Morrisons Cove Herald - Putting cows on the front page since 1885.

By Roseann Zimmerman

Old Order Mennonite Memoirs


“Am I seeing one right now?” my husband asked suddenly on Monday, March 30, when breakfast was almost over. We had just been talking about the arrival of the purple martins because we anticipated their acrobatic flights over our farm. My eyes followed his gaze, which pierced through the kitchen window and into the clear sky, studying the feathered flier.

He left the table to crank up the martin house and open their little doors. When I was done washing dishes, I poked my head out the door in hopes of hearing their welcome songs. It was then that I noticed a calf trotting across the backyard. Calves usually belong in hutches because their level of intelligence wouldn't have respect for the speeding traffic on the highway beside our barn. To prevent harm for both animals and people, escapees must be caught soon and placed in their proper home.

Calves usually aren’t hard to catch, so I kept an eye open, expecting my husband to come around the corner with the captured runaway. When he didn’t come, I stepped outdoors to see it trotting across the field, away from home. My help was needed, obviously. But the long-legged Holstein could trot faster than we could run. We were both winded when she began heading for the road. I ran even faster but a truck was coming from the north. I expected a calf-truck collision but the truck slowed down and the calf turned suddenly for the barn.

That was too good to be true, however. She turned and headed for the road again but the truck driver had actually stopped and blocked her way. When she moved to go through the gap between the truck and the fence, he drove forward slowly to close the gap. The calf looked at the truck and then at me and turned the opposite way. Traffic was coming, so the truck driver backed up and went on his way toward town. I had no chance to thank the Good Samaritan, not even so much as the wave of my hand. He was gone and besides, our chase with the wild calf wasn’t over until my husband leaped on her, putting an end to her stolen freedom.

Sometimes life has surprises, like a purple martin in the sky or calf out of her hutch. Some changes are anticipated, but others are suddenly here, unexpected. No church, no school, no weddings, to name a few.

The coronavirus and its related fears are like a juggernaut, a massive relentless force that crushes whatever is in its path. My heart goes out to the young couples, who through no fault of their own, are denied the weddings they planned, but even more I feel for the mothers who have never made a wedding for their daughters before. The uncertainty, the questions, the altered plans, all while in suspense to see what the future holds ... .

But somehow, I see my friends with an unshaken equilibrium. Although we are denied the handshake or the songs to sing together, I see them emotionally balanced with poise in the adjustment of these unusual opposing elements. They won’t be crushed by the virus juggernaut but instead use it like a chariot of God to rise above the circumstances.

We know God is the Ruler yet. Rising from the brown scab on my winter lawn, is now the spring beauty of daffodils and hyacinths.

Only God can draw beauty from a bulb under the ground. Only God can make the thunder roll and the grass green. Only God can make the strong, northern wind dry our soil, for my garden-planting and my husband's alfalfa-seeding.

Only God can make the evening sun slant a beam on the eastern woods, drawing forth deer and turkeys to graze and strut in the marvelous light. Only God, the King of creation ... .

God was present, too, in the 10-person wedding along Clover Creek on Sunday, April 5. And we know He will be with the newly married couple, Daniel and Amanda (Newswanger) Nolt, in their new life together.

Here along Piney Creek, the sermon was on the phone and the planned family gathering to celebrate my husband’s birthday was canceled. The song I sing has taken on new meaning: “My life, my love, my family, I've given all to Jesus; For time, and for eternity, I've given all to Jesus. Ev'rything is on the altar, I've surrendered all.”


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