After we left the Amish school house, we passed several relatives of both our hosts last night and the hosts they had set up with us for tonight. They had obviously been called to tell them to come out to meet us because they all knew who we were. It was fun to visit all the way down the road. Some even donated to Hearts Up Ranch. Amish in Pennsylvania tend to stick to themselves a bit until you break into their circle of friends. (There are of course always exceptions to the rule.) But this Amish community was very very friendly to us. They really made us feel welcome in their neighborhood.
We passed through part of the Amish area and back out to a main road- highway 96. We had chosen to ride that road since we were heading back slightly south and it was the only diagonal road in the area. It’s much shorter to ride diagonal than a mile south, a mile east, a mile south, a mile east…. (Most roads in the area are one mile apart and “square with the world.”)
It’s funny- we can always tell when a newspaper article comes out about us- even if we don’t know about it. We suddenly have much more attention. We get more visitors stopping on the side of the road, more offers for places to stay, more donations, and more people going by slowly and taking pictures. Not only is media beneficial for the fundraising efforts, it’s beneficial to our nightly needs. (aka- not having to sleep in a tent!)
We turned down the road to the Headings house and once again, we were back in an Amish neighborhood. Relatives of the Headings came running out to the end of their driveway and chit-chatted with us for a while. We saw tractors zipping everywhere- some with little enclosed trailers in tow that their families road in to stay warm behind the tractor.
The Weldon and his wife welcomed us warmly, and their girls were delighted to sit on the horses and help us unpack them and take care of them. They spent lots of time that evening petting and petting them. After dinner, the Headings or “Weldons” as they call the families by the first name of the Dad in their culture- had invited several relatives and friends over for a gathering to hear our stories. The Amish and Mennonite culture really know how to sit down and enjoy a good visit! They commented that our stories really encouraged them with how much God takes care of everything. But the funniest part of the evening? One little comment I found hilarious.
Everyone was getting ready to leave… but still kind of chatting just a little longer. The first couple made it to the door and were heading out. They had arrived in a tractor. But another couple who arrived by horse-and-buggy piped up “You can’t leave first- we tied our horse to your tractor!” Gotta love it!