Tuesday, September 05, 2006

 

A Short Visit to Amish Country

Each year my children and I visit the Amish community in Adams County, Ohio about 30 minutes drive from our house. The trip combines shopping, sight seeing and cultural experiences.

We've been visiting the community for nearly 20 years. The Amish are friendly, welcoming and polite. The children well behaved. The community welcomes visits from outsiders because we provide the primary source for their livelihood.

Miller's Bakery and Furniture lies as the center of economic hub of the Amish in the area. Products for sale include fine, solid wood furniture, lawn furniture, storage building, exquisite baked goods and grocery items. The quality of the furniture construction rivals any. The baked goods rank among the best I've ever had, especially the blackberry pie.

This past Saturday their must have been at least 200 outsiders visiting at the same time as myself. But the pace was relaxing and unhurried.

The Amish create a unique blend of the past and future. They primarily produce their own energy. More recently they have begun using small gas engines to turn blenders, etc. for the bakery. They use propane for lighting. For the first time, on this trip we noticed a small generator producing electricity.

Still, you find buggies traveling down the road, and, as you can see below, roller blading girls. During harvest and planting seasons you'll see strong horses pulling plows and harvesters much like they did more than 100 years ago.

The Amish excel at capitalism. Through community/family cooperation rarely seen in general society and hard work the Amish appear to live quite nicely. Their houses compare well to those in most middle class subdivisions.

Of course, the Amish don't live perfect lives. One of my son's best friend's mother is a shunned ex-Amish. She is unable to visit with her family of origin, etc. She does have the ultimate "one-up" however. When she does the "You think you have it hard, when I was growing up...." to her kids, she always wins.

Comments:
I live in Amish country here in Ontario. Horse and buggy are everyday things.

Our Canadian Tire has hitching posts: Outside auto repair! I wonder if Canadian Tire think putting the buggies on the hoist will solve some sort of problem?

Our grocery store has hitching posts ... way around the side of the building. I wonder if they think the Amish need the extra exersize? Or if they think we don't know what horse droppings look like?

One woman in town wants to force the Amish to put diapers on the horses! She keeps up her letter to the editor campaign ... Weird!

One of the Amish carpenters I know has a driver's license. He's the terror of the road if he ever gets hold of your pickup! Nice guy though ...

The fellow who lives next door is Mennonite and speaks German as his first language. He cannot understand the Amish when they speak German ... neither can I. It's like they have their own language.

I like the Amish. They're clean, neat and responsible. I wish more people would be like them.
 
I grew up near northern Indiana Amish country.

They are hard working, responsible people who also know how to cook really good food.

However,I couldn't live such a strict, disciplined lifestyle. Perhaps it wouldn't be as bad if I was born Amish.
 
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