Wednesday, November 18, 2009
My Encounters With the Amish
Lately I've been reading Christian fiction author Beverly Lewis' series Abram's Daughters about a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish family. These entertaining stories are filled with faith and family and storylines dramatic enough to rival a soap opera. I highly recommend them to you.
By chance, I happened across a charming children's book in my library last week about two Amish girls and a peacock called Just Plain Fancy by Patricia Polacco. I highly recommend it to you as well. You can learn more about this book and related learning activities about the Amish at the author's website.
Where I grew up in the Midwest, encounters with the Amish were not unusual. I remember during my school days being outside at recess time and seeing horse and buggy carriages pass by with their cautionary orange triangle symbols attached at the back. Family names of Troyer, Yoder, Miller, Schlabaugh, etc were common in the area. Reading these books brought back these memories to me. They also reminded me of two humorous encounters I have had with the Amish.
One time when I was a young girl my family went to an Amish restaurant. I was hungry and ordered a hamburger. When it was served to me, I reached out for the condiment bottle on the table and poured what I thought was ketchup onto my burger. Then I noticed the Amish waitress's surprised look. "That's apple butter, miss." Oops. I hurriedly scraped it off as my sister laughed at me.
Several years later when I was in college and working as a substitute teller during the summers, I was assigned for a day to a bank branch frequented by the Amish. Since, the bank had trained me to ask for identification every time I cashed a check for someone I didn't know personally, when an Amish man handed me a check to cash, I automatically asked him for his driver's license. The man just stared back at me wordlessly until the light dawned on me. You don't need a driver's license for a horse and buggy! Oops - major faux pas. Fortunately the teller next to me rescued me and approved the check for cashing.
Have you had any encounters with the Amish? My British readers may be interested to know that the Amish refer to anyone outside of their community as the "English".