*Please enjoy another guest post by the Father-in-Law.
By living near America’s largest Amish settlements, I’ve been able to act as tour guide to various visitors to our area of Ohio. (Contrary to popular belief, Ohio has more Amish than Pennsylvania, they just get more publicity.) Joanna gets to see more and more of their lifestyle each time she visits us. I may have overloaded her with a full two-day tour this past weekend. I feel fairly competent to give these tours as I’ve associated with many of them through various jobs I’ve had during my younger days. I delivered Nehi pop (not “soda” for you city slickers) for several years to blacksmith, harness, and buggy shops well off the beaten path of tourism. I came to know their families and was welcomed into their midst. Joanna made the mistake of mentioning to me that I should write a post about them for those of you who may not have had much contact with them. Rather than go through a lengthy listing of their rules and beliefs (which you can easily find online), I thought I’d tell you a bit about culture clashes between them and their English (non-Amish) neighbors.
Since I know for SURE that they won’t be using a computer to read this I’ll tell it like it is.
Many people are first upset by their horse droppings. They tie their buggy up to a rail at the local grocery store, you drive your car through the mess filling your treads with a good supply. You drive your car into your attached garage and as the furnace kicks on it delivers the aroma throughout your house. Leave your car outside? Hose your tires off EVERY time you drive it? Oh, and your shoes always stay in the garage from now on.
Amish pay no highway taxes but do major damage to the roadways due to their skinny little wheels with the steel bands on them. They wear grooves in the pavement, water collects, freezes and thaws and now you have nice new potholes. They will never join the local volunteer fire department, school board, Rotary, or Lion’s Club. As conscientious objectors to the military they enjoy their American freedom by having others serve in their place. (I know for a fact that my Vietnam service kept the Viet Cong from attacking their souvenir stands.)
While this sounds like I’m anti-Amish that’s not the case at all. I admire their discipline, work ethic, and sense of community. When asked what modern convenience they’d most like to have everyone guesses “electricity”. It’s not – it’s transportation. Weddings, funerals, and trips to the doctor or hospital are major problems for them and their one horsepower buggies.
In a future post I’ll take you to an authentic Amish animal auction or “sale day” as they call it. What an aromatic event that is on a hot day! Until then, can I interest you in some authentic Amish chopsticks? How about Amish wooden shoes or a hand-carved Amish menorah?