Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day Among the Amish (Guest Post)

Hello bloggers and friends. I’m Beth, from The imPerfect Housewife. Since MaryAnn has a very full plate right now with activities on the domestic front, she asked if I’d be interested in doing a guest post. I had to think about it for all of 2 seconds – YES! I’ve been a follower of hers from the beginning and look forward to every post just as much as you all do. Over time, we’ve developed a “long distance” friendship and I can’t wait until the day when we can spend the whole day together in person chatting and eating and talking about our lives (and husbands) and of course recipes.

Since A Joyful Chaos is a combination of MaryAnn’s current life and stories of her former Amish life, I had what I thought was a good tie-in post since I just visited an Amish community outside St. Louis a few weekends ago.

Do I want to BE Amish…no. I have to be honest with you – no air conditioning would make me crabby. Not to mention, the settlements with outdoor plumbing…negative. These are actually some of the reasons I don’t like camping either now that I think of it, which has nothing to do with this. I do like peace and quiet though. And I can’t help but feel bad for the kids who want to stay Amish, but also maybe want to be a doctor or nurse or something that requires higher education. That’s definitely not an option – it’s one or the other.

OK, onto my day trip to Bowling Green, Missouri…

I’m pretty sure this sign means watch out for cowboys and Amish people. Or maybe it means watch out for the Lone Ranger and the Amish.

I’ve been there before but it’s not a tourist destination by any means. Just like any group of people, some are talkers (mostly the women) and some are just answerers (mostly the men). I always like to know the little things like do the parents really NOT know who their teens are “dating” or going with, like in the books? Or how come men can have buttons and women have to use pins? Or do they “secretly” have a photo or two of family members?

According to two different moms from two different Amish communities, yes, they do know who their teens are going with. Maybe it’s not like that everywhere though. The buttons vs. pins thing – the answer is always the same…”That’s just how it is.” Photos….shhh, many have one or two stashed away.

One thing that stood out is that EVERY house I saw had these white gourd birdhouses for the purple martins. I don’t mean just one or two – but lines of them all over. It was pretty cute actually…

This picture cracks me up because I guess the horse turned just as I was taking the picture and he looks headless! And again, more gourds…
 

Does it look like I’m stalking this couple? OK, I was, but don’t tell them. I kept hoping they’d kiss because that would be the money shot, but nope. One lady told me in this settlement they wore the black bonnets before they got married and then the white prayer kapps after they were married.  They wear a heavier black bonnet over their prayer kapp when they need to run errands or go visiting.

  One little shop owner was quite a talker and asked where I was from and when I said St. Louis, she said, “And you came all this way by yourself?” (it’s about an hour and 20 minutes away). I told her I had and the reason was, to be perfectly honest, that my husband was getting on my nerves and I needed to get out of the house for a bit. Well she LOVED that! She thought that was hilarious. She said, “Yes, well, they do that sometimes.”

The schools were all closed up for the summer…


I came home with a few treasures from my day. All the bakery had left by the time I got there (and by bakery, I mean this lady’s back room) was some bread and pickles. OK by me. And of course I had to get a little faceless doll. I couldn’t decide which one to get because they had different colored dresses on. The lady was a hoot, she said she knew how hard it was to decide because she has a hard time deciding which color dress to wear to church each week. She said, “My husband doesn’t understand because he always just wears black and white every week, and tells me to just pick one.” Wow, men are alike all over aren’t they?
 We’re different on the outside but we sure do share more similarities on the inside than you think. I asked “Kate” (the shop owner and mother of twelve) if she thought I’d worry less about my 18 and 20 year old daughters if they were out in a horse and buggy rather than a car and she said not at all. Parents worry, she said, and we just have to pray. Well said.

Thanks to MaryAnn for letting me spend some time here and I hope you all have a good week

24 comments:

Laura said...

Wonderful guest post, Beth! We, too, have an Amish community that we like to visit when we're "up north" (in Mio, Michigan). There's a wonderful general store, bakery and bulk food store.
I admire the Amish in many ways and am always interested in learning more. Well, that would be why I follow MaryAnn's blog! :)

Saloma said...

Beth, you would not have gotten a picture of the couple kissing, and you never will among the Amish... they will not show affection in public. I don't know if this was true in MaryAnn's community, but in most communities, parents don't even hug and kiss their children. The only show of affection is in rocking and singing to their babies... and when they are too big to sit on their parents' lap, there is no more physical affection.

About the faceless dolls... I used to want dolls with faces so badly. Once I was given a gift of a beautiful little doll with eyes that opened and closed, and arms and legs that moved. It was like a dream come true.

Heather said...

The money shot...ROFL!

Twila said...

Enjoyed your post, Beth. And what you said is so true. Even though people may have different beliefs, dress differently etc., on the inside we're all people with the same feelings etc. I heard someone say once that they think it would be easier to be blind because you would judge people by what you feel coming from them, not on what you see outwardly. I've prayed to God for this blindness, not literally, but that I could see past what someone looks like and see the intentions of their heart.
Sounds like you had an enjoyable day.

Katie said...

I love to see the Amish through an "Outsider's" perspective. You did well, Beth.

Monica @The Mennobrarian said...

Interesting post Beth, I think it is great how you were so comfortable asking those questions. I also love how this post highlights the sameness and differences of both Amish and non-Amish. My faceless doll, made for me by a cousin, wears a blue dress too. :-) But from what I have experienced in eastern PA, those faceless dolls have gone the way of the outhouse and have been replaced with conventional dolls from the store. But they still make faceless dolls because people like them and come there to shop for them.

Michelle said...

What a wonderful guest post.
I love reading about the Amish and I too had wondered about the dating thing.

Annesphamily said...

What a beautiful post. I have much admiration for the Amish people. They are also very crafty and I love the quilts I have seen women make. Thanks for the great guest post! Anne

Life of a plainlady said...

Very interesting! I always wondered what the city slicker tourists thought about me when I was Amish. As far as pictures....I would imagine those little take-your-own-picture booths at the malls get used by the Amish on a regular basis!!
And faceless dolls, I wondered why the children could have teddy bears with faces and not dolls and our bishop said that it was ok to have realistic looking toys as long as they were something that did not have a soul,animals could have a face but a representation of a person-no no.So now you know.

Lori R. said...

I loved your post and your pictures. Maybe you should start your own blog!!!

Xmas Dolly said...

I didn't know any of that about the Amish. We have a community not too far from us too. I agree with you though. I could never become one of them.

Cheyenne said...

I love 'parents worry, we just have to pray!'

Alicia said...

I would love to visit an Amish community one day. I wonder if there is one here in CA? LOL

Mandy said...

This was a great post! When we visit my husband's family in Ohio, we're very close to several Amish communities, but I've yet to get to visit one. I would love to though because I find them very intersting in a very wonderful way! It's neat to realize that even though we're so different on the outside that we're not so different on the inside.

Donna said...

Well, this hits home! My husband and I rode our motorcycle to Jamesport, Missouri, today. It's the largest Amish settlement west of the Mississippi, they say. I loved shopping in the stores and seeing how cheap the bulk spices are.

♦Down Willow Lane♦ said...

Great post Beth.I really enjoyed it.It still confuses me how Amish rules and regulations can change from one community to the next.Love the headless horse photo!

Mary @ Neat and Tidy said...

There are a lot of Amish in my area. I never knew that about the black bonnets and white prayer caps. Just learn something new every day!

Life is good! said...

love finding common bonds with other mothers. when my children were teens i said alot of prayers for them. i still do. sounds like you had an enjoyable time. thanks for sharing with us!

Doris Sturm said...

Thanks! That was very interesting and enlightening. Even though I could be Amish if I had to, but prefer not to be...I'm somewhat of a progressive person and love the Zeitgeist, but then, if I were born and raised
Amish, I might think differently about things...it's just nice to see another person's perspective without being judgmental...thanks for sharing!

Doris :-)

theUngourmet said...

That headless horse made me laugh! ;D What a fun day! I would love to take a day and do this same thing.

Jules said...

Enjoyed your post and pictures, especially the "headless" horse! LOL. That is funny. We visited Amish country up in PA, while on vacay, last year, and I absolutely loved it! Though, like you, I'm not sure I want to go without airconditioning or electric, but I do love some peace and quite. :o) Great post! Thanks for sharing and filling in.

Teri said...

Thank you for sharing...we just spent the past Wednesday in Jamesport MO...visiting the Amish country. A truly lovely day! I shared our day on my "little space"...sorry there were no pictures...but we were not sure about taking pictures...so did not! I enjoyed all that you shared! Sweet and simple blessings!

AuniLeigh said...

I loved this guest post, too fun! Laura I know of the community in Mio, it is on our way to AuSable River. We've only seen once a amish lady on the shoulder of the road selling baked goods. We bought and ate up the best molasses cookies ever. Never had that before and loved every bit of the cookie and the crumbs.

Janie said...

I enjoyed the guest post, Beth. You had an interesting trip. So true that we're all alike, and all worry about our children whether they're in a carriage or a car, climbing mountains or the back steps.