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October song

BOOK: October song
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Beverly Lewis

October Song

October Song

October Song


3Also by Beverly Lewis in Large Print:

The Shunning

The Confession

The Reckoning

The Postcard

The Redemption of Sarah Cain

The Sunroom


*with David Lewis

Seal of Approval of N.A.V.H.

4October Song


Thorndike Press Waterville, Maine


All rights reserved.

Scripture quotation on page 293 is from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION . Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Published in 2002 by arrangement with Bethany House Publishers.

Thorndike Press Large Print Christian Fiction Series.

The tree indicium is a trademark of Thorndike Press.

The text of this Large Print edition is unabridged.

Other aspects of the book may vary from the original edition.

Set in 16 pt. Plantin by Minnie B. Raven.

Printed in the United States on permanent paper.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Lewis, Beverly, 1949October

song / Beverly Lewis.

p. cm.

ISBN 0-7862-4028-8 (lg. print : he : alk. paper) 1. Amish — Fiction. 2. Pennsylvania — Fiction. 3. Large type books. I. Title. PS3562.E9383 028 2002

813’.54—dc21 2002019932

To Adartha Nelson

For all the uears of our friendship. Here’s to manjy more!


8Author’s Note

The lore of the Plain people continues

draw me back to my family heritage. For th reason, the stories in this volume sprang t from fertile Lancaster County soil indee Just as an Amish quilt is defined by mot color, and design, so the following narrativ, are linked closely by setting, character, ar

theme interconnected by comm( threads a chronological tale in thr


-Abundant pleas have come from my d, voted readers who, since the publication IThe Shunningand subsequent novels, ha continued to inquire of characters such I Katie and Clan, the Wise Woman, Bishc John and Mary, Rachel and Philip, Sara Cain, and Lydia Cottrell.

I, too, had been wondering about each them and what has been happening i their lives. So it is my delight to preset this story collection with endless apprecil tion to my wonderful editor, Barb Lillam whose perspective and insight are invalt able. Special thanks to my “first editoi and husband, Dave, whose keen eye an

9ear are always an encouragement and help to me. Finally, to my dear parents, Herb and Jane Jones, whose call to minister in the “Heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country” is the reason I was blessed to have grown up in this lovely, verdant region in the first place.



Part I:Hickory Hollow
1 The Reunion






The Telling

Down Hickory Lane


By Lantern’s Light

A Gift to Remember

Part II:Bird-in-Hand
7. FriendtoFriend
8. Raising Zook’s Barn
9. Tea for Three
Part III:Grasshopper Level
10. The Courtship of Lyddie Cottrell
11. At Twilight
12. A Virtuous Woman






167 179 226
267 274


Hi&or u Hollow

The smell of woodsmoke hung in the air as crowscaw-cawedback and forth overhead. A bird sang out a low, throaty series of notes and flew away. So isolated was the area that not even the smallest mark on the Lancaster map betrayed the existence of Hickory Hollow home to two hundred and fifty-three souls.

fromThe Shunning


R union

Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before..

— Philippians 3:13

A little over a year has passed since I stooc with my beloved Daniel at the wedding altar reciting my vows in the meetinghouse dowr the road. We’re happily settled into mar. riage, and our home is located within walk ing distance from the outskirts of Hickor Hollow.

The tiny Amish villageach,but slight wrinkle on the map — wears a gooc many faces with the turning of the seasons I’m ever so grateful to be living this close to the hollow, where I can still glimpse Amish children dashing across snow-lader mule roads in winter, heading to one frozen pond or another, skating till the cold comes a-creepin’ up, nipping at theil noses.


‘Course, springtime and summer follow, sooner or later, along with flowering cherry trees and dogwoods, all decked out in the season’s finest. Frivolity and fun are written all over the faces of youngsters as they ride scooters or roller-skate home after school. Young men of courting age offer quiet, yet eager, smiles topettygirls at Sunday night singings, showin’ off their shiny black open buggies hitched to nimble stallions.

But, of all the seasons, autumn is the one I love best. The months of September and October, with bustling days of digging and marketing potatoes. Gatherin’ corn, too. Men work long and hard, fillin’ up silos. We women keep our hands busy with the inside chores of cannin’ vegetables. Every thing from apple butter to zucchini.

Along with the harvest comes fall house cleaning and oodles of mending. And eve ning hayrides now ‘n’ then, the harvest moon plump and orange in the sky. Daniel said here the other day that we oughta in vite several of our couple friends over “after the hayride come this Friday night.” His blue eyes shone with the idea. “We’ll make some pineapple ice cream, too.”

‘Course, I was all for it. “Ice cream and Mamma’s sugar cookies,” I decided.


Honestly, we’ve made a good many Mennonite friends in our new church community. Almost enough to make up for the loss of my Amish kinfolk, I’m sometimes tempted to think.

Yet no matter how satisfying our newfound acquaintances, no one will ever take the place of my dear adoptive parents and brothers. Not the whole lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins neither. And there’s dear Mary Stoltzfus — the young Amishwoman I grew up with — now happily married to Hickory Hollow’s bishop, John Beiler. I wouldn’t know from Mary’s lips just how cheery she is, though. Our paths, hers and mine, don’t cross much anymore. Not since my shunning.

I don’t rightly know how long it’s been since I stepped foot in the old farmhouse where I grew up. Not that my heart doesn’t yearn for my dear ones. I’m just not welcome amongst the People, and I wouldn’t think of stirrin’ up more trouble than has already been done.

I havetalked to Mamma by phone sometimes, when she’s off tending to quilt tables at Central Market, downtown Lancaster. When it’s possible, and there’s a lull, she’ll slip away to a pay phone and call. But those times are few and far be


tween. More often than not, she sends cards and letters, even though I just live on the outskirts of the hollow.

On two separate occasions here lately, I’ve walked down Hickory Lane to visit the Wise Woman Mamma’s aunt Ella Mae Zook under the covering of night. The elderly widow is my spiritual mother. Just last year she led me in the sinner’s prayer. In the stillness of her living room, I found forgiveness of sin through faith in the Lord Jesus. My heart had been longing for that moment my whole life.

“Aw, Katie, my dear girl, time just seems

to evaporate when we get together, ain’t so?” Ella Mae says, her head just a-bobbin’ up and down.

The Wise Woman knows, without a doubt, the joys of friendship.Jah,Ella Mae understands fully that time and distance mean little when it comes to family con nections.

“We’re like squares on a quilt,” I tell her, sipping herbal tea in Ella Mae’s dimly lit kitchen. “Always connected, we are, no matter.”

No matter.

Pondering that, I truly wish something could be done, something within my power, about my present spiritual stand


and my former church, the Old Order. Mamma’s wanted so much for us to visit, somehow or other. I’m perty sure my father’s the one who’s nixed the notion. Fact is, he follows the letter of the law, Dat does. He’s strongly opposed to breaking bread eating and talking together as if nothing’s wrong with either my husband or me, both of us under theBannandMeindingas former church members.

Guess I can’t blame him, though I’ve heard tell of a good many Amish families

none from the Hickory Hollow church district, but other places all the same who bend the rules a bit for the sake of family ties.

Not Samuel Lapp. He’s kept his silence toward me since that cold autumn Sunday, the day my shunning officially began, showing no interest in reaching out to me whatsoever as Mamma has. Nary a phone call or the shortest note in the mail. None of that.

Even my married brother, Elam, and his wife, Annie Dan’s sister thought enough to send a Christmas card. At the bottom of the card, though, Elam scrawled these words: lYebpray both you and Clan will be true-hearted and take the shunning seriously, repent, and return to your


contract with God and the church.

Yet another opportunity for my big brother to admonish us about our sin of breaking our baptismal vows, leaving the Amish for a less rigid fellowship of Christians, a church where salvation by grace is preached from the pulpit. But a church, nonetheless, that allows electricity and automobiles — a sin and a shame in the eyes of the Old Order.

On my knees, at age nineteen, I gave my heartfelt vow to be true to God and the Amish church. Having grown up Old Order, I was fully aware of the seriousness of such a kneeling oath a lifetime pact with the Almighty — both then and now. Ihavekept my vow to God — even more so, I should say, since giving my heart fully to the Lord Jesus.

W/ill Dat ever forgive me?

To keep from frettin’, I think on more practical things and set to housecleaning for our Friday company. Even so, Dat’s re-iection of me, his unforgiving spirit, casts its long shadow over my life…

After lunch Katie made a quick trip to the grocery store for a few items. Store visits took some getting used to. On the farm, the necessary ingredients for most


recipes were usually on hand in storage bins down in the cold cellar of Dat’s old farmhouse. Since marrying Clan Fisher, she no longer grewalltheir produce, due to limited space in their yard, but she tended a small vegetable garden. And no longer was there any barn choring to be done, but who missed milkin’ cows twice a day? What shedidmiss were the farm surroundings, the smells sweet ripening grapes, newly mown hay, honeysuckle on the vine — and the sound of cricketschirrruppingin summer and the gentle creaking of windmills. Most of all, fellowship with the People.

More than ever, Katie found time for taking in sewing now and then, doing her own embroidery and mending, singing and playing guitar, cooking for and doting on her husband. Sometimes, while searching the Scriptures, she lost track of time, soaking up God’s Word like a bone-dry sponge.

Clan contented himself as a draftsman by day and a musician by night and weekend; at such times he composed hymn arrangements for their guitar duets. Often, the newlyweds were invited to play in home gatherings, as well as at their church. All for the glory of God.


While driving over the back roads to the store, Katie felt ever so confident today. More so than usual. The Lord had been so good to give her a godly and loving husband, the man of her dreams since girlhood. She sang as she traveled, the sun shining down all round her, birds flitting from tree to tree, warbling an October song.

Just as she made the turn onto the gravel, Katie spied a distant horse and gray buggy coming down the road. A lump rose in her throat at the familiar sight, but she quickly dismissed the feeling, despite the tug at her heart.

Once inside the store, she gathered up necessary ingredients for the age-old cookie recipe granulated sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla, and sweet milk. She checked her list before going to stand in line.

It was while Katie waited to pay for her few items that her father came into the store, big as you please. All at once, the wind fell out of her sails, seem’ Dat for the first time since her return to Lancaster County last year. Truly, she felt lost. Yet she waved, even stepped forward slightly in anticipation. In that split second, as their eyes met and held briefly, he turned


away, brushing past her.

She could scarcely breathe. And the tears well, her eyes clouded up so much she had to dig in her pocketbook for a tissue.

‘Tis better to forgive than to hold a grudge.

How many times had Dat said that over the years? Her father had taught by example that “mercy bestowed upon a neighbor was grace handed down from almighty God.” But, then, Katie wasn’t just any neighbor. Having been raised in a strict Amish family, she’d run off from the People in willful disobedience-in search of fancy things and returned home claiming to have become a Christian. Then, of all things, she had married an excommunicated Amishman, now a Mennonite.

Dat always embraced the belief that none can corrupt and leaven a person more than one’s own spouse or children. ‘Specially if such were wayward sinners, as she was in the eyes of the Old Order community. Dat truly believed that the shun was instituted to “make ashamed unto betterment of life,” according to Menno Simons, the leader of persecuted Anabaptists during the sixteenth century.


as she paid the cashier and hurried out of the store. She fully understood her father’s motive — no getting round that. Still, the sting of rejection bore deep inside. She couldn’t help but thinkwishshe might’ve spent more time in the barn with Dat while growin’ up, getting to know him better. ‘Course, there were plenty of good memories, no denying that.

BOOK: October song
12.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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