Gloria visits Ohio

This week I will introduce you to the most beautiful lady I spoke with on our trip to Ohio. Her name is Mary, she is 88 years old and a grandmother to my husband, Daniel. True beauty shines through her entire being as she kindly and tenderly visits with those around her. Though her hearing isn’t the greatest, even with her hearing aids, she is always there to lend a listening ear or offer words of encouragement.

The days before the trip were spent caring for a five-month-old who’s cutting teeth and packing clothes, and every other needed item for eight people. The children were thrilled to all have their own purses or backpacks with their personal treasures and pastimes for the seven-hour trip to Danville, Ohio.

Traveling went relatively well despite driving through rain, traffic jams, and trying to quiet Joshua in his car seat; needless to say, we were all incredibly thankful to be “home” with Daniel’s parents. Now, what would you guess my mother-in-law told me? She said, “Grandma (the beautiful 88-year-old), was praying for you as you got ready for your trip.” Now really, how very sweet of her. Obviously, she remembers a thing or two of the days she raised her 11 children, including two sets of twins.

Now on the evening of Thanksgiving, grandma and grandpa planned to join us at Daniel’s mom and dad’s, for supper and the evening. I looked forward to my time with them, especially grandma. After supper, I happened to be just at the right spot at the right moment to hear a brother-in-law ask grandma what grandpa has done for her that she appreciates. After thinking a bit, she responded with, “What means the most to me are the times he gives me direction and encouragement spiritually.” Turning the clock of time back 60 years, she reminisced how he would help her by washing out the bucket full of cloth diapers in the morning.

Turning to 87-year-old grandpa, Brother-in-law asked, “So what do you appreciate about grandma?”

He responded with, “All the meals she cooks for me, and for standing with me and supporting my leadership all these years.” (Grandpa was ordained a minister 64 years ago and still takes his turn to preach.)

My mind churned. Today they are celebrating their 67th wedding anniversary. What will our story be in 50 or 60 years from now?

While the grown-ups chatted, the children played with playdough made by Daniel’s sister, Mary. As Mary helped the children get started making playdough cookies, dolls, blankets, and even bottles, she told them how grandma would make playdough for her and her cousins on Thanksgiving Day. They spent countless hours making all sorts of imaginary things.

All too soon, the evening was passed, and it was time to settle down after a big day—that is after I slipped into the pantry for a bite-sized piece of Mary’s most amazing cheesecake. I passed Mary on the way out; chuckling, I told her that I couldn’t do this every day. Of course, she didn’t care a bit; bless her giving heart, she would do anything in her power to for us, including serving her specialty, cheesecake, at all hours of the day.

The next morning I was groggily waking up, listening to the murmur of voices in the kitchen under our bedroom when the door opened; Julia slipped in, holding a plate with a slice of cheesecake. I blinked in surprise. “Mom, you’ve got to taste this cheesecake! It’s the best one Mary ever made.” After hugging her a thank you, she was off again. She knows my crush on cheesecakes, and bless her dearest heart; she even served it in bed! Is this what it feels like to have children growing up?

The Amish Cook’s Lemony Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

1¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon lemon peel

2 tablespoon powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed

Filling:

4 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened

1¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs, well beaten

10 ounces white baking chocolate, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Instructions:

Place a 9-inch spring form pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil (about 18 inch square) securely wrap foil around pan. Set aside. In a small bowl combine crust ingredients until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cream, sour cream and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beat on low speed just until combined, stir in white chocolate and lemon peel. Pour into crust. Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch hot water to the larger pan. Bake at 350 for 65-85 minutes or until center is just set and to appears dull.

Remove the pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen sides. Cool one hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from sides of pan before slicing.

Yield: 12 servings