Rose and I went to Michigan and picked 27 bushels of peaches. We sold some of them and canned the rest. When I had chickens ready to butcher and cut up, she came. We did 80 chickens in 2 days. Whew!
When it was time to make cider, I drove the pick-up truck and we filled it with fallen apples. Noah's brother owned a cider mill, so we hauled the apples there and filled about a thousand recycled milk jugs (not quite that many) with the sweet cider, laughing all the while.
They celebrated birthdays and special occasions with us and we did the same at their house. When my dad sold his house and needed an apartment built onto my house, Noah built it. By now, they had another little girl who was just toddling. She fell and put her little handprints in the wet cement of the porch,where they still are, I presume.
They had another little boy, who completed their family. When they moved to another town not far away, we visited often. I attended their children's weddings and when their first grandbaby was born 9 years ago, Rose called and asked me to come to the hospital and see her.
Rosemary got breast cancer. I took her and Noah to the hospital the day of surgery. Everything went well and she bounced back. She taught Kalisha how to bake an angel food cake (she was an expert at it) and Noah and the 2 boys built a deck for me. Of course, by now, they had several more grandchildren. Things were always busy at their house. I would call and ask if she wanted to go to some garage sales. She was always ready to go.
But the cancer returned. Noah stayed home with her and took excellent loving care of her. Despite trying many things, she continued to get weaker. The last time I visited, as I left her kitchen, I turned and said, "You are a great friend, Rose. I love you." She gave me a weak smile and quietly said, "I love you, too."
One of her daughters called a few days later to tell me she had died. Kalisha and I went to the viewing, in their home. It was a very peaceful setting with a small kerosene lamp lit and setting on the end of a beautiful casket.
Before I get too maudlin, I should tell you I was looking for 2 of her daughters to talk to them. I couldn't find them, but when you have about 50 Amish women in one room, all dressed identically, it is difficult to find the ones you want. The girls found me. Of course, I was easy to spot; the only Englisher in the room full of black dresses and white caps.
I truly wish I could include some pictures for you, but I never disrespected their wishes that no pictures be taken.
Now to the present time. Rose's oldest daughter called a few days ago to see if I wanted some strawberries. Of course, I did. When I arrived, she had already picked 10 quart for me.... lucky me, I didn't have to.
They were trying to out-talk each other, telling me about their mishaps, the sheep that almost 'got me down' and the stitches one needed after a fall, etc. etc. All totalled, there were 19 children under the age of 9 in the kitchen.
As I was leaving, driving down the lane,
I know that is true of many other families, but it reminded me how short life really is.
I didn't write this to make you sad. I wanted to tell you what a good friend she was and although I know we will meet again in heaven, I miss her, especially while laughing and snuggling and smooching all those little faces that remind me of her.