How do Amish celebrate Thanksgiving? As anywhere, that can vary, but Gloria Yoder shares one special experience in her latest Amish Cook column – an annual supper held for widows in her community:

This year Wanita took charge of coordinating the event. The meal consisted of ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and salad, as well as pumpkin, apple and peach pies served with ice cream. I was assigned a simple job of helping with a tossed salad.

All the ladies and girls from our church were invited. As we stepped into the garage where the dinner was being hosted, Julia, Rayni and I were greeted by the warmth of the Lehman’s wood stove, and the bustle of ladies putting finishing touches on the meal.

Stepping over to the attractively decorated table, I greeted the ladies who were gathering for the meal. Everyone wore a smile and was super friendly, yet I knew that each one must have a story, a difficult story that brought about their circumstance of widowhood. Moving on, I helped get things organized for serving. By 5:00 the meal was ready. Wanita made some announcements and led in prayer, asking God’s blessing on the meal and fellowship.

Several of us ladled food into serving bowls while others passed it. After everyone was served, I made my way to one corner of the table where a few of my friends had been seated. I enjoyed the leisurely conversation, gleaning bits of wisdom from those older than myself. Perhaps the key thought to me, was how one lady shared that she feels joy as she goes through her days, even with some extreme difficulties she’s facing.

Supper was followed by singing, Bingo, and an inspirational story. As far as inspiration goes, I always find how Amish remember the weaker members of their communities – the aged, ill, widowed – inspiring.

Photo by Don Burke

Gloria also warmly invites widowed readers to join in 2019:

Tuesday evening as I looked around the circle of friends, both Amish and non-Amish, I wished there was a way to reach any readers who are widows and invite you to our annual Thanksgiving dinner. Really now, if any of you would be interested in participating a year from now and bring a friend with you, please let me know, and I will be in contact the next time around!

Read Gloria’s column in full here, including her recipe for Sweet and Sour Baked Ham.

In previous Thanksgiving posts, Don Burke gave us an outsider’s look at Thanksgiving in one Amish community. Short version: the place was pretty quiet, though two congregations chose to have church service on Thanksgiving Day. See the photos and post here.

More than any other, this holiday is about good food, and one Pinecraft institution – Yoder’s, an Amish-style restaurant in the Florida Plain community – makes thousands of Thanksgiving pies each year.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all Amish America readers. I wish you full dinner plates and time well spent with loved ones.