We were near Le Raysville, an area where natural gas drillers are moving in and chasing the Amish out. The truck traffic is increasing and it's becoming less and less safe for horse-and-buggy travel. My neighbor's father and his wife will be moving to Wisconsin later this month.
The purpose of our trip was for my neighbor to collect some of her late mother's things. Amazingly, everything fit in the car and nothing had to be shipped back to West Virginia. She was very happy about that, but the trip was bittersweet for her.
After my initial shock at not having reliable cell service and no wi-fi unless I drove to Towanda – more than 25 miles from my host's home – I settled into the simple life. I napped. I read part of A History of the Amish. I drove (that was, after all, my job) over many, many, many one-lane dirt and gravel roads.
I met some of the kindest, friendliest and nicest people, but after my experience with our own Amish neighbors, I expected nothing less.
Every home I was in had hot and cold running water and indoor plumbing. I was certainly more grateful for that than anything else. I was prepared for more primitive amenities, but so glad it didn't come to that.
|Two solar panels keep this Amish|
family's freezer and refrigerator running.
The other thing was how very few toys the children have. My grandchildren have rooms full of plastic gadgets that light up and make noise. Amish children have books and dolls and toy horses. Lots of toy horses.
|Lilah and Marlene, heading off to|
play in their grandfather's barn.
At church Sunday night, two little boys about the same ages as the girls patiently sat with their mother through a long singing session, never once fidgeting or needing to be entertained or fed or scolded. Compared to English children, Amish children are amazingly self-sufficient. I think probably my father and his sisters were raised similarly, except maybe they didn't have as many books.
There's a lot more rattling around my brain about the trip. I'm sure there will be another post or two. For right now, I'm glad to be home.
And I'm glad I went.