Hello. My name is Roxanne. I’m a Mennonite.
I know, you’re thinking how is that possible, since I wear make-up and jeans and don’t have a little black beanie pinned on my braids? My pacifist rebel blood set me on a different path from my ancestors but there is much I cherish about my Mennonite heritage.
Wareneki… noodle-y, cottage-cheese-y, creamy…
Rollkuchen and watermelon… the perfect summer supper, well, except for the deep-fried batter bit…
Cabbage borsch… thrifty, delicious – and nutritious!
…and plumi moos, that cold sweet pudding-y soup filled with prunes and raisins and cherries.
Watch out, though; those prunes pack a punch. Hm. Maybe, with all the noodles and bread, that’s the point.
Anyway, since carbs aren’t my friend and I don’t spend my days hitched to a plow, I rarely indulge my Mennonite appetite.
Music, however, is a different story. Especially at Christmas.
Despite a deep suspicion of the arts, the Mennonite culture embraces music as form of worship. (Nothing you might want to dance to, though. Dancing is Very Bad. There’s an old joke among us Mennos: why don’t Mennonites have sex standing up? Because it could lead to dancing.)
So although we do not dance, few Menno kids grew up without music lessons of some sort; most of us sang in the church choir. Some of us sang in chamber choirs that even went on tour.
That’s a life-time ago, but I can still sing along with The Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s Messiah and it remains one of my favorite pieces of music, especially at Christmas.
My family tree is filled with humble, hard-working, painfully honest people who are probably deeply concerned for my soul. After all, as a fiction-writer, I am, by definition, a liar. And although I can’t dance, I dearly wish I could, which is just as bad.
Nevertheless, I am grateful for the bedrock of love and faith I was raised with. I am grateful that we can celebrate Christmas together despite our differences, with simple pleasures.
Like music and food.