For those who don’t know us well, Richard and I spent 3 years living in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania. We learned very well there that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Amish are people with passion, excitement, anger, enthusiasm, sin, mischief, laughter, tears, trials, and joys just like the rest of us. They just have a different culture. And we sure have learned how many different cultures there are across this country. We have met far more primitive people than the Amish on this ride. They just dress and travel differently so it is more noticeable that their culture is different. They, as a whole, claim Jesus as their saviour. But there are Amish who speak that and don’t act it just like there are people who claim to be Christians and don’t act it with their lifestyle. (I’m not talking about messing up now and then- though we all do that too.) Richard and I have close horse-and-buggy friends back in PA, so this culture is nothing new for us. But all this to preface our night with an Amish family- just so it doesn’t sound more “romantic” than it was. They were special not for their culture but for who they were.
William and Esther and their family were some of the nicest people you’d ever meet in your life. They welcomed us to their home with bright smiles and big hugs. They were excited to help us unpack our horses and make them comfortable in their barn. Then we grabbed a little red wagon to put our overnight stuff in and towed it over to the granny house. Their mom was out of town so they offered us her whole house for the night. We ended up using it for nothing other than a shower and sleeping because we had so much fun visiting. Before going in the house, Esther let us peek in the milk parlor- their primary source of income- and watch their 3 teenage kids milking the cows. It was Richard’s first time in a milking barn, so it was fun to learn about the process and watch them in action. Those are some pretty ‘smart’ milking machines!
Once inside, Esther fed us a homemade meal brought over by a friend of theirs just for us! Mmmm Mmmmm! We also got to try a favorite food they only have a couple times a year- fried corn mush! Basically baked corn meal and a few other ingredients that was then fried. Richard was an instant fan! We had a blast talking to them. We shared lots of stories about our journey and asked them questions too. We learned that many Amish in this area use tractors for transportation and horse and buggy only for special occasions, though some still use horse and buggy all the time. We were also surprised to learn that there are quite a few more Amish “settlements” all over the country than we realized. There’s even one in NW Montana. Cool! Maybe I’ll find an Amish friend who I can trade with for some pickled eggs. I miss those! We finally pried ourselves away from our new friends and headed for the sack.
For breakfast, we got to try some of their milk- cream and all- straight from the cow. Oh man- if you’ve never tried milk like that, you don’t know what you’re missing! The whole family then helped us get the horses ready and packed up. We were invited to come back on our way home, and off we went across their field. We rode by the one room white school house that the Amish kids went to – including the youngest boy from this family. The kids and teachers all came outside and we had a fun and lengthy question and answer session with them. That will give them something to talk about for a while! But our ride through Amish country was only just begun….