A knock came on my door as I worked in the kitchen one late afternoon this past week. I was startled because I had not heard a car come down our long lane.
I was happily surprised to see that it was the oldest of the three sisters who walk through our farm on their way to the Amish schoolhouse. As I opened the door to greet her, I noticed the buggy near the barn.
“Anna! I am so happy to see you. You and your sisters are not walking today?” I asked.
Anna smiled and tipped her black bonnet-covered head toward the horse-drawn buggy in a way that she has likely seen her elders do.
“My Daddy let me drive today!” she said with an enormous smile.
It made me smile and melted my heart at the same time to think how happy this little girl always seems to be, grateful for such simple pleasures as driving the horse-drawn buggy to school and back.
I asked about her day at school, and she said, “Good, it was good. We are all having a very good year.”
I waved to her two younger sisters, who remained in the buggy as she had likely told them to do.
“Daddy and Mama said I could stop by and ask if you needed or wanted us to gather your black walnuts like we did last year,” Anna said.
“Oh, that would be so wonderful!” I said, and Anna lit up as though I had given her a key to a golden palace.
We have two huge black walnut trees near our house and the falling walnuts cause us nothing but aggravation. The girls gathered them up in baskets and woven bags last year and hauled them home. We were grateful.
We talked a little bit longer, Anna telling me about some of her school work, her youngest siblings at home, the farm work needing to be done when she arrived back home. For such a little girl, she is amazingly responsible.
“I get to help Daddy with the barn work when I get home. Lizzie and Susan help Mama with the house, but I get to help Daddy,” Anna said with a sweet smile.
We discussed the walnuts a bit more, with Anna assuring me they were happy to have the work.
“We will be back when Daddy says we have the time to do it, but it will be soon!” she said as we said our good-byes.
As I watched the three sisters pulling away in the buggy, I thought again of their sweetness and innocence, their happiness with the simplest of things. They are not jaded in the way that so many of the children I talk to seem to be, even by the age of 8.
It is refreshing to visit with each of the girls, to listen to their sweet stories, to see the joy in their young faces as they tell me about their day at the one-room schoolhouse, the special lunch that their mama packed for them.
As the horse-drawn buggy made the turn in to the open field, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as Anna put the horse in to high gear, moving at a great clip across our alfalfa field, its tail held high. I could picture their three faces, smiling as the buggy jostled them about on their journey toward home.