‘This I Believe’ by Annalisa Harder

‘This I Believe’

By Annalisa Harder, a sophomore collegiate studies major from Bluffton, Ohio.

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, sophomore Annalisa Harder’s essay about the enjoyment of Saturday morning expeditions aired.

» Audio of Annalisa Harder’s essay

I believe in early Saturday mornings.

Every Saturday morning John and I sat in our little red wagon dragging sticks and throwing pebbles as Mom and Dad pulled us down 24th Street. While our parents enjoyed a brisk morning walk in front of us, John and I would ride along and anticipate the Saturday morning breakfast we would soon be enjoying—a freshly glazed donut, still warm to touch, and dark purple grape juice from Druber’s. Mom and Dad always chose the exotic donuts—the ones called “bear claws” or “squids”—and they always had coffee. That meant they didn’t get cool purple tongues from their juice.

I believe in Saturday morning excursions. I believe in rising early and venturing out with family and friends, or sometimes just by myself. Some people view Saturday as a day of rest, spending the morning lounging in pajamas, watching television and eating Lucky Charms. I view it as a day of activity—a special time where I can connect with the community, experience new things, and return to old favorites.

I think people who discover the joy of a Saturday morning share a special bond. A jogger will smile at a couple walking down the sidewalk, and an elderly man in a grey hat holding a newspaper will offer a quick nod to a dog-walker. It’s like we are all thinking, “Hey, we’re in this together. This is our morning.” Saturday morning risers understand the feel of a quiet, crisp autumn morning, and the joy of freshly swept sidewalks. They appreciate the first sips of a pot of coffee, and the garden vegetables that are cool to the touch at a farmer’s market.

Though I no longer hop into a wagon with my brother in eager anticipation of donuts and grape juice, I still rise early on Saturday mornings. Instead of a wagon I hop onto a bike—the same bike my mom used in grad school—and now, I enjoy the company of my two roommates at our college in Indiana.

On our latest Saturday morning expedition, we found ourselves sitting at a little table in a bakery known fondly as Rachel’s Bread. Our bikes, locked outside next to a horse and buggy, were still wet from morning dew, and we sat indoors warming our hands with cups of coffee and our stomachs with pecan cinnamon rolls, still hot from the oven. I felt proud to be in this group of the Saturday morning risers—the older married couples enjoying the quiet morning atmosphere, the soccer coach from my college talking with his assistant, and a family of four—all of us were experiencing the same wonderful Saturday morning.

As my roommates and I straddled our bikes to head back towards campus, I saw the family of four leaving Rachel’s Bread. A wagon, two children and their parents on a Saturday morning expedition. In this I will always believe.
Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.