County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Amish Cook-White Chip Craisin Cookies


Brother Javin, who is only a year older than myself, was my playmate in our growing up years. Whether it was splashing in the creek, romping in the haymow, or picking endless quarts of strawberries, we were usually together.

Years have gone by and he married the sweetest wife who is now just like a sister.

Yesterday afternoon they offered to help us with whatever needs to be done around the house then take us down the Embarras River for a picnic supper.

Willing hands were on all sides ready to do what they could.

 Javin fixed a flat tire on the lawn mower, Regina tilled the garden, Julia swept the basement, Austin and Josiah swept the barn, brought laundry in from the wash line and put it away, the younger children made sure all the bikes and trikes were put away so Japheth could mow the yard, the little girls swept the deck, and helped pick up toys. I floated around, tying loose ends together, making last minute phone calls, and milking the goat.

 By 4:30 we were wrapping up and loading up on the open trailer parked in our front yard. Javin hopped on the tractor, and we were off.

“Part of the fun is getting ready to go,” I chuckled. Might as well laugh- you know how it goes, it always seems like there’s one more child to take to bathroom or in need of footwear.

Our 20-minute drive was pleasant with a breeze protecting us from the beating sun.  Everyone wore their own life jacket and carried another item, and we were off for our quarter mile trek to the river.

The children did super, little Joshua sat on my shoulders, “Remember how you used to sit on Daddy’s shoulder’s?” I reminded him.

Stepping out of the woods I glanced upstream then downstream, it was years since I had been at the river.

The children sped over the sandbar, wondering if they may go in the water. The water was shallow, but knowing the nature of a river, there was a right to be concerned.

All life jackets were fastened, Javin gave the safety rules, and the signal to go. No second invitation was needed. Splashes and happy shouts erupted from all sides; Javin was the bodyguard and stayed a tad downstream, counting 11 children again and again, making sure all were safe.

I especially enjoyed floating, it reminded me so much of letting go of life and floating in God’s love. Joshua preferred to play in the sand and soon wanted me to stay with him; I sat in the warm sand and soaked in the relaxation of the moment and the children happily playing and supervised.

“It would be perfect if Mom and Dad would come right now,” I mused.

Seconds later there were branches snapping in the woods behind me. There they were, loaded with camp chairs and supplies!

I smiled and told them how I had just been thinking about them. Together we watched the children as they came up out of the river and literally rolled in the sand. The wet clothes and hair worked like a magnet to the sand; with shrieks of delight, they raced back in the river and popped back out of the water with triumphant grins- the sand was all gone- ready for another round!

The children gathered sticks and Dad soon had a fire going to roast hot dogs. By now the sun was behind clouds and the warmth of the fire was inviting for everyone who was still damp. (To those of you wondering about the Amish and swimwear- we enjoy swimming yet value modesty as in any other setting.)

Regina spread a sheet in the sand and set the food on it.

Javin roasted hot dogs and the boys promptly began roasting chunks of Muenster cheese. They were a total hit. The one-inch cubes were stuck onto the end of a stick and held over the fire until the cheese was melting. Mm, that smoked flavor on melting cheese is hard to beat. They were good eaten plain or wrapped around a hot dog.

Despite our best efforts, it was a losing battle to keep all sand off all plates.

“Gloria, look at this,” quipped Japheth, my 12-year-old nephew, “I put chips in my sandwich, then I can’t feel when I crunch on sand!”

Shrewd, but oh!

Time seems to slip away on rare occasions such as these. It wasn’t long until we were all packing up and tramping back out through the woods.

All loaded on the trailer brought back the same feeling I had in childhood after a happy event, content and ready for bed.

My mom helped with baths when we came home, by 10:00 everyone was sound asleep in bed. Amazing.

Now for a recipe, I debated- you already know how to make hot dog sandwiches, anyone can pick an apple or buy salty snacks like we had. The food was yummy, but nothing exotic.

I do have a recipe though, that would be picnic perfect.  Mrs. Rose from Austin Texas sent it to me this week. Try it for yourself!


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