Tonight was daughter Lovina’s eighth-grade graduation. Her class has 23 students.

Our school is a small public school and is very close-knit. Friday is the school picnic, then school doors will close for another term.

Lovina’s school days will be over. She said she will miss seeing her friends, but is excited to be done. Son Kevin will be the last of our children to graduate eighth grade next year. Time goes much too fast.

I had a nice 48th birthday on May 22 even though it was spent at sister Emma and Jacob’s house preparing for the wedding of niece Elizabeth and Manuel.

Saturday before the wedding, the cook wagon with six stoves and two stainless steel sinks and a lot of counter space arrived. A portable restroom was also brouht in, saving the bathroom in the house from over use. A walk-in cooler and freezer were brought in, and a wagon containing tables and everything else needed for a 360-place setting.

Everything you need to cook for more than 1,000 guests is included in this wedding wagon package.

On Saturday, tables were set up and set with all the china. They were then covered to keep them clean for the next week. More than 30 loaves of bread were toasted and then bagged to be used later in the week in the dressing.

Sister Liz, Jacob and Emma’s neighbor Laura, and I were asked to be head cooks. On Saturday, Laura and I made up the grocery list. Emma had a good start on her shopping.

Wednesday and Thursday, women arrived to help prepare food. They cut up 600 pounds of chicken, baked 16 cakes and 75 pies, and prepared 16 pans of orange cream cheesecake. Vegetables were shredded and diced for the dressing and salad, and so many more little jobs that needed to be done or to make less work for Friday morning.

On the wedding day, almost 400 pounds of potatoes were peeled and cooked for mashed potatoes. Manuel’s uncle grilled 600 pounds of chicken. The menu included gravy, chicken noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, bread, fresh rhubarb jam and butter, s’mores cake, orange cream cheesecake, rhubarb, pumpkin, and cherry pies, fresh fruit (watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, blueberries, and strawberries), and candy bars.

The cook wagon outfit was being picked up Saturday at 7 a.m., so all was packed and loaded by 10 p.m. Friday. Some of the neighbors, Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose, Susan, Joe and I helped get everything packed. The pole barn and tent looked empty, but it makes for a quick clean up.

I wish Elizabeth and Manuel many blessings as they begin life as one. I’m sure Jacob and Emma’s house seems empty this week with Elizabeth moved to her new home and only the three boys left. Life brings changes!

I want to thank my friend Ruth for once again helping out at a wedding and for writing my column. She does so much for all of us.

Joe’s uncle Solomon from Dundee, Ohio, came here after the wedding to spend the night. Joe and I made breakfast for him before he left Saturday morning.

We recently had a visit from Joe’s youngest sibling — his sister Susan and her sons Freddie and Seth. They stayed for supper and the cousins didn’t take long to get reunited with each other.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Readers can write her at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read.

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