Sunday, October 3, 2010

Living near the Mennonites

Henry and I were in Bainbridge (the town a mile from the farm) yesterday to get something at the hardware store. We waited in line behind a family that was dressed like it was Germany in the 1800's. The three females were dressed identically in homemade purple dresses, black bonnets, and black shoes. Two were girls (8 and 12 I guessed) and the other was their grandmother. The only difference in their apparel was that the girls had on black Sketchers basketball shoes, while their elder word tie-up leather shoes. The girls' father was quite gregarious joking with the store owner. He wore black button-up pants, blue button up shirt, and a straw hat. They drove into town in a black buggy parked a few blocks from the store. 

Life in Lancaster County Pennsylvania has become too congested for many Mennonites. Some there must feel like Daniel Boone who said that when you can see the smoke from your neighbor's cabin, it is time to move. About 15 years ago a few brave families left the familiar and sought emptier lands out west. West in this case was southern Ohio. They liked what they found. After they were established, other families came to join them. Today there is a large Mennonite community in the hills and valley south west of us. If you are motivated to take a long run -- say 7 miles or so -- you can get deliscious fresh pretzels served by polite young women speaking English with a distinctive German accent.

We have gotten to know one Mennonite family fairly well. They have the formentioned bakery and horse shoeing business. Both thrive. Dad was very good to the family when any of the kids had dental problems. He checked on one of their baby's when his  mother was concerned about his teeth. One Sunday dad took one of their older boys into his office to fix his teeth when two were knocked out. Dad loved knowing someone who gave him a window into that community. For if you are "English" (as they call non-Mennonites) it is rather tough have opportunities to make friends with them. They took the carriage 5 miles into town to pay their respects at dad's calling hours.

Saturday we took a drive out to their part of the county to buy cinnamon bread at their bakery and to see if we could see the old-fashioned harvesting. We saw men working a team of horses to cut and bale hay.

The horses are so beautiful. I felt a little self-conscious taking photos. For these are not people in "Ye Olde Dayes" theme park, but regular people living out their lives. We'd try to stop the car non-obtrusively and quickly take a picture or two. Or at least try to be non-obtrusive. The next picture was of a fabulous team driving right towards us. Aren't they magnificent!
We drove up to a little town called Cynthiana. Before the whites took over it was a Shawnee town. What follows is the picture of a gassy horse, or a horse in need of gas. And you thought they were powered by oats!

It was a great day.

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