My Scandalous Mennonite Diary #18

Kelvin Bueckert
5 min readMar 13, 2024


The sound of steady drizzle beats against my ears.

The small radio on the kitchen counter crackles with static.

I lean closer, trying to hear what the preacher is saying.

“Remember this, Jesus said, ‘I have come to give you life and life more abundantly. We don’t need to stay stuck in that rut of man-made rules and traditions. Well, that’s all for today, I wish you all a blessed week.’”

A wave of exit music plays and then an official-sounding voice begins intoning the bad news of the day.

It is five o’clock.

Abe will be home from the store soon.

I better get busy.

I unplug the radio and then push it into the back of a nearby drawer. Out of sight and out of mind is best for some things.

With that done, I check the stove once again. I hope that the meatloaf is cooking properly. Abe does love his meat and potatoes.

Wow. What a learning experience these last few days have been.

The wedding was miserable. I still shudder when I think of the black dress that I had to wear that day.

What can I say? I committed to this relationship and I’m trying to make the best of it.

It has been quite a challenge to get adjusted to this house. It’s small, well-worn, and it stinks. It hasn’t been inhabited in quite a while, so I’ve spent the last few days trying to make it a little cleaner.

We have other plans, so we don’t have money for a honeymoon. I guess I’ll have to learn how to make do.

Maybe my parents were right to be concerned about me marrying a poor store clerk.

If only…if only, I could make Abe understand who I am now. I glance at my well-worn Bible resting on the kitchen table. Maybe, if tonight seems right…

I hope he’s in a good mood.

The creak of a door opening catches my attention.

I hurry to move the pot of food to the center of the small round kitchen table.

“Hello Mary,” Abe says as he walks into the room.

“Hello,” I reply. “How was work?”

“Oh, it was alright.”

“What’s the latest news in the village?”

“Well, Jason Janzen got arrested for drunk driving last night.”


“He got into an accident and hurt some Englishers. So, now they’re sending him to a treatment program.”

“Hopefully that helps him.”

“His family still insists that there’s nothing wrong.” Abe shakes his head.“But enough of that, there’s some good news, I checked the savings account today.”


“And I think I’ll be able to buy a store sooner than I thought.”

“Really? Who is selling out?”

“I’ve heard that the store in Schazenfeld might be coming up for sale.”


“If the rumor is right, that place will be in my price range.” Abe smiles as he takes a seat at the table. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity all my life.”

“So, we’d have to move?” I ask as I seat myself across from him.

“We’ll see I guess.”

“I’m not sure I’m ready to move.”

“Well, I haven’t made any decision yet.”

“No, I suppose not,” I say as a feeling of apprehension comes over me.

The Bible is at my right hand. It wouldn’t take long to push it toward him. Is now the time…?

“Let’s pray,” Abe says as he bows his head.

After a moment, he recites a short prayer. There is no doubt that this is a prayer that he has learned as a child and repeated all his life. The meaning of it has long been forgotten. Still, tradition dictates that it needs to be said. Duty done, Abe raises his head and then begins to fork the meat and potatoes from the pot onto his plate.

“This smells delicious,” he says as he begins to eat.

“Thank you, “ I say.

“You know, you never did tell me why you were crying at the wedding.”

“I told you, I’ve changed.”

“I know you said that but I still don’t understand what you mean by it.”

“Just what I said, I’m not the person I used to be.”

“Really?” Abe laughs. “You look the same to me.”

“It’s…well, it’s this,” I say as I slowly push the Bible on the table toward him.

“What’s this?”

“I was just wondering if we could read it together,” I say hesitantly.


“Then, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that, the preacher will let us know what to do.”

“But, how do we know that what the preacher says is right?”

“You know what they say, Mary, the more a person reads, the more they are accountable for. Why would we want to get ourselves in trouble?”

“I don’t know…”

“I’m sure glad we don’t have a radio, then who knows what wild ideas you’d be listening to.” Abe pushes the Bible back toward me. “Don’t worry about all these things. It doesn’t help anything.”

“Alright.” A wave of discouragement washes over me. I had hoped that he would take some time to get to know me. To try and understand why I am the person that I am.

“Mary, why aren’t you eating? Your cooking is delicious.”

“I will yet,” I say as I reluctantly move some meat and potatoes to my plate.

“You know, I’ve been thinking. There’s that anniversary in Schanzenfeld tomorrow. Maybe we should go.”

“You said you were too busy for that.”

“That’s what I said, but I’ve changed my mind. This store might be the opportunity I’ve been looking for all my life.”

“Are you sure?”

“I don’t know if I like it until I go over and check it out, will I?”

Moving. Leaving behind everything I’ve ever known. I don’t know what I think about all that. I’ve had so many changes in my life already. It is all becoming a bit overwhelming.

“We can go to the anniversary celebration and then swing by that store after. It’ll kill two birds with one stone.”

I stare down at my plate. My food is getting cold but I have no real desire to eat it.

To be honest, I have no interest in the anniversary celebration…or that store. I’d love to experience life…and life more abundantly.

Why doesn’t Abe want the same?

I thought we’d work as a team. Like we did when we were courting. Now, he just seems set on chasing his agenda.

I know I’ll be expected to go along with it, no matter how I feel.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned about this. I just thought things would be different for me.

The rain continues to beat against the roof as I wonder what to say to my new husband.



Kelvin Bueckert

Lives and writes on the plains of Manitoba, Canada…he is an actor, writer, and has also been known to peddle books on his website…