This is a story I wrote for a contest on Faith Writers recently. Enjoy! :) ______________________________________________
“Mamm! I’m heading over to the Zook’s place to chat with Sarah a bit. I’ll be back in an hour to help with supper.” hollered Anna Hostetler over her shoulder as she left the house. She hurried to the barn to hitch up Sassy. Bridling the mare, she led her to the hitching post. “Pretty soon I will be living out my long-awaited dream, jah?” she told the horse while adjusting the harness. She climbed in the family buggy and was soon heading down the road. Like most Amish families in Lancaster, the Hostetler’s live on a farm and grow their own crops. They enjoy the close-knit fellowship with friends and relatives, striving to grow closer to the Lord together.
Anna took in a deep breath of the delicious spring air and held the reins slack in her hands. She loved the peaceful scenery she passed driving on this back road. A smile crept onto her face as she gave the reins a flick and leaned forward in anticipation. She couldn’t wait to share her news with her best friend Sarah Zook. For a long time she had wanted to have a job working with horses, something she greatly enjoyed. But because it was usually the men in the family that took care of that, nobody took her on for help. They probably didn’t like the idea of a nineteen year old young woman working like that anyway. Besides, they would say she should be getting married and starting a family by now, not seeking out work that was considered a man’s job!
She thought back to that day last week when she saw a sign in the store about a job working with horses at a stable in Bird-in-Hand, a town about eight miles away. Needless to say, she was ecstatic! She looked closely at the description given. They offered good wages to someone with at least several years’ experience to help with the thirty or so horses there. That’s me! She nearly laughed out loud at the way the Lord answered her prayer. Instead she smiled and calmly took down the contact info and left the store. “I’ll talk to Dat about it later,” she had decided.
It was obviously not an Amish establishment. Dat called a few days later and found out they have some Amish working there and some things workers are required to do. “Mostly grooming and exercising horses and cleaning stalls,” the lady on the phone said. She said they would gladly call back when there was a position available. After asking a few more questions, he thanked her and hung up. They kept their word and called back a few weeks later with a vacant position. If she took it, she would be mostly exercising and grooming race horses. When Dat told her what he learned, she was thrilled. He gave her the go-ahead and she thanked him and went to tell Mamm. She couldn’t wait to start her new job!
Coming out of her daydreaming, she pulled in the Zook’s driveway and tied Sassy to the hitching post by the barn. Walking in their back door she sang out,
“Is anybody home?”Sarah came over from the stove where she was baking something and smiled.
“Anna, how gut to see you! Come right in and have a piece of the blueberry pie I just made and a glass of milk.”
Anna followed her into the kitchen and said,
“Denki, Sarah, I’d love some. I told Mamm I’d only stay an hour to be back in time to help with supper. But I just had to talk to you now. I have some exciting news! You’ll never guess.”
Sarah furrowed her brow in thought.
“Hmm. You have a beau!”
Anna laughed. “I really doubt that’s gonna be happenin’ anytime soon, considering what I have in mind.”
“Really now. I wonder what’s up your sleeve this time,” snickered Sarah.
“Oh nothin’ scary, I promise ya that,” Anna grinned.
“Knowing you, I wonder,” Sarah smirked, then finally threw her hands up. “I have no idea, please tell me.”
“All right then.” Anna leaned forward and said, “My dream to work with horses is about to be realized at last. I found a job!”
“Really?! That’s amazing, considering you’ve been looking for years and none of our families have seemed to need help. Who did you find that gave you a job?”
“Well, it’s nobody in our community, much as I would have preferred that.”
Sarah nodded in agreement. Anna continued.
“There’s a place in Bird-in-Hand called Nicker of Time Stables. I saw a sign for it. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of it by now but they just started business about a year ago. Dat gave me permission to apply and I absolutely cannot wait to start working!”
“That is wunnerbaar, Anna! I sure hope you get the job,” she exclaimed, smiling at her friend.
“Oh I’m confident I will!” said Anna assuredly. “They’re looking for someone to fill the vacancy, so if I answer them soon they should hire me.”
The two girls chatted some more and finished up their pie. Finally Anna stood up. “Well, I need to make one more stop before heading home. Denki for the pie, Sarah. Come by tomorrow if you want to try out the lemon cake I’m going to make. It’s going to taste unbelievable!” She made an exaggerated noise of delight as she waved goodbye and left.
“I’m sure it will be,” called Sarah after her, “If your Mamm is the one makin’ it!” she giggled while Anna glared back at her.
Anna untied her horse and got back into the buggy and made her errand in town before going home.
Several days passed. Anna was gathering her things for a trip to Bird-in-Hand to apply at this wunnerbaar-gut place she had discovered. Soon her horse was clip-clopping at a fast pace along the highway. About twenty minutes later she arrived in the busy little town. She started searching for the stable with the directions that Dat had gotten for her. She turned onto Maple Avenue and saw more and more fenced-in pastures as she kept driving.
Finally a large fancy-looking barn loomed ahead of her and she pulled in front, so excited she almost jumped out of the buggy and shouted with delight. She found a hitching post to tie Sassy to, then looked all around, drinking in the sights. She saw about five horses grazing in a nearby pasture and ten or so in the stables, curiously poking their heads out. She smiled as she also saw someone training a large horse in a round pen and others carrying tack and feed to the ones in the pasture. Looking to the right, she saw a small building a ways away that looked to be the office. She hurried in that direction thinking that the sooner she applied the sooner she could begin working at this exciting place.
She walked in and saw a pleasant-looking lady at the front desk. She timidly approached and the lady looked up and said, “Hello, may I help you with something?”
Anna replied, “Yes, I came to apply for the position I heard was available. My father called to find out some time ago and a few weeks later we got a return call letting us know there was one. I have been working around horses all my life and I can’t wait to start this job!” she smiled cheerfully.
The lady pulled out some papers and started examining them while saying, “All-righty, let me check here.” Then she stopped and frowned.
“Oh I’m so sorry honey, I’m sure you would be a great worker here,” she hesitated.
Anna could feel all her hopes deflating as she asked, “Is something wrong?”
The lady continued.
“The position you just mentioned that was available last week was taken by someone else. If you had been here just three days ago…” Her voice trailed off as she put her papers away. She glanced up to see a very disappointed look on Anna’s face.
“Oh, I see.”
The lady added,
“But if you’ll just give me your name and phone number I will put you on our list of people to call when we have another position available.” she smiled at Anna. “That may not be for awhile though, since we just hired some new workers.”
“Thank you, I appreciate that,” murmured Anna as she wrote down her information on the piece of paper that the lady gave her. When she was done she said goodbye and left the office. She trudged over to Sassy feeling depressed. She leaned against the mare’s warm and comforting neck, ready to cry. After a few minutes she climbed back in the buggy and drove away. Why God, why? She sighed as she guided the mare back onto the highway. I thought you had answered my prayers and everything seemed to fall into place so fast…what happened? She decided to stop by Sarah’s before going home to talk to her about it. She could use some of her friend’s good sense right now.
Arriving, she tied her horse, and jumped out. Walking in the back door she called, “Sarah! Are you here?”
Sarah greeted her warmly then said, “Why Anna, what is the matter? You don’t look so gut.”
“I don’t feel so gut either,” Anna replied glumly.
“Come into the living room while I get us both a cup of tea, and then you can tell me what happened.” Sarah went to the kitchen and presently returned with two steaming cups and a plate of freshly-baked cookies in her hands. She set the plate down and handed Anna a cup.
“Denki.” Anna wrapped her hands around the mug and sighed. “Well I went over to Bird-in-Hand to apply for that horse job today. I couldn’t wait to start, and after talking to the lady at the office I realized I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up so high.”
At her friend’s questioning look she finished, “The position was taken already, already! She said if I had been there three days earlier I could have gotten it. Just think Sarah, three measly days sooner and it would have been me working there instead!” Anna let out a groan of frustration. Sarah sympathetically put an arm around her and said, “Oh Anna, I am so sorry. You were so excited and I was hoping you would get it too.”
Anna took a sip of the tea and said, “Mmm, peppermint. Just what I need right now, jah?” She sighed again and said, “I guess I should have known better not to have been so set on it until I knew for sure.”
“Jah, that is always hard not to do when you really look forward to something. It’s happened to me before too. It’s a hard lesson to learn.” Sarah offered Anna some cookies. “I made them today, they’re almond-maple ones,” she grinned as she bit into one.
“Ooh, my favorite, denki.” Anna took two immediately. As she munched she said more cheerfully, “But the lady did say something about putting me on a list in case they get another empty position. So who knows, maybe I’ll still be able to get this job sometime.” She smiled and grabbed another cookie. “My word, Sarah, these are simply heavenly.” she rolled her eyes in delight. Sarah smiled at her friend’s enjoyment, then took another herself.
“Well denki very much, don’t I know it!” They laughed and then she added more seriously, “I hope you can get it too, but next time don’t get your hopes soaring beforehand.”
“Oh I won’t, believe me! I don’t feel like getting disappointed again.” Anna said firmly.
“Gut. Now come out to the barn and tell me what you think of the new thoroughbred Dat just bought yesterday.”
“He got a thoroughbred?” Getting up quickly she said, “I’m ready when you are!” Sarah laughed and gave Anna a poke and led her outside.
Thank You for teaching me a valuable lesson Lord, and for giving me more patience with the circumstances in my life and the desires you’ve given me, Anna prayed as she followed Sarah to the barn.