Sloppy Joes make the perfect comfort food

Ever since Grandma’s death, I knew the auction was coming up. But you can’t really face it until it comes to reality. The Amish tradition is to sell the deceased parents’ items over auction with only the family included. The proceeds then get added to the inheritance money, and each person can do what they choose with the money, in honor of their parents.

Grandma and Grandpa’s belongings needed to be taken care of. You can’t forever leave everything like it was, just because it makes you so sad to see their cute little house cleaned out, and lacking the warmth you always felt the moment you stepped inside. There was never a time I didn’t feel entirely welcome and loved as I knocked at the door and came to spend time with Dawdy’s (Grandpa’s).

Now the time had finally come. The seven children had gone through all the belongings in the house, and arranged things such as Grandma’s dishes (including some they had used at their wedding 60 years ago), old diaries, and toys we used to play with, on long rows of tables. The tables had been set up under a large tent, which we also use to host other significant events such as funerals and weddings. Their furniture was also being sold–Grandma’s hickory rocker stood to the side, and there was the carrom board that Grandpa had made decades ago. A green, wooden wagon especially held my attention. As a little girl, I took countless rides on it, circling around the house with my little cousins. Now, in recent years, I loved watching my children play on it with their cousins.

Yes, their belongings were all being sold that day to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. In a way it just didn’t feel right to be selling all Dawdys’ items. On the other hand, Dawdy’s words before his death kept ringing through my mind. I could just hear him seriously talk about how one generation comes and the other goes. “Soon we won’t be here anymore, and you will just tell your children about us, they won’t even remember about us.” Hmmm, how true, yet it tugs at my heartstrings. Dawdy preached many sermons at church, encouraging everyone to turn to God before it’s forever too late. In the weeks before he passed, when we went to visit him, he repeatedly said, “The things of this world just don’t have any true value. It is only the things of God that really count.”

Now, as the grandsons took turns auctioning off the items that used to be Dawdy’s, those words rang through my heart in a new way. Really, truly, we are not here forever!

When the time came to sell their camping supplies, I felt a keen sense of loss as I relived those times when we’d go camping and take Dawdy’s with us. They enjoyed it every bit as much as we did, and were especially fond of the times spent singing.

Now as the day came to a close and everyone went home with keepsakes of Grandpa’s, it felt like an old chapter had come to an end. The question I ask myself is, “What will this next chapter hold? Will I walk with the Lord and make life better for others, or will I just do what I want to do?”

Before dispersing we had a delicious supper, probably the last time for us to all be together at Dawdy’s house like that. The yummy Sloppy Joe sandwiches and salads went well with the homemade ice cream and variety of cakes and bars.

Daniel is a meat-eater and likes Sloppy Joes. He prefers spreading mayo on the bread before putting on a nice, thick meat layer. We also enjoy eating it with a tomato slice, cheese, or some lettuce. I’d love passing our recipe on for you to try!

Sloppy Joes

1 1/4 pound hamburger or venison

1/2 pound bacon (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1/2 cup barbeque sauce

1/4 cup catsup

1/3 cup brown sugar or maple syrup

Brown hamburger with salt, drain. Cut bacon in bite-sized pieces, fry, add onions during last minute of frying. Pour into meat (including drippings). Add remaining ingredients, mix and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite bread or sandwich buns.

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