If you ever were a little girl with an autograph book in a Mennonite school, you may recognize the acronym for A Friend Always. Let me tell you, we really meant it, right up there with “Snow on the mountain top, The sun can’t melt it. I love you and I can’t help it.” Now I have gone and gotten all nostalgic.

My dearest childhood friend has accomplished a very big thing- She has written a book, a very special cookbook, no less! That is what I want to give away, one of her cookbooks, because I feel like a sort of honorary aunt, and I want to spread the word. 🙂

Esther became my bosom friend after my parents moved us from Kentucky to Pennsylvania. I still remember vividly the displaced feelings that went through my nine-year-old head. There were mountains on the horizon instead of flat farmland, our family bought a car, and I didn’t have to wear a black bonnet to church anymore. Everybody spoke English: Dutch was just for joking or for the occasions when you couldn’t think of the correct word. Then up stepped Esther and introduced herself and we found that we would be in the same grade, us two and a whole bunch of boys. We simultaneously fell in love with our genteel third grade teacher, worked hard to keep our grades up there with the boys, and wore matching dresses at the school picnics. After church we would play word guessing games (Really. How could I make that up?) and tell each other our tenderest secrets.

I loved to go to her family’s farm, help milk the cows, chuck the hay down the hay-holes, slide down the mountain of cobs in the corn crib. I said I wanted to marry a farmer, but she said no way! What are you thinking? When I think back now, it seems astonishing that we only lived in the same area for 4 or 5 years. Esther’s family moved to New York on a church planting assignment, and our sorrow was very great. I was now sole girl in a grade of eight boys. And they were naughty boys, or so I thought at the time. I think they have all turned out quite well. 🙂

At any rate, we decided that nothing would ever separate this pair of friends, and thus began the weekly letter exchange. Every Monday we would post our missives and by Thursday there would be a fat envelope in the mailbox. I remember proudly telling my family that I had written 13 pages one weekend. No doubt the boys in my class were especially irritating the week prior. 😉  I inflicted my longest strings of adjectives on her, sending her the overly descriptive missives of a wannabe author. She is a very talented writer, so I think we sharpened each other, because we tried so hard to make our letters engaging.

Occasionally we got to spend time together. There was a week in eighth grade when I took my books and assignments and went to school with her in New York. The farm there was even more exciting than the one in Pennsylvania. We had a glorious time, doing chores together and just cramming the days full.

The letters slowed down a bit, especially after we got married. I was astounded when she told me she was dating a guy who actually went to school with me in Kentucky. Small world. 🙂 Then the babies started coming, and we really slacked off, although her updates still totally make my day.

All that to say, she wrote a book, and I am so pleased for her, even though I had nothing to do with it. I will post links for that later, as well as how you can enter the give-away for it.

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