Independence Day is just three days away, and it is a time when we should seriously think about the freedom and values we share. We know that our freedom didn't come about without a lot of human suffering and effort. Now we have thousands of our solders, sailors and marines in far away places risking their lives to preserve that freedom. Let's pray that they will come home safely when their work is done and make sure we give them a special tribute when they arrive home.
One freedom we enjoy is our choice of religion. We can decide how we want to worship our God. We experienced this about two weeks ago when we went over to the Middlefield-Mesopotamia area to visit a long-time Amish friend, Martha, who recently lost her husband.
First we stopped by Nevin and Emma's home and picked them up to go with us. We had decided ahead of time to pack a bucket of ice cream in ice to take along for refreshments. Emma grows strawberries and brought a dish of fresh berries to top off the ice cream. She also made a pan of delicious sweet rolls, and Betty had made a pan of brownies. We wanted plenty of refreshments because we knew some grandchildren might be around and would enjoy a treat.
In many ways, our evening had a touch of sadness because we were missing Andy, Martha's husband. At the same time, we were enjoying sharing fond memories of him. He had been on the Board of Directors of the Amish cooperative I had worked with some years ago. We had stayed good friends over the years. The same was true with Nevin and Emma and several others who were on the board.
While we were visiting with Martha, two of her sons and their wives came in to visit. That added to the conversation and led to more memories of Andy. We also talked about the weather, crop conditions, farming methods and what was going on in the Amish community. Betty and I enjoyed listening to the conversations and being a part of them. They also talked about families, weddings, births and deaths in the community.
Our ice cream had kept well, and we all enjoyed it topped with the fresh strawberries. There was enough left for grandchildren that lived in another part of the home.
One of the questions they asked me was how I found ideas to write about for this newspaper. I shared with them that ideas can come from many places and experiences.
On the way back to Nevin and Emma's home, Nevin shared with us that he also writes a weekly column for an Amish newspaper, the "Die Botschaft" that is published in Millersburg, Pa. It is a weekly newspaper serving Old Order Amish communities everywhere.
I asked him what he wrote about. He said his topics were about community and family events from his particular group. He gave me a copy to bring home to see what he and others wrote.
Writers from Amish communities all over the country take time to send in weekly columns about various events in their areas. The newspaper is full of news that is important in the Amish communities.
Writers all have different yet similar styles of writing, and some, like Nevin, use a few German words when they can't come up with an English word to express their ideas.
Amish families have another interesting way of communicating. They are called "circle letters." One family member may start the letter and send it to another member of the family. That person reads the letter, then adds what they want to share and sends it on. The letter may go to 20 or more families, each one sharing their news. It may take awhile to get all the way around, but it does keep families informed. Many of us might take a page from that idea.
We had an interesting and enjoyable evening with our friends with a note of sadness as we shared our experiences together.
Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune and grew up in Trumbull County.