Grit Blogs > Russ-Stick Ramblings

The Plain People in a Not-So-Plain World

Early this summer, I received a phone call from an Amish man.
He was telling me his sweet corn was ready and available, if I were to head down his way,
which would be a two-hour trip.
Farm among the corn 
This is only the second phone call I have ever received that was initiated by an Amish person.
The first one was an invitation to a barn raising many years ago ~ an Amish family had their driver contact me.
The second was this week.  From Mr. Swartzentruber.  From a phone off of his property.
I had purchased this lovely bird house from him when I stopped by his farm earlier this summer.
Amish-made birdhouse 
I was no stranger to his farm, as I had bought a rat terrier pup,
born to their family "house puppy,"
back in '97 when different Amish relatives farmed there.
Young Mr. S, along with his growing family, now carry on the Amish ways ~
with furniture making and the sale of goods.
Good folks.  Nice folks. 
 
Truth is, I've been traveling these Michigan blue highways for 20+ years,
getting to know Amish families in their communities.
I've also traveled to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Horse and buggy sign 
Not only have I enjoyed meeting them, I have done business with them.
I've marketed Amish rockers and other goods over the years.
I've bought livestock. I have eaten at their table. Held their little ones.
Played tag with the older ones. Milked cows in their barn. Ridden in their buggies.
And of course enjoyed the culinary delights that come from the Amish kitchens.
Sunflower field 
However, lately, I've been puzzled.
Old-time washing machine 
Puzzled as to why folks would be quick to question or even condemn the Amish community,
based on media, or a small percentage of negative encounters or perceptions.
Amish buggies in a row 
I've seen the Amish try to live separate.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,  
and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 
2 Corinthians 6:17
Horse and buggy in a field 
To be left alone, within their communities, to live a Godly life.
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,  
so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders  
and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
It was this desire that brought them to Pennsylvania in the first place, back in 1730 - to escape persecution.
Horse and buggy in a parking lot 
At times, they must coexist and fit into "our" world.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
1 John 2:15
Horse and buggy on the road 
And try to stay safe while sharing the land.
Walking on a dirt road 
As for me ... if I had to choose between "English" or "Amish," it would be Amish.
We already live "plain."
We raise our own beef, pork, chevon and lamb for consumption.
A Dexter cow 
We have chickens and rabbits that provide by-products.
Home-raised eggs 
We are in the process of training horses for travel and work.
Someday, hoping to rid ourselves of all other modes of "mechanical" travel.
Horse in buggy tack 
In the winter we use dog power for chores and even necessity.
Dogs and sleds 
We use an outhouse year 'round.
Winter out house 
We make our own ice for storage.  No fridge.  No microwave.  No dishwasher.
No TV.  No airconditioning.  No stove.
Cooler not a fridge 
We process Maple syrup in the spring.
Maple syrup 
We know how to cook on a wood cook stove and rely on firewood for heat.
Cross and flag 
We love God and Country.
And we treasure our land beyond measure.
Picking berries 
And the fruit it bears.
Goat walk 
We focus on the simple pleasures and blessing they provide us each day.
It is because of these things we share in common, I admire the Amish.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,  
especially to those who belong to the family of believers. 
Galatians 6:10
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