Sunday, March 15, 2009

When blogging about the change of life becomes a viable and interesting option (to me anyway), it's time to get out. We did that yesterday, unintentionally. It started with a phone call from Richard and Ulla, our Alpaca friends from Dolgeville. They were looking for directions to Noah's furniture shed. Noah being Amish has no phone, and no way of contacting him, and certainly an obscure and low key sign on his mile long driveway. Jerry figured (rightfully) that we should probably escort them there, as it would be impossible to describe or even give them directions. Plus, we had other chores scheduled for the day, and this was an easy out. Cabin Fever Solution! So we quick got our acts together and piled into the car.
What transpired during the rest of the day will keep us in fascinating and enjoyable blog material for a long time. All I can say is this - get yourself a nice big hot cup of coffee and settle in for some good blogs, because we had a full day and lots of experiences. I can report that I have an Amish crush, although that came later in the day. I guess I'll work backwards. I will share Jerry's comment: "Imagine that hookup?-He would be in shock!" I decided to take this as a compliment of my honest communication style and gender debating skills. It is no secret that the Amish marriage is based not upon mutual responsibility or respect, although that may exist, but definite male-female roles and responsibilities. Equality is not an issue. Not because it peacefully operates, but because it doesn't exist. I'm not knocking the Amish lifestyle - I had a wonderful day. But Jerry hit the nail on the head. Although I thought this Amish man was so handsome and charming, he and I would probably be in a chokehold in no time if the cosmos would ever have placed us in the same community as contemporaries. As a couple (imaginary of course) we are worlds apart. But my interest was in that this is the first Amish man I have seen who was handsome in the contemporary sense. His charm and good looks were able to override the bad haircut and shine through in spite of it. He had not yet been the victim of the bad dental health that is a tragedy among the Amish, and he was movie-star good looking. All this wrapped up with drop-dead gorgeous eyes and a twinkle of humor. Plus the beard and the hat. Can I tell you I was smitten? Truly. But before you have me packing my bags and taking the Amish oath, let me remind you that I have my own movie star at home and that he recognizes my right to to speak my mind and have equal responsibility and opinion in our lives. However cute Eli was, he ain't no Jerry. Equal rights trumps tall dark and Amish. But for a moment there, the whole farm/horse/woodshop/bonnet type of existence was looking pretty idealistic and healthy. As we were leaving, we noticed the wife (she never did speak or share her name) was washing the buggy wheels with a bucket of water in preparation for Sunday. The buggies get washed of the week's mud, from tip to toe. And they don't take it to Mr. Suds. They bring out the wife and a bucket of soapy water and let her have a go at it. So you see, the day's activities were enlightening and informative, to say the least. I was considering going home and dragging Allison back to witness this hardworking and productive farm family, as she was still sleeping in on Saturday morning and had not joined us in the ride out. I told Sam (the Amish Hickory Furniture Shop owner, and Eli's Father in Law) of my teenage daughter, and he opened the back door of the shop to show me his two grandsons, about Allison's age. They were absolutely adorable young men, both in shirtsleeves (35-40 degrees?) and stacking wood for the heater, after having driven it over from the woodpile where they were chopping it. Need I say more? My teenager is home sleeping and these two young boys were chopping wood and smiling and saying "yes Mam and No Mam" and practically bowing in their respect of me. Smitten is putting it mildly. I was ready to sign up right there. Jerry handed me the money and went out to check on the shed/barns (I love that guy!), assuming that I would complete this transaction to both our satisfaction (again, what a guy!) These amish could learn a few things from US! But really, these little visits to Amish World are essentially an experiment in cultural understanding. They are selling their products to us in the "English" world, and we are happily buying these products knowing that they are well made, reasonably priced, and helping a local family and community thrive. Our little interactions are an education for both sides, as we're all experiencing something we don't see every day. As I told Jerry, you would NOT be seeing me washing the wheels on the pickup any time soon. More likely Never. We don't have Mr. Suds here in Johnstown, but we DO have car washes. I'm happy to have farm fresh eggs (another story for another blog), but the muddy wheel thing is not in my job description - Mother/Wife/PARTNER. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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