Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stalking the Amish


I was in Lewisville today running some errands when I happened upon this Amish family. For some peculiar reason, I am totally infatuated with the Amish. I remember every once in a while when I was young and we were traveling, I would see horse-drawn carriages with the orange reflector triangle on the back. That sight was so curious to behold, particularly as we raced by in our car.

I personally encountered an Amish couple during a college summer in Tribune, Kansas. I spent two summers in Tribune with my Aunt Ruby, Uncle Jim, and cousins Emily and Sarah, and one year, I worked in the hospital where I was able to assist in the delivery room of this beautiful young Amish woman. She and her husband were the sweetest, most peaceful couple I had ever met, and their apparent love for one another impacted me deeply. A few months later, I heard that the young husband had been killed in a farming accident, and I always wondered what happened to the wife and their new baby.

A few years back, we were at James' family's house, which is filled with books. James' grandmother reads novels back-to-back. I forgot to bring reading materials with me, so I picked a book off her shelf. It was the middle book of a Beverly Lewis series all about the Amish. I couldn't get enough. I read that book over the weekend. I read its sequel while laying in the backseat on the seven hour drive home. Since then, I've read all the other Lewis books written, along with a few other writer's Amish offerings. I even once aspired to cook like the Amish and invested in a lovely cookbook, but thus far I have had absolutely no success. (I was born without a Betty Crocker bone.)

Anyway, this Amish obsession is the real deal. Even a couple of weeks ago while having coffee with our friends Corey and Amy, we were talking about vacations. Hawaii was mentioned, Orlando I think, the Mountains of Colorado, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Amish Country). Any guess which locale was mine? Any guess which locale was the absolute least popular? (Amy did say she'd go with me, but I think I promised some baked goods and a stay in a B&B.)

So, today when I passed by that Amish family, I had to think of something to say. You cannot be in the Metroplex and see an Amish family and just walk on by. At least, I can't. Maybe it's just me. My mind raced as I thought of what I could possibly say to them. I wondered if I was even allowed to talk to them. I nearly let them get away until I called out to them and came up with the most brilliant thing I could think of.

"So, are you from around here?"

WHAT?! That's the best I could do? They're AMISH -- of course they're not from around here!

Fortunately, they seemed as interested in me as I was in them, so they were glad to share quite a bit with this Englisher. Daniel runs a sawmill. Sylvia stays home with her eight children. I discovered they were in Dallas to take the husband's mother to the doctor in Flower Mound. They rode from New York to Dallas on an AmTrak train, and then hired a Mennonite family to drive them to Lewisville where they now stayed. Since they couldn't drive themselves around, a shuttle would take them from the hotel to their appointment and back.

The husband, Daniel, asked me how far they were from Dallas, and how from Flower Mound. I said they were very close to Flower Mound, and about nineteen miles to Dallas. "That far?," he asked, "It looked alot closer on my map." I confirmed the distance and wondered why they hadn't Googled it before I remembered they were Amish. Good grief!

After a few moments of small talk about where they live and where I live, we said our goodbyes and went seperate ways, but I couldn't get them out of my mind. I didn't tell them my name. I didn't ask them their names. I came face to face with a people group of major interest to me, and I left knowing really nothing more than their itenerary. The kids and I walked around the store we had come to in the first place, but I couldn't shake the thought of them at all. We finished our shopping, left the store, and as we drove across the parking lot, I saw them in Wendy's.

Long story slightly shorter, I stopped the car, went in to Wendy's, introduced myself and my children, and learned more about them. I couldn't be more excited! We visited for probably fifteen minutes, and then exchanged addresses. I now have Amish penpals!! I'm looking so forward to learning more about them, their family, their community, just everything. Stalking the Amish pays off.

12 comments:

  • amy

    Take me with you when you stalk the Amish next time... I'm interested (though not quite as obsessed like you!) ha, ha. I have family that lives in Amish country in PA... so we would have a free place to stay if you take me with you!!

  • Anonymous

    I have always found that interesting as well. I love their conservative ways.

    Michelle

  • The Dukes Family

    Of course you love the Amish. It's so Amanda! Keep us posted on the letters with your Amish friends.

  • Elizabeth

    How cool is that? Once in college, I made a deep relationship with an Amish family. I was in the hospital after an accident, and they came to see me every day. They even brought their extended family (30 of them) and sang hymns to me. They are very interesting, precious people! Keep us updated on their lives!

  • Amy

    That is so cool!

  • Emily

    I have very fond memories of "being" Amish when I was young. Recently when I was in San Antonio, mom had Genevieve. She was down in Hutch, and she needed a place for Genevieve to stay. She went over to Yoder, and she had my old babysitter (who is Amish) take care of her all week. Genevieve had a blast. I called one night, and Erma got on the phone. She said she loved having her there, and that it was just like having me around again. Those were some good times. I will never forget the story of mom going over and asking what something meant. I guess we had picked up some Dutch and were talking Dutch at home. Mom wanted to make sure we weren't saying anything "bad."

  • Kendra

    In so many ways I envy and admire them! How neat that you made that connection.

  • Veronica Mitchell

    I admire your chutzpah. I would have been too shy.

  • Toppooch

    Do you still have an Amish penpal? I long to get to know a person similar to my age that has had different life experiences and lives without the modern conveniences I enjoy daily. If you have the penpal still, would it be possible for you to see if they have a friend or relative that might enjoy a non-Amish penpal? Email me at toppooch@hotmail.com if this is even a remote possibility. My name is Lesa.

  • Anonymous

    I saw your older article about having an Amish penpal. Oh how I would love to have one. Do you have any way to help me find one. I have tried and it seems that it is very hard thing to do. I am a 32 year old female and christian with no children yet. You could contact me at deidredawn27@shaw.ca
    If you had any info I would be so happy.
    thank you
    Deidre

  • ChiTown Momma

    I too have an obsession w/the Amish. We have a great community just about an hour away from Chicago. I love the simplicity of the Amish...wish I could apply more simplistic manners into my own life. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Anonymous

    I too have had a obbsession with the amish for a few years now!!! I have always dreamed of having an Amish Penpal!!!! Is there a way that you could see if they knew an amish girl around the age of 15 that would write me? Contact me at mnmgirl@embarqmail.com.

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