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For about ten years, Ray and I have enjoyed the annual (and sometimes semi-annual) barn dance hosted by our friends who own the farm and beautiful barn across the road from us.

On the Stage
On the Stage

We enjoyed another one a couple of weeks ago. Our friends Garth, Terry, and Natalie joined us this year. They came to our house and we all walked over together. I put my calico bean dish in a container that fit in an old-fashioned basket, because I feel so much more authentic when I carry my covered dish to the barn dance in a basket. To be sure, it was a slurpy, sloppy mess when we got off the pavement and onto the gravel drive between the road and the barn (it was the day we got rained out from the fall festival in Granville), but, after all, we only get to pretend to be Charles and Caroline and Laura Ingalls and the rest once, or maybe twice, a year. It was worth it. Besides, the barn has a sink and I washed off my shoes when I got inside.

One of these years maybe I’ll remember to buy my very own blue crinoline to go under my blue square dancing dress, but this year, I again borrowed one from our hostess Donna. When I went to her house to get it on Saturday afternoon, she had her loaner crinolines in her hall — a red pile, a blue pile, a white pile, etc. Upstairs was what was left of her vast collection of barn dance dresses — she had already loaned out several, I’m sure. She has little girl sizes, big girl sizes, and grown up sizes. She is amazing. I used to borrow a teal one every year until I finally found my own dress on Ebay.

After the Dance in Our Get-Up
After the Dance in Our Get-Up

I never cease to be amazed at the giving nature of our hostess. She holds clogging classes for several weeks before the big dance night. She teaches them free-of-charge, and then the children, teens, and sometimes young adults perform for us during the evening, when she and our Mary Evelyn aren’t calling dances for the rest of us to dance to. This year was especially special because now that our hostess has a granddaughter who is old enough to clog, she has started a pre-school clogging class. Our little Clara was adorable in her own black tap shoes and her clogging dress, borrowed from our hostess. Six pre-school cloggers — and one of them my very own granddaughter — what a treat! They were adorable — and not just to this doting Little.

Within two weeks before the barn dance, one of the twins who are the youngest in the host family had a run-in with a cinder block on his bicycle. That meant stitches to sew most of his lip back on and surgery for a broken nose, and this just six months after her husband David’s accident on a dirt bike! You may remember my asking for prayers for David at the first of April. David was at the dance. He is walking with a cane. He is working, and a few days before the barn dance, he was cleared to drive a car with no restrictions. He and our hostess welcomed their first grandson since his accident last spring.

I would guess the total number of people blessed by our host’s and hostess’ hospitality that night at, oh, maybe 125, and most of them from homeschooling families.

I never ceased to be amazed at the hearts and resilience and creativity and generosity of people made in the image of God, especially those who love Jesus.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
Proverbs 31:25
The Whole Disk 2050 cropped

Calico Beans

1 lb. browned ground beef
2 large onions, in rings or chopped
2/3 cup raw sugar or brown sugar (I use raw)
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I use raw)
1 16-ounce can of green lima beans (or frozen green limas, cooked a minimum — this is my preference)
1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 16 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
2 16-ounce can black beans, not drained
(Any combination of beans will do, but the dish will be better if you include the green limas.)
Mix in bowl. Pour into a large, deep casserole dish. Bake one hour at 350 degrees.

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