It's the last day of 2014. A brand new year lies ahead. What will it have in store for us? If we would know, would we be able to go on? Anything is possible if we let God lead the way and keep our full trust in him.
As I sit here thinking of how my family always spent New Year's Day, a lot of memories come to my mind. When my maternal grandparents were still living they would have their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren home for the Christmas gathering. The day would start out early. We would get up early to get the cows milked and have breakfast. We lived very close to my grandparents, so some of the uncles, aunts and cousins would start gathering at our house as soon as breakfast was done.
It would still be very dark outside, and all of us children would be so excited. We would all walk over to my grandparents' house in the dark. Sometimes we had a lot of snow to trudge through. We lived on a road that wasn't traveled much back then, so it was an enjoyable walk. My grandparents had eight children and more than 80 grandchildren. Uncle Henry and Aunt Barbara lived in the big house attached to Grandpa and Grandma's little house. They would set up tables in their dining room and living room to seat all the adults and the older children. The younger ones were fed before everyone else ate.
When we arrived at Grandpa and Grandma's, all of us would stand outside their door singing the traditional New Year's Song in German. The New Year's Song is a song wishing everyone a good year. The English translation is:
" 'Tis time now to welcome the happy new year,
God grant you to live and enjoy the new year.
Good fortune and blessings to dwell in your home,
God grant you such blessings in this year in your home.
In heaven before the great heavenly throne,
God grant thee reward in that heavenly home.
In closing this year we repeat this one wish,
God grant you on high once that heavenly bliss.
While it was being sung, everyone would go into the house. All of us grandchildren would line up to take our turn to wish Grandpa and Grandma a happy new year and give them a kiss. They would sit in their hickory rocking chairs.
After the noon meal was over and the dishes were all washed, Grandpa and Grandma would pass out gifts to all of us. For the grandchildren, it was usually a dish of some kind, or a mug. And we would all get a lunch-sized bag with candy and an orange in it. I remember how my cousins and I would dump all our candy out of our bags and look at it before putting it back in our bags to take home. My mother would mark all the dishes they gave us and what year we got them. When I got married, I had a different dish or mug for every year.
After Grandpa and Grandma died, my parents always had our family Christmas gathering on New Year's Day. We would all gather there for breakfast and set the tables again for the noon meal.
I will share with you my mother's recipe for peanut butter cups. She would make these every Christmas season. She would have to hide them from the kids because we loved them so much.
I wish all of you God's richest blessings in the New Year 2015 and always.
Peanut Butter Cups
2 pounds peanut butter
1 pound margarine
3 pounds powdered sugar
Melted semi-sweet chocolate
Mix peanut butter and margarine. Then work in powdered sugar until smooth. Shape into balls the size of big marbles. Dip in melted chocolate.
Lovina Eicher, an Old Order Amish writer, is cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at P.O. Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.