“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.” John 10:9, 10,11

This is a beautiful Wednesday as I write this epistle. The sun is bright and warm, but the wind is definitely cold. At present it is 35 degrees. We did have some snow Monday night. Just a dusting. If you ask me, that’ll do for this winter. Aren’t you glad I don’t control the weather?

Thanksgiving is past. Black Friday is over and done. No, I did not go Black Friday shopping. That would do me in. I can’t handle hordes of people and waiting lines. It is just not my cup of tea!

Our daughters Rachel and Lloyd and Jane and Milton Yoders and their families were at our house for dinner on Thanksgiving Day. The dinner was just short of a disaster. I somehow managed to burn everything except the water I boiled for coffee. Had it been possible, I would have burned that too.

Jane brought a layered lettuce salad. Rachel brought pumpkin, chocolate and coconut pie. It was a good thing they did. That way we had something good to eat.

One day last week, I had what was probably my last tour duty for the season. When I was told the group is from Urbana, I got kind of a chokey feeling. What if they read my column?!

And yes! The head guy, oh my, his name was George, but I forgot his last name. I am so bad! Anyway, when I introduced myself, he was speechless! Honest!

The expression on his face was priceless! When he closed his mouth, (he was gaping like a fish out of water, NOT!), he said, I read your column every week! It was funny!

I had an enjoyable time, talking about our lifestyle and just visiting. The group was very nice.

And speaking of nice people, I went to Arthur this past week, intending to e-mail my column, only to discover, I left it at home. As I trudged over to the library, I asked God if there would be someone who could run me home to get it. Well, Alice at the library offered to as soon as the other librarian gets back from the post office. Then Ruth Miller (Mrs. Ed) steps out from behind a shelf and said, “I’ll take you home.” Bless her heart! She saved me lots of time. I couldn’t thank her enough! And, of course, God, for answering my prayer. He doesn’t always answer that quickly, and sometimes He says “no.”

I met another one of my reader friends in Wal-Mart the other day. Her name is Patricia White, and she’s such a nice lady. She writes me a lot. And has wanted to meet up with me for a long time. Her goal has finally been achieved. I hope she wasn’t disappointed!

This past Sunday we went to sis Louise and Dale Kauffman’s house for our Plank family Thanksgiving dinner. I’m glad Louise is a better cook than I am. She didn’t burn her stuff. The turkey was really good, as was all the other food.

We had a really good, enjoyable day.

Our son-in-law Lloyd Yoder is nursing what he thinks is a cracked rib or two. He doesn’t think it’s broken, but it is really sore. He was walking in the dark the other evening and was apparently not looking where he was going. He crashed into the hitchrack and did a flip over the top. I wonder if I should give him one of my headlights. I’d probably have to show him how to turn it on so he could see where he’s going.

Lloyd recently had his corn picked, then he got the stalks chopped and baled.

He stacked them by the pony lot fence. The other day I noticed what looked like a tendril of smoke coming from between two bales. They are the big round bales. I went over and checked. Sure enough, it looked like smoke and between the bales it felt warm. So I went up to the house and told Rachel. We went out and decided we need to move the one bale away from the other. We get behind it and with much heaving and groaning and Shana, the Min-Pin dog nipping at my heels, we rolled it out. It was definitely heating on the inside of the bale. Whether it would have gone into flames, I don’t know. But I’d rather err on the side of caution.

In closing — Advertising is the fine art of making you think you have longed for something all your life that you never heard of before.

If you’re making candy for Christmas, you might want to try these caramels. After cutting them in squares, try dipping them in chocolate for a real taste treat.

Creamy Caramels

1 tsp. plus 1 cup butter, divided

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and grease the foil with 1 tsp. butter; set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1 cup butter in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for four minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat; stir in milk. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until candy thermometer reads 238 degrees (soft-ball stage), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool. Remove from pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends. Yield: 64 pieces.

Millie Otto of Arthur is a member of the Old Order Amish. Contact her by writing to 1584 CR 2000N, Arthur, IL 61911.

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