Fifteen years ago, Christmas came early

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Editor’s note: Because Mrs. Eicher communicates with her editor via post, some of the dates mentioned in this column have already passed.

Another week has already passed, and it is time to write the column again. We have also entered the last month of 2012. Where does time go so fast? I keep thinking next week will be less busy, and before I know it the week has passed.

Daughter Verena will have her 15th birthday on Dec. 10. How can she be that old already? It only seems short years ago that she was a baby. I’ll never forget the day Verena was born. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. and woke up my husband Joe. I told him that I think he will have to go wake the neighbors and ask to use their phone. The midwife, Sylvia, who was Joe’s aunt, didn’t have a phone, so a driver would have to be called to go pick her up. Joe wasn’t in too much of a hurry, as our first two children didn’t come very fast. He said he would just wait until he saw lights on at our English (non-Amish) neighbors’, which was usually around 4:30 a.m. He then went over and called a driver to go get Sylvia, and by the time she came it was after 5. Joe took the same driver to take our daughters Elizabeth and Susan over to my parents’ and bring my mother back with him. Mother was always a comfort to have during these times. Mother came prepared to stay all day. By the time Joe was back with my mother, it was almost 6 a.m.

Mother decided to make breakfast for everyone. Meanwhile, Joe wanted to go out and milk our cows and do the chores, since he still thought we had plenty of time before the baby’s arrival. But before anyone could get started on anything, Verena was ready to be born. She arrived at 6:32 a.m., and we were blessed with another precious, healthy daughter.

We were all surprised that things went so fast. Sylvia was not quite finished at our house when the driver came for her, as she was needed by one of Joe’s cousins. If I remember right, Joe’s cousin had her baby an hour after Verena. Verena was always full of energy and getting into everything at 6 months. She would crawl from one end of the room to the other before I knew it. She has been through a lot in her 15 years. At times she still does get post-concussion episodes, but it usually only affects her memory. Whatever happens during a post-concussion spell she will not remember. She has learned to cope with it and, over time, it seems to be getting better. We pray someday they will leave completely and are thankful how she has healed so far. She also seems to be doing well after her surgery to lengthen her heel cords on her right foot, a symptom of her muscular dystrophy. She is doing well and is an eighth-grader at school. Yesterday we did the laundry and hung it on the lines in the basement. It seems during the winter months we always have laundry hanging in the basement. We usually do laundry on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I am glad we have a place to hang it inside and don’t have cold hands hanging it outside. We used to hang our clothes outside all winter to let our clothing freeze-dry. It was a cold job putting it out and getting it in.

Our church won’t have the Christmas potluck until Dec. 30 this year, so that makes it a little less hectic before Christmas.

Here is a recipe for you readers who are onion lovers. My onions didn’t do so well, so I am already out of them and having to buy them.

* 2 good-sized onions
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 cup flour
* 1/4 cup milk
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Peel and slice onions. Slice fairly thick, at least 1/4 inch thick. Separate rings and use only the larger ones. Refrigerate until ready to use. Beat egg. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. In a large saucepan, heat oil or shortening. Fill pan at least half full. When oil is hot enough, dip onion rings into batter and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Lovina Eicher and her husband, Joe, are raising eight children on their rural Michigan homestead. Lovina inherited the Amish Cook column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz. For information about the Amish Cook, or to ask a question, write The Amish Cook, P.O. BOX 157, Middletown, OH 45042 or visit amishcookonline.com.