still, his memories of time spent with Grandpa will always be there.
By now, it was already supper time. We enjoyed a meal of noodles and hot dog sandwiches with sauerkraut, ice cream, and cake for dessert. This time I sat next to my cousin, married to Daniels’ cousin. I was delighted to catch up on news with her and her family.
Before I knew it, it was time to disperse, and now as we’re settling in the grove of being back home again, I think of those scores of people descending from grandma and Grandpa. Repeatedly I am sobered with the thought that really only what is done for Christ will last!
Be sure to try this refreshing Summer Peach Delight like we had for lunch at the reunion. What beats a fresh peach dessert on a warm day?
Summer Peach Delight
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups whipping topping
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can peach pie filling (or your favorite kind fruit filling)
Mix graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and butter together.
Press into a 9-inch by 9-inch pan.
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together, fold in whipped topping and vanilla.
Spread over graham cracker crust.
Top with peach pie filling. Chill.
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