Friday, February 24, 2023

Shocking the Amish

 Yesterday was not a great day. It was one of those days that left me feeling ineffective and useless. Tim is not sleeping at night and his exhaustion makes him difficult. I can't fault him really. I'm not at my best when I'm tired either, but it gets discouraging dealing with his frustrations on top of my own. I was just tired out. I tried to come up with a post last night, but couldn't. Some days are just better left unexamined, I guess. I gave up and went to bed and Tim tried hard not to fidget. 

Today, Mattie needed to get to Corry for a 9:30 appointment. Her sister, Lyddie, had an appointment as well. I was looking forward to an excuse to get out of the house for a morning. 

I waited in the car as they had their appointments and when they came out, we zipped over to the grocery store. We pulled into the parking lot and we saw an Amish lady loading her groceries in a van. Mattie immediately said, "She is not from our group." Curiously, I asked how she knew. She looked at me as if I was blind. "She dresses differently." I looked and I couldn't really see it, but then, I was driving the car and had my eyes on other things. Her clothing certainly looked no different to me. 

As I parked, she closed the hatch of the van. Her driver waited in the vehicle. She set at a brisk pace. Mattie and Lyddie laughed. "Now she's going to go to the dollar store just like we will."

Making a joke, I said, "No. I bet she's going to the vape shop." 

They laughed merrily at my joke, but the laughter died away as the woman opened the door to the vape shop. They said in shocked voices. "She IS going into that store!" They had no idea what to make of it. 

But after  some pondering, they decided that she must be buying tobacco for her man. 

I got some great deals at the grocery store. The store is known for their meat selection and they had a great deal on pork roasts. I also got beef liver as a special treat for Tim and I some night when William is having supper with his mom and stepfather. I got three bags of bell peppers on discount, to chop up and toss into the freezer. Things like that. 

The Dollar store had a good deal on Raisin Bran, so I picked up a couple boxes for Tim. In no time at all, my car began filling up with bags and boxes. They certainly do not waste a trip out. There was one more stop at Walmart.  Mattie and the children are making bird houses and she needed to buy the paint for them. 

Driving there both women gave astonished shouts. They spied, with their little eyes, two Amish women coming out of the laundromat. "That's just LAZY!" they said in unison. You have to understand, when I got to Mattie's to pick her up at 8:45, she had her laundry already hung out. Let me tell you that laundry for 10 people is no small feat. She has a gas powered wringer washer in the back room. She came rushing out of the house with the front of her dress still splashed and wet from the wash water. It was a bitter day with a sharp wind and she laughed when I told her that she couldn't be out in the cold with her wet dress. She pulled her cape around her and said, "It'll dry." 



Her sister had an elevated pulley clothes line that stretched behind the house and across a field and when we went down her long driveway, the line was full.  It held an unbelievable number of diapers flapping in the wind. That's a lot of work happening before 9 am, and yet they were watching two Amish ladies coming out of a laundromat. 

They pondered that in shocked silence as well. Eventually they agreed that some of the blankets are awfully heavy and are too big for the wringer.  If these women had a batch of blankets to do, it was only reasonable to use the laundromat, they supposed. 

We had a pleasant morning running errands. Finally, we were headed home. We stopped first to collect Lyddie's four children, three little boys and a girl from a neighbor's house. As we waited, Mattie said, "This house used to be my uncle's house. See the hitching rail over there?" (The place where visitors would tie up the horses.) Once my cousins were playing horses. One of the boys was playing the role of the horse, and at the end of his trip, the youngest boy was tied to the hitching rail as any sensible Amish would do. An 'English' driving by had seen the child tied and called the police on them for tying their child out like an animal. 

We laughed comfortably together. 

It felt good just to have a morning away. When I got home, I made a good rub for one of the pork roasts and popped it in the oven. I chopped up two gallons of green peppers for the freezer. I got the base going for a pot of stuffed pepper soup. The broth will be chlled over night and then the hardened fat skimmed off tomorrow. When supper was over, I got my second crock pot out and simmered the rest of the pork roast off the bone for barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Mattie and Lyddie would be shocked at my methods as well, I suppose, but I worked around my old kitchen, getting a lot of stuff done in pretty short order. I headed out to pick up William and today just felt like a better day. 




39 comments:

  1. You did cover a lot of territory today. I'd be tired just running behind you.

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    1. Oh Red! If I knew you were running behind us, I'd have stopped the car and loaded you in too.

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  2. A well earnt mental health day. That's a funny story about the boy tied to the hitching rail and a 'concerned' passer by.

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    1. You know, it really was a needed day. My spirits were definitely lifted.

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  3. Oh well done - a morning out and an afternoon's good work achieved. I really enjoyed hearing about the Amish way of life and how much Mattie had achieved before the day had scarcely begun! Washing for TEN people! Cripes! I didn't know there were subtle differences of dress between different Amish communities.

    Sorry Tim's not sleeping well. Keith has been getting up around 6 a.m. and I need more sleep than that. However, he can't feed the cats and if I hear him get up I know the kittens will be telling him their tummies say their throats have been cut and he will be ignoring them. (He doesn't bend too well). So I mustn't ever get sick . . .

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    1. He seriously is not sleeping until 4 or 5 in the morning. Then he falls asleep and sleeps soundly until 9. It's not enough.

      Your kittens! I can envision your morning scene perfectly. Our Houdini, for the first time, tried to slip out the door with William when he was leaving for school. He is lost without his boy and spends the day silently slipping around looking for him. When he gets home, there is one ecstatic cat to meet him. They run and play and chase each other around the house.

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  4. After reading about all that activity, I am off for a lie down. 😴

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    1. Oh, blessed sleep! Someday we'll have that at our house.

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  5. What a fascinating life you lead Debby, I love the way you buy quantities of food for storing and especially the Amish tales. When I wake up in the night I go on my tablet and read all the news and clickbait, soon sends me to sleep.

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    1. Oh, the news would keep me wide awake for sure.

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  6. I always enjoy your tales about the Amish. Fascinating people.

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  7. I guess that Amish ways evolve with each passing year and each new generation. Interesting observations about Mattie and Lyddie and how they see the world. I hope that Tim finds a way to sleep soundly each night and wonder what it is that is keeping him awake.

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    1. It is his brain 'misfiring' as it tries to heal itself.

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  8. Our Amish are fairly secretive with their thoughts so I find it interesting to read the thoughts of others.

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    1. I think that after a while, they cease to think of you as an outsider, and you become an insider. Our first contact with them was a couple years ago as customers of the sawmill. Their son needed surgery and they needed a ride to Pittsburgh. I offered to take them. You can get a lot of talking done in a 2 1/2 hour car ride. There have been a lot of car rides ever since, and Mattie is my friend. Levi tolerates me, but we both have the same sense of humor and he likes a good laugh. Tim and Levi are cut from the same cloth, really.

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    2. I can see that happening. When I was young and my parents divorced, my babysitter at the time has taken up as the local "Amish driver" these days. Through her, I get all sorts of stories too. I've known indirectly, a couple others who held that title as they are reliant on the English out here just to go someplace they can buy groceries.

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  9. These stories about your Amish friends are so interesting. I can't begin to understand the rules they live by.

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  10. Replies
    1. Not always but it felt good for life to resume its normal rhythm, even for an afternoon.

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  11. When I was a care worker for disabled children we had children from many religions - Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Plymouth Brethren, Rastafarians. It was fascinating to hear their parents views on various subjects.

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    1. It is an enrichment of our own lives to be able to be a part of different cultures. I've always love that.

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  12. I am glad you had a better day. Has Tim asked his doctor about his insomnia? Hope he finds a solution so you both get some rest.

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    1. Not yet. Last night, I noticed that when he's not sleeping, he is in motion, constantly. His feet move. His hands move. He's rolling this way and that. I asked him if he could stop moving. He didn't seem to be able to do that.

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  13. What a strange sect. Can’t have a phone but can use others’. Can’t drive but can be driven. Can have a washing machine but not one later than the 50s. I wonder how they decide when they should stop time. I mean ‘no cars’ stops a century ago, but ‘no modern washers’ is more like 50 years.

    A long time ago, we live closer to Amish settlements. We could drive past one church and see horses and buggies. Drive past another, and there were cars, but they were black with no chrome.

    I don’t mean the above to be judgmental, but it does make me scratch my hairless head.

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    1. What you saw were Amish and Mennonites. They are not the same. Mennonites can have electricity, indoor plumbing, and cars. Amish can't.

      There are a lot of things that I don't understand myself, but I figure that everyone has a right to live the life that makes sense to them. I live mine. They live theirs.

      One of the times that they needed to travel some place, a woman needing a certain shade of lavendar material for a quilt she was making. While we waited in the car, she showed me her book of quilts, and the one she was making. I said, "Please don't think I'm rude, but I've always been curious. You live such plain lives, but then there are these quilts, these gorgeous works of art, all the colors of the rainbow. Why is this allowed but you can't have hanging pots of flowers on your porch."

      She looked at me as if the question had never occured to her. In the end, she said, "It's just our way."

      And, in the end, I suppose it is all that I need to know. Their way of life does not try to insist that I live by the rules of their choices. Live and let live. They are a hard working people. I respect that.

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  14. In both instances of seeing the other Amish women, I notice after giving it some thought, they showed compassion and retracted their initial judgments, allowing why the others might be doing what they're doing. If only we could all be so kind in our thoughts of others.

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  15. I hear you about not sleeping..pirate has IBS and his sleep pattern sounds the same...you needed a day out in good company

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    1. I very much did, gz. I didn't realize just how necessary it was until I returned home.

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  16. Strange how we have tendency to judge ( and we all do - though some more than others) and read so much into first impressions. Your belief in 'live and let live' is admirable - oh, that it were more widely held across not just the world, but in our communities too.
    PS. I was looking again through the book / journal you sent me teh other day. We don't give publications that care these days - still now, after all these years, it is giving pleasure. Like may crafts perhaps.

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    1. I saw that your own book was published, Mark. Congratulations! My order has been placed. My best wishes on this.

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  17. I do hope Tim's brain settles soon and you both get some normality back. And sleep.
    The Amish have always fascinated me. I like their gentle outlook on life.
    And the best news is that Houdini has agreed to allow you to be his servants.

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    1. He's decided that we'll do in a pinch. He is devoted to his boy though. Every morning when the alarm goes off, he rushes up the stairs with me to get William up and at 'em.

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  18. My mother had a clothes line like that over the sheep field up in Nova Scotia... when we visited I was always amazed at how quickly cloth diapers dried !!

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    1. Bettina, when we returned to Lyddie's house, I noticed that there were a couple bare spots on the line. I was scanning the treetops for those diapers. The wind was so strong they could have been anywhere.

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